Every mom has anxiety before a family session. It's okay, I know it's a fact.

Let's face it...dad isn't taking the initiative to search for a photographer, book a session, plan the outfits, get everyone ready and out the door on time. Nothing against him but, we all know he's just along for the ride. It's you, mom. You're the one stressing that the kids aren't going to smile or your husband is going to look absolutely miserable the entire time with that oh so obvious fake smirk. You're worried your kids aren't going to listen and just run around like the feral creatures they are or completely shut down. Well, I'm here to tell you my very realistic tips to having a successful AND fun family session!

So what's the trick? LET THEM BE FERAL! I know you're thinking I'm out of my mind and I am! In the most wonderful way! When your husband and kids think of posing in front of a camera for an hour just so you can get a decent family portrait that sounds extremely boring. And sure some people like that typical perfectly posed photo where everyone is looking and there isn't a wrinkle in anyone's clothes. However, I find that most of my clients prefer the photos where their family is laughing and having a good time! It makes everyone's photos more authentic! Let the kids play and tease each other a little. Let your husband act like one of the kids and swing them around like sacks of potatoes. Sneak in a spontaneous tickle fight! I promise you when they're wild, the photos are gold! And please mom...let loose and have fun! Believe me, I know you're stressed about the end results of your session but, you HAVE to trust the process and have fun with your family!

Give the kids a little freedom to be kids and don't be afraid to chase after them and play too! You were a wild child at one time too so I know you have it in you! Dad sometimes needs this little reminder too. I just find that if you make the session more about play and adventure it keeps the little ones more engaged and creates authentic smiles. And you guys as parents will be happier watching them have a blast! Believe me, when I'm out there photographing families I get pretty silly too. So if you're looking for a plain old fashioned "stand here, smile in 3, 2, 1" photographer...I'm not the one.

Bottom line is...don't sweat it so much! Come to your session ready to have a fun day with your family! Engage with your kids! Push your husband over! To me, a family session is more than just capturing who is in your family. It's about capturing WHO your family is!