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How to Ensure an Awesome Photo Experience| Ashburn Family Photography

It’s all about Dad.

While my sessions are usually booked by Moms, more often than not it’s Dad who has the biggest influence on the session results. A father who can act as if he is ready for this great adventure and ready to be goofy can relax everyone and we get the best most natural photos. Conversely, if Dad is miserable about dressing up and annoyed about missing the game to be there, he often is grouchy to his wife, testy with the kids, and unsmiling in his photos, putting everyone in a foul mood.  The kids totally feed off of this.  I can’t tell you how many sessions I’ve had where the kids are completely following Dad’s lead, and are surly and cranky about the entire thing.  When your family approaches the session as something they are being forced to do against their will, it’s very difficult to get great photos.

The best advice I can offer here is to tell him to “fake it ’til you make it” (bribery works for husbands too!) 

My happiest clients are the ones who treat the whole experience as a fun adventure that they are going to have together.  The kids are looking forward to it because no one has lectured and threatened, and everyone is relaxed and excited for what comes next and we get the most fun and natural photos. Maybe there has even been the promise of a fun family outing after the session!  When my family had our first true family photo session with Me Ra Koh a few years ago, my husband was not keen on the idea of paying for family photos, but he knew it was important to me, so he kept everyone’s spirits up and acted enthusiastic.  We took the boys out of school early on a Friday afternoon, drove to the location downtown and explored the area along the river for a bit before our session to burn off some energy.  We took our photos on an old cobblestone street and then went for milkshakes and a nice dinner together afterwards.  We all remember it as a fun, silly day full of laughter, even though it was 80 degrees in October and some of us were wearing sweaters (much to their dismay!).  I’m forever grateful to my husband for being such a good sport that day, and even though he wasn’t enthusiastic about it in private, he put on a great show for the boys and we still grin when we look at our canvases from that day hanging in our stairwell.  I think he’ll even tell you now that it wasn’t that bad. :)


Thanks to Me Ra Koh for this picture that still cracks me up three years later!

Finally, if you were taking a trip, having company over, or going to visit the Grandparents, you’d talk it up to the kids all week, right?  You’d try build excitement and enthusiasm about what was going to happen and set expectations for behavior up front rather than groan about what a pain it will be to clean up for the guests, complain about having to entertain them, and give the kids the impression that you didn’t want their guests to come, right?  The dialogue in the week leading up to your photo session should be exactly the same way.  Get everyone excited and in a cooperative spirit to get the most fun and relaxed photos!


In searching for photos for this post I realized I never shared the E family’s photos from last summer. Look for more of them on the blog next week!

Remember, I’m currently offering a great deal on winter sessions at home.  And these types of sessions where everyone is in their comfort zone is a great way to beat the complainers!  :) Book a session to take place before the end of March and receive a free canvas from your session!  Call me at 703.638.9570 to reserve one of the three spots available!

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