When you have three younger kids, getting everyone on the same page for photos can be a little tough. I get it, and want family photos to be pain-free.
Julie and her family met me at Sellwood Park on a gorgeous evening a few days ago. Although the day had been sunny, as soon as I parked, cloud cover pulled in, hiding the golden glow I had aimed for. We walked into the park, and I scouted for a location that would provide enough ambient light but still showcase the tall trees and ridgeline of the park.
Once we started with photos, it took a few minutes for the children to warm up to me. Their older pup, who has cataracts and can't see very well, was more likely to putter around, rather than sit or stay still, so he had to be held for photos. We did some family walking shots, and then I prompted the kids to play a little bit. Using prompts like, "Everyone hug dad!" and "Who has the stinkiest morning breath?" gets families more comfortable, and creates genuine interaction.
After a handful of photos, each of the kids had suggestions for a next shot to try, and we ended up being silly in the grass to end the session. Everyone had a good time, including the pup.
Finally, the "goofy" family photo: