Google will give you a lot of tips for managing your family’s children in family photos. These include how to make them smile, what to do when they get upset, and how to get their attention to let loose and have fun. My family photo sessions are not about the children. Their maternal figure is my top priority.

Raising children is not easy. A family session is a chance for parents to be seen and, more importantly, feel amazing. Everyone deserves to be seen for the hard work they have put into their home. Particularly, I want mom to let go and allow me to capture the children’s faces, as well as the emotions, at this unique time in their lives.

Many families have hundreds, if not thousands, of photos of their children. My photos should show the parent’s best self. This does not mean that you have to be the most Photoshopped or skinny. Photographers who only focus on children are missing the opportunity to tell the story about a parent’s legacy.

These are three ways you can ensure that your family photos do justice to your loved ones:

  1. Be patient. A family session is a complex task. Before you click the shutter, make sure to take a moment to check that the mother looks great. When holding a child, make sure that their chin is down and their hips are away. Small adjustments can make a big difference.
  2. Throw out any family member who doesn’t appear emotive. It doesn’t matter if the child looks happy…hit the delete button! When I go through photos from my family session, I only print images that I feel emotionally connected to.
  3. Mom is the best person to blame when things go wrong. Sometimes photographers don’t want to photograph a child who is hurt or crying. But these are the moments where you can shine. My favorite photos of clients are those taken during difficult times in sessions when children are upset or run to their mothers for comfort. Parents want to document what they do each day, even if no one is around. This includes supporting their children emotionally, such as comforting them, kissing and comforting them.

Many parents are pushed to the side in family imagery, instead of focusing on their children. It is impossible to value and revere work that we don’t see, both on an individual and societal level. Focusing on parents during family photo sessions is a privilege that allows me to see the importance of their efforts in a way which can be a daily encouragement and lasts for generations.