What to expect at your family session

Can I let you in on a little secret?

Two year olds (ok, pretty much all kids) don’t want to sit still, look at the camera, and smile for an hour. GASP

Can I let you in on a better secret?

We don’t want them to.

As a mom I want pictures of my littles that make my heart melt. Pictures that bring all the memories rushing back. Pictures that really show my kids-their personalities, the light in their eyes, who they really are. Pictures that remind me on hard parenting days how much love I have for them. Pictures that make. me. feel.

You want that too, right?

To get those pictures we have to let go. Let go of the traditional everyone-look-at-the-camera- and-smile-for-the-next-hour approach. Let go of thinking of family sessions as something to be endured not enjoyed. Let go of controlling our kids or I should say in my case trying to control my kids.

You may be wondering now with all that letting go, what are you, as a parent, supposed to do at a family session? Be present. Enjoy your kids. Play with your kids. Love on your kids. Smile at your spouse, snuggle them, and give them a kiss every once in a while. (Gotta show that love that keeps all that chaos together!) Think of a family session with me as a chance to be together as a family, enjoy each other, and make memories.

But what about the kids? Right?! Don’t worry about them. You focus on having fun and loving your family. I’ll take care of the kids. It’s like you get a babysitter and a photographer all in one! If I need them to do something, I’ll ask them or more likely play a game with them. I know what you’re thinking, but what if they don’t listen to you Bethany? It’s ok. What if they throw a tantrum? It’s ok. What if they are grumpy the whole time? Again, it’s ok. I have three kids of my own AND I taught daycare for 10 years, so I know what kids are like. Yours can’t throw anything at me that will shock me. I know they have all sorts of emotions in their little bodies and that they want to be in control. And it’s all ok. Because all that energy and the emotions and the excitement and the craziness that your kids bring are exactly what we want in your family pictures.

Some of you may be feeling a little better now. But I know some of you are still worrying, because that is the type of person I am. A worrier. If your kid cries or throws a tantrum during our session, know that at least one happens at almost every session. Stay calm and comfort them and love on them. I’ll take some pictures in that moment that you will love because it shows the love and care you give every. single. day. Also know that I only need 1/200th of a second to get the perfect shot. The two year old in this session really wanted nothing to do with her parents for most of the session (except for during our dance party!) and it was ok. It was more than ok! Because when she did give them attention, I soaked up all that yummy goodness.

Just 1/200th of a second and your family. Exactly the way you are. That’s all I need for the perfect shot.

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*Bethany Allen is a Utah family photographer. She believes the small and simple moments, like blowing bubbles on the porch, are some of the most magical ones. She spends her days blowing bubbles with her kids in Cedar City and exploring Southern Utah.