Family photo session. The three words that can strike fear in a father’s heart and make moms want to assume fetal position in the corner. Choosing a photographer, coordinating outfits, bribing the children to look at the camera and make some semblance of a smile for just one family photo!
If you didn’t drink before hand, planning a family photo session can be enough to make you take it up as a hobby. But let me fill you in on a little secret… planning your family photo session does not have to be the stress filled experience that you might be familiar with. In fact, it can even be, dare I say it… fun!
Here are a few tips for taking the stress out of your upcoming family photo session.
Choose the right photographer for you.
I really want to emphasize the “for you” portion of that statement! Like most everything in life, choosing a family photographer is not a one size fits all deal. There will be photographers who are more suited to working with your family. Selecting the right photographer can take so much of the stress out of the entire process. I suggest starting with writing down what you are looking for in your family photo session.
- What kind of photos are you looking for- only candid, only posed, or a mix of both?
- What style of photography fits best with your personal style and home décor? Do you lean more towards the bright and airy photos or the more dark or moody styles? Do you want someone who primarily gives black and white images? Do you want muted colors?
- What ages are your children and does the photographer you are looking at hiring work with those ages often?
After you know what you want in your family photo session, you can sit down to search for a photographer who fits your criteria. I am a family photographer who also teaches preschool, so young children make my heart happy. My style is bright and fresh, which definitely does not bode well with those looking for darker, richer tones. And as much as I love to include candid images in my client gallery, I am a firm believer in the importance of a flattering, traditionally posed portrait of the entire family and each family member, so my clients get a little bit of both. By knowing these things about me, potential clients can decide if I am the right fit for them. If so, great! But if not, I really truly hope a potential client would move along and find someone who fits with the style they love.
Don’t stress over the clothes!
- I know, I know, this is so much easier said than done, but let’s think about why you are looking to have a family portrait session. I would imagine you are looking to capture your beautiful family at this specific stage of life, before time rushes on and your little people grow up even more than they already have. If that is what is motivating you to do family pictures, then the clothing does not matter at all! That being said, I do have a couple of quick tips I can share to help in this area!
- I suggest avoiding the matchy, matchy, everyone in the same colored tops and bottoms. This can create problems seeing where one person ends and the next begins!
- Coordinate! Pick 3-4 colors you know will work together, then choose different combinations of these colors for each person. Maybe mom wears pale pink and navy blue, dad wears navy blue and tan, daughter wears a pale pink dress and the baby wears tan and pink.
- When in doubt, neutrals and pastels are your friend! They will not create funny color casts on skin and will let the focus remain on you and your gorgeous family.
- Consider looking for a photographer who offers style assistance. There are a lot of photographers who send style guides to their clients or offer blog posts or other educational materials to help you look your best on picture day.
Let the photographer handle the kids and husband!
- If you followed my first hint and hire a photographer who is comfortable with a family dynamic like yours, you should be able to just sit back and enjoy the session! Let your photographer help your husband and children become comfortable and provide direction for posing. Most professional photographers have a fair amount of experience and training in posing and client interaction, geared at helping them make everyone feel good and look their best. Let your photographer call your kiddos attention to the camera, let him or her joke with your husband to loosen him up. Your job is to relax, smile at the camera, and enjoy your family photo session.
There is so much more that I could say on this topic. After sharing these hints, I feel a “what to wear” type of post coming soon! But for now, drop any questions in the comment section and I’ll check in and answer any that I can!
Happy family photo session season to you all! I hope you get the beautiful family portraits you are dreaming of!
* All photos in this post are courtesy of Claire Waite Photography.
Are you looking for a photographer? Take a peek at our West Valley Photographers Guide to find one!