Does anyone else remember the days when having family portraits taken meant getting dressed in the exact same outfit as all of your siblings and heading over to the local JC Penny for 15 minutes of shots in their studio? Now we’ve ditched the matching outfits and the studio for the great outdoors and natural light. While it’s easy to see the benefits of these changes in image quality, there is often an increased amount of stress before (and even during) the session. Today I’m sharing three tips to help you prepare for family portraits and to make your session enjoyable for everyone!
This seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve all felt that last minute rush as we frantically search for a lost shoe or earring. Often, people spend so much time planning the outfit that they forget about accessories. Take out that necklace and make sure it does indeed match. Bring out that tie and look for stains. Pull out the dress shoes that your son wears twice a year and make sure they still fit. It’s the little things like scuffs on shoes and belts that don’t buckle that make people frantic on the day of photos.
So even though it sounds basic, take out and try on the ENTIRE outfit (including accessories) at least once before the day of your photos. I recommend doing this one week in advance so that you have time to replace, repair, or clean anything that isn’t up to snuff.
The best times to take photos are just after sunrise and just before sunset because this is when the light is softest and most flattering. This means that portraits often interrupt important meals, and while the lighting may be great, your mood often isn’t. It can be uncomfortable sitting for portraits with a photographer you may have just met, and being hungry only makes it worse. This is especially true for children who often have a short attention span or don’t want to sit still to begin with!
So make sure that you feed yourself and your family before your session! Pro tip: Wait to get dressed until after said meal is finished to avoid stains!
I cannot stress this one enough! First, planning that extra time gives you some wiggle room if you get stuck in traffic or get lost. Every minute that you’re late is a minute of sunlight lost and, therefore, a minute less shooting time. Second, those extra 15 minutes are time that I can use to get to know your family (especially the kids) better. This allows everyone to feel more at ease when we start shooting. Third, this allows time for everyone to relax before the session. Having your photos taken is not something that most people do every day and it can be stressful. Getting there early allows me to step in, reassure you, and help you feel at ease before we get started.