Let’s face it… family photo sessions can be challenging… for not only the family, but sometimes the photographer as well.
So below you will find some tips that can help you and your family to achieve a successful photo shoot
1. Choose clothing carefully.
I cant say that often enough. Clothing plays such a important role on your images!!
Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. What do your dream family photos look like? If they are soft and elegant? Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents. Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images. Avoid: Graphics, uncoordinated prints, neon colors, tight clothes and oversize clothes. Find below my pinterest board for what to wear to in home lifestyle sessions What to wear for in home lifestyle and What to wear for Spring/Summer photo shoot .
Moms are usually self conscious about their appearance and as a rule of thumb women in general for any body type cant go wrong wearing a flowing dress.
Cell phones in the pockets
Watches and hair ties on the wrist
Avoid any hair accessories that does not stay still in the hair and/or it bothers the child.
For women: make sure to cover the bra strap, if it doesn't get covered wear strapless bra.
Avoid tan lines
Avoid changing hair style/color before the session days before the session
If the child is still in diapers make sure the outfit covers it.
Still not sure what to wear. Share your thoughts with your photographer.
2. Be well rested and well fed.
Specially for little kids!
Be certain not to schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime. The best time for lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise. If this is a bad time for your children, talk with your photographer. Good photographers will be able to shoot at any time of day by utilizing areas of open shade that will give your skin a beautiful hue and put a sparkle in your eyes. Or if you just love the golden hour (sunrise and sunset) put your kids to nap earlier in the day.
For parents with kids and teenagers. Dont schedule your photo shoot after sports activities because your child will be tired and cranky.
Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach. Very often my clients come to a photo shoot with dinner plans after the shoot as a reward, which is OK, although bring snacks and water ideally NO MESSY snacks.
If your child is sick, RESCHEDULE. Your photographer should be able to reschedule at no additional cost.
Dont make arrangements with family and friends after the photoshoot. Most of the photo shoots last between 30 min to 1h:30min (depending on the type pf the session) although the unexpected could happen and the photo shoot might take a little longer causing a stressful situation
The bottom line is: The day of the photo shoot is not a regular day. Plan well, be prepared, be organized.
3. Don't be late or too early
Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door. Additionally if your photo shoot is scheduled around sunset or sunrise its imperative that you are on time because on these circumstances light is crucial!
In the other hand, get to the photo shoot location too early is also recipe for disaster. Kids wont sit in the car for too long and what usually happens is that the parents let the kids out of the car. By the time the photographer gets there usually the kids are dirty, sweaty and had enough of the place. You want to keep the kids curious about the location, let the photographer capture your kids exploring the place, it yields nice candid shots.
4. Dads, please cheerfully participate
Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.
5. Cheese is for crackers.
Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
6. Have fun with your family.
Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show your photographer who you really are, so that she has the opportunity to capture your love through her lens.
7. Plan an activity that you enjoy doing together as a family.
My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Is your favorite dessert ice cream? Bring some ice cream bars or drumsticks to your session or better yet… hire an ice cream truck to come to your session. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
8. NOT everyone has to be looking and smiling at the camera at the same time.
The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.