In case you haven’t picked up on it so far in my advice series, I’ll just spell it out for you:

Family and newborn photography requires flexibility, on my part, and on your part. Lots of people think it’s all about the perfect smile, the perfect location, the perfect attitudes and outfits and situations. It’s really, really not. A successful session with kids is equal parts planning (see my How to Prepare Posts 1, 2 and 3), and equal parts flexibility.

Every mom wants that perfect Christmas card photo, where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera; that’s why the planning part is important. You do everything on your end to be sure that the family is dressed, ready and happy by session time, and I do everything on my end to scope out locations in advance, to move quickly, to direct and pose and get it done. I have a formula for success as I shoot that ensures that you get plenty of the “perfect”.

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Flexibility is required because that’s where the really genuine shots are found. Not only that, but allowing yourself the option to roll with chaos and trusting me to be flexible will provide you with relief. I certainly don’t expect your toddler to be thrilled to take pictures for an hour, and I’d be bored if I didn’t have to chase him around a little bit in between shots. I’d be disappointed to not get a picture of him frowning big, or sitting in the mud. Or climbing some steps. Or hitting his brother in the face. This is real life, these are real moments. My vote is to roll with it, rather than be uptight about it. I’ve seen both methods, and the outcome of the first is way greater than the outcome of the second.

So, let it go. Roll with the chaos. Bust out the inside jokes, laugh with each other, and be super cuddly and love-y. Trust me to implement my little formula for perfect, and trust me that I love the chaos, too.

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