Family photo sessions are a time-honored tradition. Whether you go in for snapshots to put on your holiday cards, you want to commemorate a special event, or you’re simply looking to chronicle another year in the life of your family, professional photo sessions can offer you all the elements needed to get the perfect shot, including backdrops, illumination, and best of all, a professional photographer. If you want to ensure that you come out of the experience satisfied, however, there are a few guidelines you should follow. Here are some dos and don’ts to consider that should ensure your session goes off without a hitch.
1. Coordinate outfits. It’s nice that your kids have the confidence and independence to choose their own ensembles, but unless you want Suzy’s purple dress to clash with Billy’s orange monster truck t-shirt, you might want to take this opportunity to select everyone’s outfits for the photo session. The easiest way to get a cohesive look is to pick a solid color. From there let everyone wear their own style and hue – it will simply create a cohesive palette.
2. Prep the kids. Whether you’re working with small children that are prone to fussiness and inattention or you’ve got surly teens on your hands, you’re going to have to prep the kids if you want them to play along and produce some beautiful family photos. Small children should be well-rested and fed beforehand so they’re not cranky during the shoot. As for teens, you might have to tempt them with a treat following the photo session to gain their cooperation. Preparedness is the key to a successful photo session.
3. Consider location. It’s probably easiest to take photos in a formal, studio setting. But if you want something more natural or candid, talk to your photographer about setting up a location shoot or even doing it at your own home.
1. Get too matchy-matchy. There’s a big difference between having everyone wear white or red and making your whole family dress in matching plaids or holiday sweaters. Whereas coordinating by color will make sure that no one stands out like a sore thumb, going with identical wardrobe items could make for some awkward and unnatural family photos.
2. Plan for complex set-ups. Kids are only so patient. They don’t want to hold still for very long, they don’t want to pose, and they’re going to get antsy and upset if your photo session is too demanding or takes very long. So it’s best to put some time into planning the shots and set-ups you want beforehand so that you can breeze through your session.
3. Make plans without consulting your photographer. There are all kinds of family photo tips that are sure to make your experience more enjoyable and productive, but one that you shouldn’t ignore is keeping your photographer in the loop. Any experienced pro from a studio should be able to roll with the punches to some extent, but the more you prepare your photographer for what you have in mind, the better able he/she will be to comply with your requests, or alternately, let you know what’s possible so that you aren’t disappointed during your family photo session.