In working with hundreds of different clients over the years, I have found that everyone reacts differently to the idea of family portraits. One thing that I can say for sure is it is so important for your partner to be on-board with the idea of family portraits for everyone to have fun. Here are some pieces of advice for preparing your partner for a family session.
Preparing Your Partner for a Family Session: Share Your Why
This sounds cliche, but have an open conversation with your partner about why you want to update your family portraits. Has it been ten years since you’ve had pictures done? Are you amazed at how quickly the kiddos are growing and you want to capture this moment? Has your great aunt been bugging you for updated pictures? Sometimes just sharing why you want to do this session and what your goals are will help your partner to get on board.
Preparing Your Partner for a Family Session: Share the Information
When you book a session with me, I will send you some resources and expectations via email. It’s always a great idea to forward those resources on to your partner so that they feel included in the process and know what to expect. When we arrive at the location, I will share the workflow with everyone. But sometimes knowing ahead of time and feeling included in the process will help your partner feel more agreeable to the session.
Preparing Your Partner for a Family Session: Discuss Expectations Together
In the car on the way to your session, I always encourage parents to chat with their children about expectations. This can be a family conversation where you brainstorm positive behaviors that you want to see. Having that conversation ahead of time can sometimes remind partners that the kiddos are watching and will mirror the same energy they are sharing.
Preparing Your Partner for a Family Session: FUN Family Experience
My favorite compliment EVER is when a family leaves their session and I get a text from their wife that says “My husband said he actually had FUN!” Yes! That is what we are here for! Yes, we want to update your family portraits but at the end of the day, this is about celebrating your family. We’re going to play games, create inside jokes and laugh together. Explain to your partner that everyone’s buy-in will help to make this a fun family experience for everyone.
Role Model for Your Kids
Finally, when kids pick up on the fact that an adult doesn’t want to be at the session, that’s a hard mindset for me to break as a photographer. If your partner doesn’t want to be there, kids often get the idea that they don’t have to be into either. Then everyone has to work that much harder to make the experience tolerable. We don’t want tolerable – we want fun! We want inside jokes and family games and big smiles when you look back on the pictures years later.
When Nothing Else Works
If none of these suggestions seem to be working, it doesn’t hurt to remind them that you have invested in this experience. Their buy-in will help it to be successful – and over faster! At the end of the day, I’ve never met a dad whose frown I couldn’t turn upside down, so leave it to me – I’ll take it from here.