TIPS & TRICKS: EVERYTHING FAMILY PHOTOS WITH JULIA DAGS
Julia Dags has been shooting our family for seven months. She is extremely talented and I am always so impressed with her work, shoot after shoot. She also has such an incredible personality which is so important when shooting families & businesses! When you find a photographer that is super talented they will capture the shots that are not planned…the ones you don’t even see. The photos I’m speaking about are the lifestyle shots of your kids just….being kids.
A talented photographer sees the shots you would never even think to take and that’s where Julia shines. As moms we are so used to booking photography sessions trying to get that perfect shot where the family is sitting together, looking forward, with the perfect smile. How many times have you shouted, “Everyone look at the camera!” GUILTY!
I want you to take a step back and think about booking lifestyle sessions vs. posed family photos. I’m confident that in 30 years when we are all looking back at the days our babes were little it’s the lifestyle, movement type shots that will bring you back the most memories. If you only want to do one shoot a year instead of booking a photographer for that Christmas staged photo think about booking a pool summer session or fun family activity. I promise you will get some amazing authentic photos of your kids being crazy :) Their personalities will shine and bring that photo to life for that Christmas card. Julia talks more about this during her Q & A below.
FINDING A PHOTOGRAPHER
Finding a photographer can be tough. Here are some of my own tips, especially for someone shooting with kids:
1) Love their work. If you don’t absolutely love their style you won’t 100 percent trust them during the shoot and that stress will come out. One thing kids pick up on is stress! So book someone who’s work you are obsessed with so they can do their thing and you can do yours.
2) Price. I would find someone affordable enough that you can do a few shoots a year. You can always ask if the photographer has any packages. Photography sessions also make great gifts from the grandparents. Remember these sessions do not have to break the bank!
3) Personality. Finding someone that is great with kids should be top of the list. You want your children to be themselves during the session. I have worked with two photographers through Mrs. Nipple, one being Julia, and both always walk in and immediately gravitate towards the kids. Julia is so wonderful with the boys which is so important. A Warm and friendly outgoing personality works best with my kids. You can always get a sense of someone over the phone so don’t be afraid to book a call before you book someone.
Q & A WITH JULIA DAGS
Julia will take it from here!
I didn’t have time to shower this morning let alone put together coordinating family outfits for our family photo shoot. What do I do?
Okay, listen. Family photo shoots truly sound stressful. The pure thought of getting yourself together on top of getting your kids together, and hoping your husband or wife can also pull themself together - shit do you need to clean the house - to look decent sounds impossible.
I’m going to do my best to take you step by step how to be prepared for a photo shoot.
First, discuss with your photographer when your kids schedules are best. What is that golden hour of the day for your family when everyone is happy after a meal, energy isn’t depleted, naps aren’t needed, and crankiness usually hasn’t set in yet? That’s the most important factor. You want to make sure your kids are in a great mental state before you sign up for a photo shoot during one of your kid’s nap time. Disaster! Ideally for photographers, at the end of the day, around an hour and a half before sunset, is the best light to start photographing in. When photographing bloggers, I am able to direct each blogger in regards to the light. With family sessions, if your family golden hour matches up with that last hour and a half of the day, take that time slot. Kids run around and move… constantly. A photographer can’t, and shouldn’t if you’re going for that lifestyle look, direct your child to the inch of where and how to move. With the light being softer at the end of the day, it is easier to photograph without worrying too much about the sunshine impacting the images at this time.
Typically, photo shoots will run for one hour. If sunset is at 7:00pm, beginning your photo shoot at 5:30pm is an ideal time. It gives you time to be a little late to your photo shoot if one of your kids put on two different shoes and you need to run back home to grab both matching pairs. It gives time for you and your kids to get to know your photographer. It’s so important for a child to be comfortable with the person who is photographing them. The photographer should give time to interact with each of the kids before photographing them. The most important part of that hour that you’re given to photo shoot? Meltdowns. They happen. Someone gets sand in their eye, someone throws sand at someone else, someone wipes ketchup into someone else’s hair. We’ve all been there. An hour gives you time to literally breathe in case any of the above and beyond happen.
Next, WHAT DO YOU WEAR?! I think this has to be my most frequently asked question. Well, to start, putting a shirt and pants on your child is cool. Or not! Want to have a photo shoot of your kids enjoying a hot summer day in the pool? Let’s do it - but I’ll get to more on that later. My point is, dress your kids in something they’re going to be comfortable in and something that shows who they are. It’s even more important for you, as a mom, to wear something you’re going to be comfortable in. You don’t want to wear a pair of jeans that are too tight, no matter HOW great they make your butt look, if you don’t feel comfortable being able to lean over, grab your kid off the ground and swing him or her up in the air to give them a kiss. You’re going to be interacting with your kids for an hour - tickle fights, playing in the sand, swinging them around the park isn’t easy with tight jeans. Stick to things that you know look good on you. If you don’t own a single red shirt in your closet and you suddenly think you need a red shirt for your family photo shoot, I’m going to highly suggest against that notion! Generally, the same color scheme is just fine. Light colors are great in the spring and summer, deeper and darker hues are great for fall. Keep it plain and simple - the photos are most importantly about the moments you’re sharing with your family.
Now, going back to taking photos in the pool. What kind of family session is that? It’s a lifestyle session, a day in the life, a family activity you can be caught doing on any particular Saturday with the whole family. Baking a whole assortment of breakfast goodies on a Sunday morning, making a fort in the upstairs playroom, going ice skating down at your local ice rink, swimming lessons, family picnics, playing on the neighborhood playground. Your kids will look happiest in your photos when they’re doing what they want to do and when they’re having fun doing it. My favorite images that I take of families are the ones of kids playing on the playground or playing in the sand on the beach. It’s not always about “smile, look at the camera, cheese!” A great photographer will capture those giggles and laugh of your child, the interactions between your kids, and those images will be what will make you happiest. If your kid is being ticked and hugged on the ground by your other child, you’ll never say, “I wish he was looking at the camera,” you’ll love it just the way it is. These images are also perfect for your holiday cards. It’s a great way to show each of your children individually and your family as a whole through different images instead of a yearbook-like image for your family + your kids.
Finally, reward your kids! Take them out for ice cream, bring them jelly beans, or surprise them with toys to play in the sand with. This gets your kids so happy and excited, and it ends the photo shoot on a happy note and may even result in some extra little smiles towards the end of your photo gallery!
Don’t stress! Your kids will have fun, and you’ll be sitting there smiling at them having such a great time, and you’ll have the best time with them. Even with some booger wiping, drooling, sneezing, screaming or running away photos, lifestyle photo shoots will capture your entire family’s personality.
You can find Julia’s website, HERE.
A BIG thanks to Julia for everything she does!! She captures the moments that are right in front of us that sometimes we miss. I’m so grateful for her incredible work. There are so many local businesses and families that rely on Julia, thank you for making our visions come to life 🙌🏻