Thursday, September 12, 2013

7 Steps to prepare for your family photos!

You have done it.  You have scheduled your family photo session – Finally!  You can already envision the pristine beautiful pictures hanging in your house of your beautiful smiling kids and spouse and maybe even the family dog...all sitting, smiling, happy.  You can’t WAIT until you get to your photo session.
The Mexiner Family - A lot of people, A lot of fun!

The day finally arrives…eeeek!  You get everyone up early. Shower, do hair, make-up, dress everyone’s new matching outfits.  Brush the dog, and off you go. Oops you forgot to feed them – oh well, AFTER you are done everyone gets to go to lunch, dinner, ice cream, whatever. This is going to be great!!!!

You arrive at the designated location. It is perfect. Then the kids look out and say “ Why are we here?”  You remind them that it is family picture day!  You spouse, simply inquires “How long will this take?”  A tad bit irritated that they don’t recognize ALL the prep work you have put into this event – you say, “just a little while."  Irritated but determined, you forge ahead and meet the photographer.  You discuss what you want and go over a shot list from your head with the photographer. You tell them of all the great shots you want to get. The different looks, etc.

My kids entertaining each other....Of course a smile for mom - was not easily obtained. But of all the pics - I actually like this one the best.  They didn't even know I was shooting them!
The photographer with your vision in mind is ready, so you all head out to start.  Then, then it all starts to fall apart.  The kids, whom you forgot to feed, are hungry, whining and not cooperative.  The spouse, who doesn’t want to be there, is now irritated that the kids are whining.  The photographer is trying to get everyone to smile, but on top of hungry tummies; one kid is looking sideways,  one is frowning, the other is smiling with their teeth only, and the spouse has a plastered on smile that looks like something out of Chucky. You curtly tell everyone to “Smile!  BIG! BE HAPPY!”  You stare down your spouse,  tell your kids to cooperate, and try to pretend your blood isn’t boiling…and thus begins the family photo session melt down. There it goes,  your visions of that perfect family photo hanging above the mantle have dissolved into praying the photographer can get just one good shot of everyone smiling and not looking mad. Sound familiar?
How do I know this scenario so well?  Well, I have been on both sides of the camera, and let me tell you – THIS happens all the time.  I have many pictures of my own children – all gussied up, on location, the prefect plan for the perfect pictures.  They were all happy and smiling and as soon as we met with our friend with a camera in his hand… POOF – the cooperation, smiles, anything symbolizing a worth-while picture adventure vanished. I have lived the parental nightmare of a family photo shoot gone wrong. I have also shot the family photo shoot gone wrong – so I compiled a list of helpful hints to arm yourself with prior to the shoot.

1.       Go with the flow.  Kids are kids. Simple as that. They do not have the capacity to reason.  If they did – parents wouldn’t be so tired all the time.

This is what they prefer to do....mug for the camera...It captures who they are!
2.      FEED THEM!  Please make sure everyone has eaten. There is no getting around a hungry child. They are grumpy. Period.  Also bring snacks, treats, candy anything they like – BRIBE them!  IT WORKS.

3.      Use their personalities to get the shots. When I take pics I try to incorporate as much fun for them as possible. I have to do this with mine. I simply tell them “Look, I need to get some good normal smiling pics, once I do that – then just be yourselves.  Be silly – I don’t care, do whatever.” I get GREAT photos by doing this. I do it for clients too. 
4.      Let them take breaks. Kids, dads, dogs, they need a break here and there. It makes for a longer shoot but smiling gets old. 

5.      Be open to ideas.  This isn’t a fashion shoot, with models, hair and makeup and tons of lights,  it is your family.  Let everyone be involved with the shoot and participate.  This gets everyone actively involved and you might be surprised at the results!

6.      Get the shots you really want early.  Get the family, kids shots you really want first.  Often times the kids are cooperative for the first round of photos and that is the best time to make sure you get the pics you want. After you get the shots you “need” then let the photographer and you and your family get creative and see what you come up – it is fun and often rewarding in the end! 

7.      Participate in the shoot. Don’t think that the photographer has all the answers – provide suggestions.   
Other than that have fun, relax and have a great shoot.


I took this picture when getting ready to head out for the day.  I thought it was cute the way my kids were sitting waiting for me – however once I pulled the camera out they became uncooperative.  I went with it, let them be goofy and ended up getting a great picture!
I took the picture to the right during a family shoot – we decided to shoot in the reeds – because it looked like fun. 
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Paige Donahoe

Twisted Branch Photography

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School Photos!!

It is that time of year again! School Pictures are starting in but it also means that it is time to get you r own pictures done of the family, back to school, fall, etc.  In anticipation of the school portraits that my kids will get I wanted to get my own pictures of them - acting and looking natural and together! If you would like pictures that are a lot more personal than the traditional school picture, let's book a session.  Here are some of the pictures I took one afternoon of my kids.


All pictures count - even the goofy ones!
Along with the traditional school portrait, I will be hanging some of these photos in my house as well. 

Twisted Branch Photography

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gabrielle at 9 months

Baby Gabrielle has gotten older and cuter - here are some updated pics of her!  She is so fun to take pictures of. 

For more information on Twisted Branch Photography check out our website or Facebook page.  We do weddings, family photos, newborn photos, baby pictures, maternity pictures and more!  You can also contact us directly at!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Loretta and Eugene

My good friend Loretta got married recently and two of my other friends were photographing it and asked me to bring my gear and take a few to help out - I didn't capture everything since I was a guest and really wanted to party - but here are a few of the ones I did get - was a great time and I had a lot of fun!!! Congrats Loretta!  I just got a smugmug account I will be populating soon - but here is the link in the meantime!  Check out my webpage here!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bob and Stacey Get Hitched!

On August 13th 2011 I had the great pleasure of shooting a wedding with my good friend Paula!  Her friends were getting married and we went over to Trilogy Golf Course to photograph it.  Weddings are a special time and photographers always try to come up with unique photos, but when you throw in a bride and groom AND bridal party that are up for anything and have fun ideas of their own - it creates super fun memories!  Here are a few of the ones I captured:  Enjoy :)

JCPenny Catalog pose!

They are ready for the fall catalog!

Hurray  or something like that :) 

Runaway Groomsmen

Runaway Bride!

That's all folks!!  It was a truly fun filled day!  Check out my facebook page and my website for more information on little ole me.  Feel free to email me, I'd love to hear from you!