Day-in-the-life family photography: what to do during your session?
If you’ve read the first two articles of this series about day-in-the-life family photography, you have a better idea of what it is and how long your photo session should be. But what if you don’t know what to do during your session?
The thing is you don’t have to do much for your day-in-the-life photo session to be successful. More often than not, the best sessions are the ones where nothing is planned.
That being said, it won’t always be possible not to plan, especially with older, more independent children. So here are a few ideas to get you thinking.
Your routine as a starting point
Start with your routine: waking up, getting dressed, nursing, cooking, eating, chores, homework, bathtime, storytime, bedtime… Engage in something you do regularly—actions so natural you don’t even think about doing them.
You’ll be busy for a while and get comfortable in front of the camera in no time. Plus, something interesting is bound to happen!
For portraits full of personality, let your wanna-be-independent child get ready for the day.
Inside-out shirt? Check!
Shoes on the wrong foot? Check!
Messy hair? Check!
Who knows? Your toddler might find the bottle of sunscreen and smother his face, hands and the floor with lotion while you’re packing the diaper bag for an outing…
Unpredictable moments like these will inevitably give you priceless images worth preserving in a photo book!
When you’re done with the routine, stick to regular activities you enjoy doing together, as if a photographer wasn’t with you that day.
Build a fort with blankets in the living room, have a nail polish party, head to the playground, ride a bike, go on an earthworm hunt, dance in the rain, play in the backyard, run to the grocery store to get a special treat for dinner, take your girl to her ballet lesson…
The sky’s the limit! Remember to think of it as a real day in your life and not a photo session!
What to do during your session with older kids
Kids can sometimes be like ghosts that only appear when their stomach monsters start growling. If that’s the case in your family and you want photos of everyone together, you’ll definitely have to do some planning!
Think of activities everyone likes to do together.
Baking? Board games? Kite running? Throwing a ball at the park? Camping? Going out for ice cream? Going on an adventure? Being a tourist in your own town?
Make it a special day and find an excuse to spend quality time together.
Have coffee and hot chocolate at your favourite café, go ice fishing, skating, shopping for new clothes, be messy and learn to make hand-tossed pizza dough, have a water gun fight in the backyard, roast marshmallows, have a barbecue at the park…
You won’t always be together during your day-in-the-life family photo session and that’s totally fine. We can make the most of these alone times to focus on each family member and tell their individual story within the big family story. For example, each person’s story can be about a hobby, project or special talent, or simply about their routine.
A photo session for special occasions
Maybe a photo session of a regular day at home isn’t for you. In that case, consider hiring a photographer for your next family vacation or for a special event like an adoption, a birthday or a holiday.
My Time-Stopper Guide is full of ideas for your day-in-the-life family photo session. It will remind you of how your mundane life is filled with moments worth noticing and remembering. And if you feel like taking a few photos before hiring a photographer, there are lots of tips on how to photograph your own family.
No matter what ideas you come up with, I’ll help you think about your story even deeper when you book your complimentary consultation.
Are you ready to get your mind working?
I'm Marie-Pierre, an easygoing mother of two and a documentary family photographer. I believe we can all learn and grow from other people's experiences. Real life stories help us relate to each other, open our minds and feel better about ourselves.
this blog is a collection of featured client stories, tips, and articles on various family related topics. I hope you will find some inspiration!