When L reached out to me about a family session, she shared her goals of relaxed photos showing her family doing real activities around their home. But, having never worked with a photographer before, she didn’t know how her 2.5-year-old would react to a new face, especially with a camera involved.  Furthermore, she was a little surprised to hear…

Family storytelling sessions last up to 2 hours.

L was curious what we would do to fill that much time, and how I could hold her son’s attention for that long as a total stranger. But, after a quick 15-minute chat on the phone, L and I had worked out a plan together for what we would capture. She shared with me all the things her son loves – food, the lawnmower, picking strawberries, playing music, and going on walks with the dog. During the session, we weaved all the favorite activities artfully into the photos. From her son’s perspective, this wasn’t a photoshoot… this was a fun day doing his favorite things with his parents. I just happened to be there with a camera.

Like most kids, O was conditioned to look at the camera and say “cheeeeeese.” While that was cute, it was producing cheesy smiles and I knew that’s not how L wanted her son represented. So when I noticed this happening, I redirected his attention with a little game or task everyone could do together. The key to beautiful photographs is actually LESS of the photographer’s presence. I can give you guidance on what to do, but the interpretation is 100% up to you. That’s what gives your photos the “secret sauce.” It’s what makes them yours.

I’ve met a lot of happy kids in my years as a photographer, but this kid was especially happy for one very big reason: his parents didn’t finagle him or tell him where to look. That always results in dorky photos of parents pointing at the camera, which nobody wants. With young kids, having a relaxed timeline is absolutely necessary, because as you know, they fall down or run away to do something else before circling back to the moment we want to capture. Lifestyle sessions offer the flexibility and comfort to make this happen, in a way that mini sessions or traditional portrait sessions simply cannot. 

And yes, we still got the Christmas card photo of everyone smiling (because Grandma would be sooo sad if we didn’t get that one). But instead of making that the main event and trying to get it perfect, we snapped it quickly before moving on to more exciting activities. 

Every family and every situation is unique, but in general, I stay at your house for about 2 hours.

It ultimately depends on what all you want captured, and how quickly we can get you feeling comfortable enough to forget there’s a camera in the room. Remember that I am a stranger to your kids. Some kids are quick to warm, and some aren’t, and that’s okay. Your favorite images are always going to happen towards the end of the session when everyone is 100% comfortable expressing themselves. Those last 10-ish minutes of pure magic are what makes a lifestyle session worth it, every time.

Hi there!

I’m Daisy, and you’re very welcome here.

I’m a documentary Columbus Ohio family photographer offering stress-free and fun portrait experiences. I hope you enjoyed How long is a photo session, and if you’d like to chat about your own family photos, smash that button below. Can’t wait to hear what wild and wonderful things you’re dreaming up!

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