August 6, 2017

Ignore it! 5 things to ignore when taking your family portraits

fathollahi20A dear friend of mine (Catherine Pearlman,The Family Coach) and I were walking the hills overlooking the pacific when she announced she was writing a book. She told me this like she was announcing that she was buying new shoes, or she was going to try out the new Vietnamese restaurant down the street. And now, a few years, and many hill-walks later, she is preparing to release the baby (Ignore It!) she has been laboring all this time. Besides the joy you get from watching a good friend work so hard towards a goal and getting to the end, this is a really good idea for a book. It is a parenting book that helps take the pressure off our supposed need to nag, correct and force our kids into good behavior.

In honor of her efforts, I am writing my top five things to ignore when you are taking your family portraits. For more than 10 years I’ve watched the struggles, fights and resistance that can happen on a family photo shoot. Under all the pressure to get a perfect shot, we often resort to tactics we would NEVER even use while we are at home. We feel the urgency of getting this done and getting out of there.

It has been my joy of joys to see the final result of a beautiful photo shoot. So to help you end up with the best results with the least amount of fussing consider these five things to ignore the next time you sit down for your family portrait.

1. Ignore the attitudes- Let it go! If you see a kid acting like a pill, often times they just want a bit of attention from you. Most photographers are ok with a little attitude, and they often have a trick or two up their sleeve that might help that. Remember this is most likely not their first child with an attitude, so it is ok to relax, let them do their job, and you can take all the pressure off yourself to put all your kids in the best mood.

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2. Ignore matching outfits- The goal is to capture your kids being themselves. It may not be worth the fight to get everyone in white tops and khaki pants if it will cause a meltdown from one or more people. Try bringing extra clothes, and let them wear what you pick first. If they take a few pictures in your outfit then you can let them wear what they like. I always say, it isn’t hard to Photoshop a stain, but it is super hard to Photoshop a smile where there isn’t one.

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3. Ignore your Pinterest Board- Don’t imitate another family doing what they do. Try doing something you love as a family. Do you all love the park? Fine! Do you love the ocean? Great! Do your kids love the swings or making cookies or the water slide? Just find a way to capture the joy in your family, and ignore the idea you have in your head on what the perfect background has to be. It’s better to have a happy family doing what they love than a grumpy one copying another family.

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4. Ignore Punishments- At the least, wait till you get to the car. It’s completely impossible to get a child to smile once you offer to take their phone away for an entire week. Instead, refer to tip one on letting the photographer step in. Let them come up with a few things that might help, and save all the discipline for the ride home.
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5. Ignore your Insecurities- Ok, this one might just be for me. I have a ton of things I don’t like about myself, and when I look at a picture, that is all I see. So when I know someone is pointing a camera at me, my anxiety level rises, and I want to turn around or run away. Most of the time I just get all bunched up in the face from that anxiety and over think my smile. I look so unlike myself, and I can barely change a profile picture anywhere. My friends and I always say we had no idea how beautiful we were 10 years ago! So try and imagine yourself ten years down the line looking at how young and pretty you once were!

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