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A family photo is such an amazing thing to have hanging on our walls or gracing the fridges of family and friends at the holidays. While these sessions are an opportunity to capture amazing seasons in our lives, they can be stressful or overwhelming to plan. This is usually because we aren’t sure how to choose the clothing or can’t figure out the right location. Use these five tips to help put together an amazing family photo session that you will look back at and enjoy for many years.
Choose Your Photographer Wisely
When you peruse the portfolios of photographers you are considering, take note of their style. All photographers have a particular style through which they capture the world. This has to do with how they position their subjects in photos as well as how they edit. Some are great at telling a story while others are great at capturing the personalities of those they photograph. Some edit to provide bright and airy pictures while others produce darker, more mysterious images. Be sure to understand the perspective your photographer is coming from with their style and don’t expect that to change for your session. Part of choosing a photographer is accepting their art and being willing to see your family through their perspective.
Coordinate, Don’t Match
Choosing outfits for your family photo shoot can be one of the most daunting tasks. Some decide to go with the white t shirts and jeans, or all the boys in one shirt and all the girls in another. You’ve all seen these photos hanging down the hall of a family you’ve visited. Or maybe you are that family. Time for something different! The current trend is to coordinate your outfits but not attempt to match perfectly. Also, consider choosing neutrals as the base of your outfit coordination, which gives you a much better chance of continuing to admire your photos a decade down the road instead of feeling like your look is totally out of style within a couple years.
Location, Location, Location
Much like choosing your photographer based on their style, you have to think about what you want the overall look of your photos to be. Location will greatly impact this! Are you a super casual family who would love to take your photos outside in a natural environment? Would you prefer to stay home and have your bedrooms or family room as the backdrop of your session?
Also, consider the purpose for which you are taking the photos. Are they for a holiday card, are they for some sort of announcement or will you be hanging these photos in your home? Taking into account what you want to do with the pictures could help you choose the right location.
I remember walking away from one family photo session and being so disappointed to realize that I had not made sure to get one photo with all of the kids together. and was so bummed! I did have pictures of them as individuals, but would have adored pics of them being goofy or snuggled up together. So, I was more prepared for our next opportunity a couple years later. After being encouraged to do so, I e mailed the photographer a short list of pictures I was hoping to make sure we tried to get. She was so happy to do this for us and did a great job remembering what I was looking for. This was not an overwhelming list that would have stopped the photographer from having freedom. I also always want the photographer to use their skill and art to capture our family as they believe would be beautiful.
The requests I sent to the photographer were:
- Our whole family
- My husband and I together
- Our four kids together
- All of the kids with each parent
- Me with the each child individually
- My husband with each child individually
- All the girls together
- All the boys together
The photographer I was working with assured me that this list was manageable and even though not every photo she captured from my requests turned out to be one I loved, I was glad we had gotten them.
Don’t Over Prep The Kids
Family photographers have plenty of experience with young children and have tricks up their sleeve in order to deal with them. When we overload our kids with strict rules and demand forced smiles, it can make the photographers job of capturing their personalities more difficult. Bribery can also wear off and leave kids grumpy. So, consider just letting your little kids be captured for who they are and in their current season…which may not elicit the perfectly posed picture, but there are many years ahead for that.
There ya go! Use these tips to keep in mind the most important factors of planning a family photo session! I’m sure they will turn out great and be a priceless family memory.
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