Creating an experience for your clients during a family session can be a little bit challenging, and at times, somewhat akward. I want my clients to walk away from our session not only excited about their photos, but also with pleasant memories of those hours spent together with their family.
I focus my sessions on getting the family to interact with each other, not me. I want them to talk and laugh with each other. That creates natural interactions and connections which I love to capture for them.
The main way I facilitate this is through a series of questions I have memorized. I ask them to the group as whole, sometimes I direct them at one person and sometimes the questions spark a conversation between two people.
Here are some questions I use:
1. What is the best thing to di together as a family?
2. Where is your favorite place to go together?
3. Who is the silliest?
4. Who gives the best hugs?
5. What is your favorite memory together?
6. What was the best vacation you took?
7. What is your favorite book to read together?
8. If you could do anything together, what would it be?
9. If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
10. What is the best thing about your Mom?
11. What is your favorite thing to do with your Dad?
12. What is the best thing to do with your brother/sister?
13. What is the best thing about having your brother/sister?
14. What is the best meal your Mom makes? Your Dad makes?
15. What do you want to be when you grow up?
16. What is the funniest thing your Dad does?
17. What is the prettiest thing about your Mom?
18. How do you know your Mom loves you?
19. How do you show your Dad you love him?
20. Show me how you show your brother you love him. (these boys were serious about this question!)
21. Where is the best place to go in your car?
22. What is the funniest thing your brother/sister ever did?
23. What is your favorite game to play with brother/sister? Mom/Dad?
24. What is your brother/sisters favorite toy?
25. What is your favorite holiday to spend with your family?
26. If you had $100, what would you do with it?
27. What is the best present your Mom/Dad ever got you?
28. What is the best present you got them?
29. What is your favorite TV to watch with your family?
30. What does your Mom/Dad do to make you laugh?
Watch them get excited about the answer. They will all try to answer at once, they will look at each other when the memory is sparked and they will smile while they reminisce. Obviously certain questions will spark a connection between just two of them (Mom/child, sibling/sibling).
You get so much mileage out of one or two poses when you are throwing questions out there which alter the behavior of your clients.
In addition to how it benefits you as the photographer, watch what it does for that family! I’ve had parents say to me they learned so much about their children and what makes them happy! That is an amazing thing to provide your clients.
Question to older boy: “What is the best thing about your Mom?” Answer: “Her hairbrush!!!”
Go the extra mile
Wait! There is still more you can do with those questions. I like to provide my clients with more than I promise. I believe in going the extra mile. So, I memorize the answers to the questions. As soon as I get to the car from the session, I jot the answers down.
I then order 4×6’s from my lab of the best shots from the session (I only offer digital photos in my package-so they are not expecting any prints at all) and I place labels on the back of each photo that includes one of the questions I asked and the answer from the family member. It is always a welcome surprise and one of the reasons I believe I’ve been rebooked and referred.
Tell us in the comments: How do you create an experience and go the extra mile in your family sessions?