Today I am lucky enough to share with you this wonderful family. Not only are these twins Archer’s BFFs, but that little guy and my Gryff are going to be tearing up the world together in a few years. The morning we spent together in September was so much fun. The boys loved playing all of my silly games, they laughed at all of my cheesy jokes, and they all showed each other so much love. Oh, and their outfit coordination was on point (great job, Kel!). Because this session was so beautiful, and you can feel the love radiating from them, I thought I might use it as an example of how my outdoor sessions usually run!
First, we get comfortable together
Like all of my outdoor sessions, we meet on location (Stranak Conservation Park in Dresden for this one) and the first thing I do is chat with the kids and parents and make sure everyone happy and ready to have fun. I generally don’t even touch my camera for the first few minutes because building that comfort with the kids is my number one priority, and without it the session will be a flop. Now I know this family personally, so we had lots to talk about, but generally this time is spent getting to know each other and setting the energy for the session. Once we have walked and talked for a few minutes, we find a good spot to get started!
I start out with some simple and fun poses
I usually start with some simple poses for the family as a group so we can make sure we get that perfect shot before anyone gets dirty or upset. Even though it isn’t always my favourite shot, I know that every mom wants a shot of everyone looking nice and smiling at the camera so I make sure to get it right off the bat. From there I will let the pose “fall out” and catch those natural interactions between everyone while we laugh and chat.
During your session, if there is ever a particular grouping you want to make sure you get (ex. Dad with the boys, Mom with the girls, etc), now is a great time to make sure we get that done.
I make sure to get individual shots of each child
I try my best to get a shot of each child that truly reflects their personality. They might not be the only person in the frame, but the focus and the story is definitely about them. As you can see in the next images, these 3 boys are all very different, and I want to make sure the images you get of your kids reflect them as honestly as possible.
Next we will play a few fun little games
I always like to incorporate some fun little games into the session to get the kids’ minds off of the camera and to let them relax a bit. We usually will play ring around the rosey, follow the leader, tag, or have a dance party! It always creates genuine laughs and the kids love it. Of course, I make sure these games are taking place in the best location and light as possible!
We focus on special connections
Once we have some solid group shots and some fun playful images I will often step back and let everyone do their thing while I focus on individual relationships. Sometimes these shots happen between poses, sometimes I direct them a bit, but often they are moments that are happening on their own. I also always make sure to get a few shots of you and your kids, because as moms we are often not in our own family pictures, so I always want to make sure you are represented in your family session. Capturing a Mama’s love is my favourite thing to do, but what I really want is for you to SEE how much your kids love YOU in your images.
We always finish with one more group shot
As a general rule, I like to try for one more group shot at the end of the session. By this point we are all comfortable and having fun, and everyone knows what the expectations are. I often find that by this point Dad is comfortable enough with the possibility of a little PDA, so it lets me get everyone a little closer and snuggled up for something perfect like this:
My outdoor sessions usually last around 1-1.5 hours depending on the location and the size of the family. They are almost always at sunrise or sunset (or as close as possible) and can be at any location of your choice. After your session I will usually send you a sneak peek within a day and deliver your online gallery within 2-3 weeks following the shoot.
Brittany VanRuymbeke is a CK Lifestyle Photographer specializing in fun and natural family and newborn photography.