Family photos are my jam. 

Some people cringe at the thought of family photos. We all have our thing, right? 

I'm a Speech Language Pathologist, and a mom, so I completely understand that children don't always act the way we want them to act.

I know that family sessions can be stressful. If your family is anything like mine...this is how it probably goes.

You schedule photos for 7:30PM since the light is great during that time and for the next hour. Internally, you are thinking about the fact that your youngest is going to have a meltdown because he typically goes to bed at 7PM on a normal night. And you're dreading wake-up for him the following morning.

You start getting ready around 5:00PM since you need to shower and feed the kids. You (mom) are upstairs showering while dad is downstairs with the kids. Somehow, even though the kids are supposed to be eating, they come up one-by-one hanging on your leg, whining, and demanding your attention. Your youngest starts flinging things out of your cabinets and drawers since well, you're in the shower. Then he takes your makeup and starts throwing it in the toilet (this for real happened to me). 

Meanwhile, you're yelling for help from your husband who is downstairs. He can't hear you because A) you're in the shower and B) he is blaring music with your five year old since they are having a dance party while eating and cleaning up the kitchen.  

The best moment is when your husband comes upstairs and steps inside the bathroom to see all your things spread across the floor (from the baby's spring cleaning). Some things are drying out on your rug from the toilet incident, you are sopping wet, the baby is now wet since he insists on being held, and the baby is crying. And then he asks, "what are you doing!?" in a tone that is not super loving, but instead confused and a tone that makes you feel like the situation didn't have to be that hard. 

So maybe you are a little frazzled now. Your husband brings you a drink to relax while he gets the kids in their clothes. You dry your hair, but the bathroom is really hot and so you continue to sweat after being clean and dry (one of my biggest pet peeves). You're trying to put makeup on, but ends up, makeup doesn't apply well when you're sweaty. 

Okay, okay...so now you (mom) have your makeup on and your hair is pretty much done. We had a few bumps, but nothing serious. Kids are in their outfits, they are fed, and things seem to be moving swimingly.

 Now dad is getting ready. Well, women aren't the only ones picky about their clothes. The clothes you laid out for your husband apparently don't fit anymore. Why don't they fit? Well, when you were doing laundry, you threw the sweater in the dryer accidentally since you were trying to just accomplish the task of laundry. Now his sweater is a few sizes too small and he has NOTHING to wear (according to him). So the outfit he ends up wearing makes him feel a little "meh" and not as excited about the family photo thing.

You rally up the crew, which takes about 8 hours since getting children out the door is like herding cats. Once in the car you realize that you forgot your 5 year old had a snack that may have included chocolate (and it's a hot day) which is all over his carseat. 

Shoot, now his shirt is going to be ruined. 

Oh but wait, you drive to the location to meet your photographer and now you have to put on that show of "ALL SMILES" when in REAL LIFE you are now sweaty, crabby, less confident in your outfit choice, and dealing with stains you HOPE can be photoshopped out.

Can you relate to this? :)

Here are a few tips to help ease the day of family photos. 

1) Feed your children a finger food meal the evening of photos. Something that is NOT messy. Something that is easy to make and easy to clean. You need to cut corners with time whenever and wherever you can. 

2) If your photos are scheduled for 7:30PM make sure you give yourself AMPLE time so you aren't rushed. I hate being rushed. Being rushed makes me out to be one crabby mama, just ask my husband. If it takes you 20 minutes to get to the location then this should be your timeline.

6:40PM leave the house

7:00PM Arrive to location

have a few minutes to collect thoughts, clean up disasters and spilled milk (have some hangout time)

7:30PM Photoshoot

3) Bring clean/non-messy snacks to give your children during the session. Marshmallows, pretzels, oyster crackers, and water in a sippy cup that doesn't leak.

4) Give your kids something really easy to wear while they are getting ready and for the drive to the location. Then put their photo outfits on right after you arrive to your location (during your hangout time).

5) Don't stress if your kids aren't doing what you want them to do. Kids are kids. Have clear expectations going into this that your kids will continue to act how they normally do. Expect the worst so you are happy with the best. Your photographer will have tips and tricks to get your kids to at least appear like they are having fun in photos :)