Client Tips

Read This if Dad Isn’t Too Excited About Your Upcoming Family Photo Session

February 26, 2019

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I'm Helena!

A sunny gal from Cali living in the south of France. I adore slow living, magic, and celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I’m a self-proclaimed Disney nerd (as is my husband!), obsessed with cats and cocoa, and you can often find me swimming with the fishies in the salty sea. Come along and enjoy the magic, the simple joys of life with me...



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Here’s how 99% of my sessions begin:

mom finds my work, mom books the session, and mom prepares the family for portrait session day with my studio. And usually, 9 times of 10, dad is usually brought along sometimes because he really wants to be there but oftentimes it’s to make his wife and family happy. Now, this isn’t always the case. I’ve had tons of families where dad is so beyond excited to be part of the experience. And as a photographer, it’s my job to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy being part of the HW portrait experience. Since I notice that dads are usually more quiet and uncomfortable at family photo sessions, I decided to create a little guide to help dad relax on portrait day. For all the families that want to help your partner relax,

Here are three easy tips for helping your dad’s to relax during your family sessions!

Helena Woods Fairfield County Connecticut NYC Family Photographer Father's Day

Chat ’em up!

Okay, this sounds easy right? But it’s really important. I immediately start talking to Dad during my sessions. For example, I might ask him where he works or how his weekend was with the kids. I basically let him know I understand that this may not be his idea of a fun Saturday night but assure him it will be easy, quick, and stress-free.  Simply talking directly to Dad will allow him to realize that you are on his side and not just there for mom.

In the weeks leading up to the session, I recommend that moms share the style guide, blog posts and little details that our studio sends in our welcome packets to their partners. Sharing the details of the studio experience only helps get to know me, my team and how much we care about being your families go-to family photographer year after year. As a relationship-based portrait studio, I am in this niche field of family photography to share a connection with others, to document real life stories and create art around the themes of joy, childhood and family bonds. I don’t consider myself or my studio’s mission as a shoot-and-burn photography studio. Rather, it is an experience. Letting your partner in on these aspects, instead of it being a one-and-done photo shoot, I find helps get dads more excited for when the day finally arrives. 

Helena Woods Fairfield County Connecticut NYC Family Photographer Father's Day

Talk about your Expectations

I always tell my families at the beginning of my session to not look at me unless I directly tell them to. If you’re a mom reading this, tell your hubs that the entire focus on the session is going to be playing, interacting and loving on you and your kids. I often find that dads look stiff, serious and uncomfortable because they are trying to formally smile at my camera, but please don’t look at me. Look at your beautiful wife, chat with your kids while I’m quickly scoping out the light and quickly shooting away.This immediately helps dad to relax. My sessions are fast, and even when you book my studio’s more custom 90-minute Signature Session, poses are captured quickly and the time flies by. 

Helena Woods Fairfield County Connecticut NYC Family Photographer Father's Day


Encourage him to play

While I always manage to get a ton of traditional “Christmas card” images of your family, my favorite images are of those in motion. You and your family will feel so much more comfortable when you are doing something. Instead of smiling forcefully at my lens, throw your little one in the air, spin them around, tickle and whisper a secret in their ear. Grab your wife and tell her how beautiful she looks. Nuzzle her neck and forget that I’m there.  Chase your kids and sing to them, play peek-a-boo, blow some bubbles at them – be playful! And have fun. Act like you would if you were playing with your family in the living room and kiss your wife like you would at home.

My family and newborn portrait experience is not just a typical photo-shoot. While I love a few standard smile shots, I want you to play and joyfully spend time with your family while I’m capturing those precious timeless moments that you’ll treasure for years and years. I don’t require anything, but I do ask that you have fun, relax and enjoy a truly custom portrait experience.

Helena Woods Brooklyn Bridge Manhattan NYC Family Photographer Father's Day

I’m so excited to photograph you!

Dad and baby laughing smiling family photo session Connecticut


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I'm Helena, your new kindred spirit.

Sunny free-spirit, writer and creator in love with documenting the simple joys of life. I am passionate about noticing light and truth around me and reflecting it back to others.

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