It’s that time of year for family photos, to get a shot for the family Christmas card (how many of you still send them?), to updated the family photo, to give as gifts to grandparents. I’m a professional photographer, and it can even get me stressed out at times! Whether it’s finding the right photographer, figuring out what to wear, worrying about the kids behavior… I’m here to help and give you some tips on how to avoid these situations!1) Finding the right photographer: this will vary for everyone. Sometimes the “right” photographer is the one with the best set-up, the one with the cheapest price, the one you’ve gone to for years. Keep a few things in mind…
- Are you going to be using these photos only for Christmas cards? If the answer is no, you may not want a highly-themed session that you won’t be able to hang on your walls year-round.
- If you’re looking for a budget photographer- you’re still spending your hard-earned money, so make sure to look at their Facebook page and/or website and make sure their images are consistent and what you’re looking for.
- Make sure the photographers style is one you like and will want to display in your home- is their style consistent with the feel and colors of your home? If not, you may want to look for someone that more closely matches the style of your home, so the image don’t look out of place on your walls. This is also a good reason to stick with the same photographer- to achieve a consistent look.
2) Planning your wardrobe: I like to start looking for outfit inspiration about a month before our family photos. Most photographers announce sessions around August/September for Fall and October for the holidays.
- Make a Pinterest Board. I do this every year. As I’m perusing Pinterest, I will pin stuff that I like to this board, as well as when I’m shopping online. I will post family wardrobe images for inspiration, etc. Pinterest is a gold mine for inspiration on how to piece together a family wardrobe!
- Utilize your photographer. Each photographer knows what looks good with their editing style, as well as what looks good on camera. At CWP, we have a studio wardrobe that mamas and kiddos can pull from. This can make it a bit easier to figure things out; or have somewhere to start! If your photographer doesn’t have a studio wardrobe, ask them for help on what to wear!
- Start with one main piece. Typically, there is a piece that you can build your families wardrobe around. It usually ends up being mom’s outfit, or one of the girls in the family (if there are any). That makes it easy to build off of one piece for other colors and textures.
- Stay away from bold graphics and logos.
- Pattern mixing, adding layers and texture can add a lot of interest to a photo, when done right. If you’re not sure if what you’ve got going on will work- ask your photographer, or search online for some direction.
3) Your session: this can be the most stressful part of the whole thing! Getting the kids ready and loaded, making sure your husband isn’t grumpy and is happy to spend his weekend cheesing for the camera, all while trying to get yourself looking your best; is difficult. Here are some pointers:
- Dress the kids when you get there. Not only will this avoid wrinkles, spit-up, spills, etc. It will also probably keep the kids in better spirits. Most kids don’t like uncomfortable clothes or hair accessories, and we tend to dress them to the nines for family portraits. So, I leave my kiddos in their comfy clothes, plan to get to the shoot 10 minutes early and dress them there!
- Pack lots of snacks- for the kids + Dad, too! Nobody likes being hangry, and you can use them for bribery, too.
- Make sure to bring comfort items for little ones, and favorite toys for older kids. It can help keep them feeling safe, provide as a distraction; or as an attention-grabber to look at the camera.
- Have FUN! The best images are the ones where you are enjoying each other and not looking at the camera, making everyone show their best smile. That’s not real life. Real life is connecting and interacting with your family. A good smiling one is always nice too; but leave that up to the photographer. We all have tricks up our sleeves to get that one cheese-ing photo for grandma!
Hopefully these pointers help make it easier, and less stressful when planning for your photos this year! Happy weekend, friends!
And thank you to my sweet friend Katy at Katheryn Jeanne Photography for these beautiful family photos!