top of page

How to get dads on board for a family photoshoot

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

Dad catching daughter as she jumps of a rock during a Dunedin family photography session

They're a big part of family life but, sometimes, dads can be reluctant participants in family photoshoots.

That is, of course, until they see pictures of themselves being exactly what they are - awesome dads. Then they might even admit that actually this whole photoshoot thing was kinda fun!

If you need to get the dad in your life on board, here's a few tips to help get dad excited about the idea of having photos taken.

Dad and son look out the window of dad's fishing shack to the harbour during a Dunedin family photoshoot

Go to a place he loves

Whether it’s the beach, their fishing shed or just hanging at home, think about having part or all of your shoot in an environment they are super-comfortable with.

People tend to get a bit hung up on locations, but really, great family photographs are all about you and your loved ones and the expressions and interactions between you all.

As a photographer I'm much more focused on finding the most beautiful light than I am on finding a beautiful location.

In fact, give me a wild, overgrown patch of long grass and I am in heaven!

Family photograph on the beach

Let him be himself

If the man in your life really isn’t a dressing-up kind-of a guy, then don’t force him to do it. Lifestyle photography is all about capturing your family the way they are and the imperfect is always where the real moments are.

Imagine yourself in 10 years time looking through an album of these photos. Is dad wearing that favourite t-shirt, that he refused to give up until it was more holes than t-shirt?

It's likely that is going to make you smile and bring back more memories than if he’s wearing that dressy shirt you actually only saw him in twice?

For many people wearing clothes they are comfortable in makes a big difference in helping them to relax.

Dad throwing daughter up in the air during a family photoshoot with Dunedin photographer Edith Leigh

Let him know it's going to be fun!

If dad loves rough-and-tumble, playing on the trampoline or reading stories to the kids, then plan these activities into your session.

They don’t need to consume the whole shoot, but starting out with a fun activity is a great way to get everybody relaxed, laughing and in the mood. You might all even forget that you’re having a photoshoot!

These kind of action shots really tell your story as a family and can often end up being the photographs you love the most.

Dad and daughter hugging and laughing in a Dunedin family photoshoot

Tell him this is presents sorted for the next year

When you ask grandma and granddad what they want for their birthday don’t they always say ‘just my family here to celebrate with me’?

As we get older we appreciate this sentiment more and more, but we still like to give a gift don’t we!

Photographs of your family – whether a beautiful framed picture or an album – are a gift that keeps on giving for many years. While it’s not quite the same as being there, it will uplift their hearts every time they look at it.

Tell him you want to be in the picture too

You may have to gently point this one out, but it's often (although not always) mum who is the one behind the camera recording family life which means she isn’t often in the photos.

It's so important that mum is in the pictures too!

Never forget that one day your kids are going to go looking for pictures of both or either one of you so you want to make sure there's some for them to find.

Have a look back through all your family pictures and you may be a little shocked at how little one you appears!

It sounds counter-intuitive, but every mum knows that reverse psychology works right? If he thinks it's actually all about you, then he can feel like the heat's off him and he can relax a bit.

bottom of page