This one’s for the girls. It’s is a subject I know much about. As a photographer with a grumpy husband (he’ll admit it) I’ve had my challenges on how to prepare my husband for family photos! You can bribe, make deals, tell them they just have to show up and smile, be patient, etc. However, it’s really on the guy to take any advice, because men are men. In the effort to get dressed up and get the kids ready, and not have a grumpy dad, it can take prep work.
Not all of us have to work to prepare a husband for family photos. I have been super fortunate to photograph guys who are happy and willing to have family photos taken. I attribute this to their easy-going wives who help make the process seem very easy. If you are one of these lucky ladies this article is not for you. Do what you’ve been doing and the rest of us will marvel at your magical abilities.
For those of us with a stubborn dude, how do you prep your guy for having photos taken if he doesn’t want to? So I’m gonna say-girls this effort is all on you, but it does help to have a man who is willing to go along with the family photo session idea. In the whole process of asking for his participation through the actual shoot, it’s important to let love for him be the number one guiding thing. Love changes how you act, and gives you the photos you’ve dreamt of.
Know your man’s temperament. If you try to force the photos, it’s not going to be good. The end result will be strained smiles and maybe a little bit of bitterness and resentment.
Ease them in. It’s like a marriage proposal- sometimes you have to mention it, and wait. Plant a seed of information, and give it time. Give him space. Then keep yourself happy- take photos of your family on your own. When it gets frustrating with the self timer, etc., that’s when he will see this process is not easy and you know it’s time to call a professional.
When he’s ready to take photos (hooray!) let it be fun. Photos typically take 1-2 hours for a family session, so let it be an easy day. Let him wake up late, and cut him some slack. Don’t stress too much; the photos are just a visual reminder of your family at that particular day in your lives. He can watch the kids while you get ready, and you get to have pretty pictures of smiling people.
Guys normally ease into photos a little while into the shoot. This really pertains to everyone. We don’t walk around with a camera in our faces, and someone telling you to smile. It’s a little unnerving and weird and how do you look natural with that? Well, this is where photographer skills come in. I like to move people around and not stress. I prefer to shoot outdoors, in a large area, where we can move from spot to spot. When you do this, conversation flows a little better, and it makes people relax and feel more at ease. Everyone opens up more, and smiling and posing happen more naturally. Plus, it helps that I’m goofy and I am not afraid to make people laugh.
In the event that your photographer has a studio and only shoots indoors, talk with them. Ask them about their shooting process and bring up any concerns that you have about a hesitant husband/boyfriend. They can talk you through their steps and maybe provide some tips.
Focus on the love. The reason you are doing this is a little testament- a reminder of your love for someone. The smiles, hugs, and handholding are all going to come through flawlessly on camera. If you look at someone with love in your eyes, it will show through. Even if he fought with you about doing this, and made your time stressful. Put on the rose-colored glasses and see past any arguments or tension. Forgive, forget, be kind, and look at each other with love. I promise you will love your photos.
Be thankful and appreciative of each other and the family units you have created. Gratitude spills over in body language, and translates into happy photos. Take a minute before the photo session starts (or during) to look at him, cuddle, kiss and be connected.
Play with the kids. This makes everyone happy and in my opinion, translates into the best photos and memories. Happy kids in photos = happy you. Plus it makes all included bond and smile. Then you get what you wanted- a happy guy playing with your family and memories you can hold onto forever.
Laugh it off. Laughter makes the best photos, and gets the tension out of the shoot. So does music. Listen to you favorite songs on your way to the shoot. Get those kids laughing. Make bird poop jokes. This is a fun day! You get to show off new outfits, play dress up, hug and laugh and play!
Don’t take it too seriously. In the big scheme of things, it’s not worth any relationship damage or fights. If you’ve got a good guy, he wants you to be happy, even if he’s being grumpy. Love him anyway, and the rest will work out. And then you’ll have good memories and pretty pictures of your family. Prepare your husband for family photos and (hopefully) he will understand, and have a good idea of what to expect.
My disclaimer- I am by no means a relationship expert or therapist. I only know from my own experiences. Do what works for you. If you’ve got any tips for how to prepare your husband for family photos, comments are welcome!
Do I sound like a good photographer for you? I’d be happy to consult with you about a photo session! Leave me your name and email and let’s talk!