Family sessions are done about once a year at least! Whether you are taking portraits to update the pictures on the wall, or maybe you are already thinking what’s going to go on your Christmas card, here are some tips to help you prepare!
Make sure that your choices are comfortable, especially for the kids, and attractive. If you are looking for the soft and elegant look, choose neutral colors such as creams, soft pastels, tans, grays, or slate blues. Think soft and flowy. If you are wanting bright and spunky for family photos, then choose coordinating colors. However, don’t get TOO “matchy”. Come up with bold accent colors for accessories. A nice yellow or red accented scarf, headband, or hat added to a nice hue gray outfit can give a nice modern twist to your photos. Choose your clothing pretty far out in advance. Decide what look you want for the session. That’s going to be key to what you wear. Do you want to look like a close knit mafia family or an urban downtown living family? Make sure to express your vision ahead of time to your photographer, so that you make the best out of your session.
2. Be well rested and fed
I can’t stress this enough, especially for a large family with children, schedule your session around nap time. I do like shooting in the early morning. I, personally, love that time more than than the golden hour that gives us just a few good shots. I’d rather have it all the way around. However, most photographers would rather get a happy child in your session to create those memories for you. A good photographer can work with most lighting. Whatever you do, don’t show up to a photography session on an empty stomach. Being hungry makes everyone cranky, sometimes even grown men. 😉
3. Leave early and arrive early
There’s nothing like paying for an hour of a session to only show up and have to waste 20 minutes of your paid session because you aren’t prepared and ready. Also sometimes if you don’t know the area and are not sure of where you are meeting your photographer, I always tell people to arrive 15 minutes early just to find me. That’s also being respectful of the photographer’s time as well. Usually most photographers, like myself, will start the hour you paid for at the time you reserved. This has to be the case, especially if they have another session booked after you. Plus, if family members feel rushed that sets the tone for the rest of the session. Leaving early and arriving early is something I must encourage for all my sessions.
4. Ask the Dads to cheerfully participate
As a photographer, we see this all the time. A lot of dads dread a family photo session. Please know that it is important to capture these moments for your family. These images will be your legacy for your children when you are gone, when they have their own families someday. So please dad, please participate cheerfully. Happy wife is a happy life! Once you see the amazing portraits, you’ll be thankful you did a portrait session.
5. Have fun with your family
The best moments can be when a husband is giving his wife a kiss or when a dad is lifting his son in the air. These always end up being some of my favorite portraits. Kiss, snuggle, play, giggle – interaction with one another really can make some exquisite portraits. If you wanted to be really creative, you could think of something you all like to do together. Do you play board games? Let’s set it up and capture it. Do you all like to read together? Bring books! Understand that not all of your portraits have to be you looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged in one another, your smile will be so natural and you’ll truly be creating a memory, and most likely cherishing these moments the most.