• Ashley Shaw

Let's Talk Expectations | Hey Ashley Shaw



We've all been there. The stress of preparing for a photo shoot can be so high. What outfits will we wear? Am I seriously breaking out? My child refused to nap the day of our family pictures. There is always some unexpected event that happens right before a photo shoot. Always. Without fail. So what can you do to still guarantee you don't leave your photo session feeling like "Why did I just subject myself to that?"


Here's my top 5 tips to managing expectations for your photoshoot (families, engagements, even weddings)

  1. Plan for the Worst. Okay hear me out. That probably sounds like such a negative way to prepare but really if you plan for the worst, you have nowhere to go but up. Plan for a wardrobe failure by having a backup outfit. Plan for your child not napping that day by leaving early for the photoshoot because you just know they are going to fall asleep in the car now. Plan for the best man being drunk during toasts by capping the alcohol until after toasts are allowed. Think of things that you're most nervous about happening and then come up with a back up plan.

  2. Make sure your photographer gets it. Whether you have a mini session or a ten hour wedding, take the time to get to know your photographer. Help them understand what reality will probably look like with you, your kids, your wedding party, whatever it might be. Ask them about how they handle kiddos that won't stop screaming or the father of the groom that never wants his picture taken. Make sure that both of your expectations are on the same page and that you both know that you have a game plan. If your photographer tells you that you will only receive good images if your children are all perfect angels...time to say goodbye.

  3. Don't Expect Picture Perfect. This goes against everything I think when preparing for my own family pictures each year so I one hundred percent understand this one seeming to be impossible. However I will say that the times I can get my head space to the point where I recognize that in no world will my 10,8,5 and 3 year old ever be looking at the camera at the exact same time with perfect smiles. So what? Skip pictures completely? No way. My absolute favorite images that I've captured in any photo shoot are the ones where there is a level of interaction. Real emotion. Real memories. The images you can look back on and laugh at or even cry at. The ones that make you remember the time they were captured. The ones that represent what your life in that moment was truly like.

  4. Plan Time for Needed Breaks. All you other parents out there know that some children can't just snap out of things. In those cases where that child (or let's be honest the groom) is just hating their life during pictures, I like to step back. Let's take five minutes and just breathe because honestly unless you're a model, it's stressful having some random person in your face with a camera. If you've booked an hour long family session, a 5-10 minute break between the session when you're kiddo has just had it, will be better in the long run and will result in better images. Every.Single.Time. (<--confident much? why yes I am.)


  1. Bring Food. Alright. I'm thinking that I should have put this one first but seriously. If you're driving to your family session and you realize you forgot snacks, please grab some. Turn back home, stop into a Walgreens, go through a drive through. Whatever. Be five minutes late to your session, your photographer will survive. But honestly what human being is not happier when they have snacks? This 100% applies to wedding also. Keep everyone fed and hydrated and we'll all have a much better time.


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