Last week we flipped the script and put our ugly mugs in FRONT of the camera for once! It was such a fun experience, the kids had a blast, and we know we got some great shots of our family (mostly because our photog was so awesome...yes we're looking at you Lauren)!
But we have a confession to make...it wasn't always such an enjoyable experience getting our photos done. Shocking, we know. We don't know what it is about picture day that makes all those wacky personality traits come out, but they always seem to make an appearance when we get in front of a camera. Trust us when we say, we've been there done that. We've had past photo experiences involving serious wardrobe malfunctions, bloody noses, and busted lips after full-on faceplants into gravel. (True stories...all of them...we swear.)
Successful photoshoots are a team effort. I've been a dad for almost a decade now, and been a part of a lot of family photo shoots in front of and behind the camera. I know most dad's don't particularly enjoy getting their pictures done. Truth be told, neither do I. But deep down I want my wife to be happy and if my beautiful bride wants pretty pictures, then, gosh darn it, that's what she's gonna get! So here are a few tips for dads to make your photo shoot way less miserable!
Dad rule #1: Be supportive! This seriously can't be overstated! If this is the only rule you remember, you'll win at every photo session till the end of time. All my other tips are just icing on the cake. Your ATTITUDE on picture day can make or break the entire session. So do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and leave Mr. Grumpy Pants at home! We understand that you look forward to family photo day about as much as you look forward to your annual colonoscopy appointment, but please, for the love of everything holy, wives and moms look forward to this day for months, and when they look back at the photos from that day, they don't want to remember what a bad man-itude you had. Forget about what you'd "rather be doing," live in the moment, and enjoy the beautiful family God has blessed you with. Trust us when we say, you'll be glad you did...and so will your beautiful wife and adorable children.
Dad rule #2: Don't stress! Dad stress kills the vibe of a fun family session about as quick as the police rolling up on a frat party. What I'm about to say might sound a bit harsh, but we're all guys here and this is how guys talk. Deal with it ladies! Typically dad stress shows itself in one of three ways: pro-dad, helicopter-dad, or drill sergeant dad. (Confession time again...I've been all three of these at one point or another!)
Pro-dad is typically the dad who dabbled in photography back in high school or college and because he knew who Ansel Adams was once upon a time, he's now a "professional." We aren't doubting your knowledge or abiliites...seriously, we aren't. But, NEWSFLASH, you aren't here to take the pictures. You're here to be in them and follow Rule #1! So do that, and we'll take care of the rest!
Helicopter-dad is the one who is constantly fretting and fussing over the kids' hair bows, dirt on the shoes, or little smudges on faces. Typically, Helicopter-dad gave the whole family a 90 minute PowerPoint presentation in the car on the way over about "appropriate behavior." A better idea is to save the car-speech and allow a little "real life" into your photos. We want to showcase your family the way they really are, not the way The Helicopter-Dad PR Firm thought they should look.
Drill sergeant dad is the dad who thinks the louder he yells the more likely the kids are gonna listen. Except what usually happens when dad starts yelling is that the kids start crying, and then we get a bunch of pictures of snotty noses, red eyes, and frowny faces. No one wants that. So take a deep breath and let the kids be kids for about an hour. They don't bother us...REALLY. We have three ourselves and nothing your kids do is going to shock us.
Dad Rule #3: Be attentive and flexible! Sometimes you're gonna have to wear a shirt you don't like. Sometimes you'll have to take a kid or two and go explore for a few minutes so we can get pictures of mom and baby. Sometimes you'll need to stand behind us and make ridiculous noises or goofy faces. Sometimes it's better to leave the goofy faces and silly dances to us! All that to say, you know your family the best and you know what will work best to bring out their personalities. Be mentally present at your session and be willing to jump in when we need a little extra dad help.
There you have it. We know that, as a dad, you'd WAY rather being doing a hundred other things on a Saturday evening. But if you can leave the Grump Train at the station, you might be surprised how much fun family photos can be.