As a Santa Rosa, CA family photographer I realize how important it is to make my subjects comfortable in front of the camera. Most of my clients have little to no experience in front of the camera that's why my job is way more than saying "say cheese". I realize that in order to look comfortable in your photos you need to feel good about yourself. When it comes to adults, women like to feel beautiful therefore I make sure to complement her outfit, shoes, smile , makeup etc. when it comes to men I've noticed they like to be complemented as well. When it comes to children, they like to have fun, which also makes the best pictures! I like when families treat family portraits seriously and take their time to prepare. Of course outfit choice is the key! All outfits need to go together (but not be matchy-matchy) but also clothes need to be ironed! Not everyone remembers about this! It is important for the children to be rested and fed as well as possibly promised to do something fun after the photo session if they behave well. Simple promise of ice-cream works miracles! Another key point is not being late. If a family is running late, everyone is stressed out which doesn't help with happy candid photos.
The key point to a successful family session is a prepared, happy and relaxed family!