Let's face it, getting ready for your family photoshoot can take some work.. and the night before is especially important. This is when you really prepare for the next morning, and a handful of items are especially critical...
1. Get Enough Sleep
This often seems like an impossible task, but going to bed before 10pm the night prior to your photoshoot is a really good idea. Parents tend to stay up watching TV or to spend quality time with their spouse in the evening (often it's both together, isn't it?). But sleep will be more important than TV watching, I promise. So pretend you're a senior citizen and go to bed early.. you will feel rested in the morning and will look 100% refreshed for your photoshoot!
2. Moisturize skin and lips
The night before, drink plenty of water (and make sure your kids do so as well), use lotion on face, arms, and legs, and moisturize lips as needed (especially in the winter). This one small task makes a huge difference in photographs... and we want to do everything in our power to guarantee that everyone looks good, right?
3. Lay out your clothes
For my photoshoots, I ask that parents bring several outfit options for each family member, which often means suitcases of clothes and accessories. Pack everything the night before. Make sure the clothes that need to be on hangers are wrinkle-free and have a garment cover.. so that in the morning, everything is already prepared and ready to go.
4. Talk to your kids
By this time, your children should already know what will be happening. But it's always a good idea to take some time to talk to them the night before. It's important they know that they don't have to smile for the camera (we want real smiles, not fake ones after all) and that all they need to do is be themselves. You can let them know that the photographer is excited to meet them, but you don't want to make a huge deal about it (like saying that they must listen and follow instructions). The main goal is for them to feel comfortable in the Studio. You can remind them that the whole family will be together and if they're shy, they can take their time to get comfortable. And that's it! We want the kids to be happy during the session, and taking a few minutes to alleviate any fears or concerns they might have the night before is super helpful.
5. Adjust your expectations
I know photoshoots are super exciting. I know you want everything to go perfectly and for your kids to be on their best behavior. But that actually rarely happens. The reason you're hiring a professional photographer is so things don't have be perfect in order get good photographs in the end. The most important thing I tell the parents is that good behavior, kids listening, sitting still, or being able to smile on command are NOT necessary. The only thing I need is for the child to be happy. That means they'll probably do something naughty during our time together or will refuse to wear a certain article of clothing that we picked out.. and it will be your job to not scold them. It is imperative that we don't have expectations of perfection. That we allow kids to feel comfortable and free. And that we try and relax and simply enjoy this time together. After all, it's not your job to get good photos of the family, it's mine. :)