mariana de albuquerque professional family photoshoot

One of the most common concerns I hear from moms when they inquiry about a professional family photoshoot is that dad needs convincing! Typically moms are the ones who come up with the idea: “we need family photos!” Some dads easily jump on board and are as excited as moms. But most dads (like my very own husband!) would either be on the fence or say no altogether to the experience.

That’s why I wrote this post: to give you mom the option of what to do if dad is not really up for a family photo session.

Why some dads don’t want a professional family photoshoot?

In my opinion, the main reason is that dads imagine “picture day” as those uncomfortable, overly formal and stiff portraits he used to do in school, or that he did in a previous professional family photoshoot. And let’s face it – who on earth actually has FUN and enjoys having to stand in an awkward position, having to smile at the camera for a precious hour of their weekend?!

It is only natural that dads would much rather spend that time doing something else they like instead of doing a professional family photoshoot.

So what now?!

If dad doesn’t want a professional family photoshoot, the most obvious option: A laid-back in-home documentary session

What dad usually doesn’t want to do is “to stand and awkwardly smile”. But he loves spending time with the people he loves the most in his world. Even if that happens during a professional family photoshoot.

So, instead of choosing a formal portrait session, why not opt for a laid-back, in-home photo session instead?

During this type of session, dad can do whatever he wants – play with his kids, read a book, drink coffee, ‘disappear’ into another room for a while, sleep in, cook. 

My in-home sessions take mostly a photojournalistic approach. As such, I give little or no direction most of the time. And we can certainly adjust the amount of “artistic direction” you receive from me based on your personal preference. I can easily photograph an in-home session a 100% with no direction if that’s what dad will feel most comfortable. In that case, I simply follow you around your home while you play, have fun, and go on with your routine, while I capture authentic moments. It just feels like having a friend over with a camera. Nothing more than that.

In-home sessions can include an optional mini family portrait session when I give more hands-on instructions of where to stand and what do do (~10 min). But if mom wants portraits and dad doesn’t, we simply do motherhood portraits instead. That is, mom & children only. And dad can join for 1-2 images or none at all. 

The second option: Natural posing in outdoor sessions

Outdoor sessions are ideal option as a professional family photoshoot if you (mom) want a session with a mix of beautiful portraits and candid images. Or if you live in a small/dark home. 

I’ll be honest – this type of session requires more “effort” from dad. Because I include a longer portrait time. So, a little more convincing might be involved! BUT, because of my documentary background, I make portraits through very natural posing. 

So, here is what dad needs to know. “Posing” in a session with me looks like this: I simply place your family together in a spot with beautiful light and background. I might adjust your positions a little to flatter you all. Then I ask questions or offer some prompts and step back letting you just be with your family. I might ask something silly like if there is a butterfly on top of the mom’s head, or a dinosaur flying in the sky. Or I might ask your child to tell you a secret. 

These prompts are nothing more than a starting point to encourage interaction and bring out genuine emotions. Without these prompts, families would stand in stiff poses and awkwardly smile at me. 

And that’s exactly what dads don’t like. 

Instead, I will naturally encourage you to look at each other and interact, while nearly (or entirely) forgetting you are being photographed. 

This portion of the session, where I’ll naturally pose your family, lasts for about 15-30. This is usually the “sweet spot” for dads and children. Portraits longer than this usually result in bored children and/or dads. And that’s not my goal! My purpose is for your session to truly, truly be an enjoyable, memorable experience for the whole family. 

What if dad really doesn’t want portraits? Well, he can join in for 1-2 images, and the rest can be motherhood portraits instead while dad relaxes or goes for a walk. 

Once portraits are done, children will play while I might “interfere” by suggesting an activity to encourage more interactions, like blowing bubbles or playing hide and seek. Or recommend you to play at a specific spot with beautiful light. But for the most part, my approach is nearly all documentary. 

So you can forget about me and just enjoy time with those you love. 

If dad’s objection is about the financial investment

Some dads simply don’t want to spend money on a professional family photoshoot when they simply can take snapshots with their phones. 

If that’s the case for the dad in your life, you might want to point out the obvious: phone snapshots are simply not the same as professional photos.

Phone snapshots don’t look nor feel the same as professional images. Especially if the images are storytelling and meant to evoke feelings and memories. Professional images are taken with a level of intention and technical skill that sets them apart from phone snapshots.

Here are a few other things to consider:

  • As busy parents, it is easy to let images accumulate on the phone and not see the light of the day. Any collection you choose when working with me will include gorgeous, museum-quality print products so your images can be truly enjoyed in your everyday life
  • A professional photoshoot gives you a collection of images that you don’t get from everyday snapshots, like the whole family together.

Final thoughts 

In my experience, dads just need to experience a professional family photoshoot session with me once to be “convinced” of the importance of professional family photos. And to realize that a family photoshoot can be actually fun and stress-free! When he sees beautiful and meaningful images of himself with those he loves the most, his heart will melt as much as mom. So, if dad is on the fence because of the financial investment, my basic collection (10 images) might be a great starting point.