It’s September and the kids are back in school. So naturally it’s time to book a photographer and get to planning the perfect family picture for your holiday card. Don’t know where to start? Here’s your guide to getting picture perfect family photos.
Tips on Choosing a Photographer
I honestly believe that any photo session where kids are involved is best when it is short and sweet. That’s why I LOVE the concept of the mini-photo session. A mini-session is usually a 15, 20, or even 30 minute shoot with a photographer. Photographers like to do them because they can book multiple clients back-to-back on a single day and see many more clients than time on a weekend would normally allow.
Mini photo sessions are also beneficial for you. First, the sitting fee is usually way less expensive. Second, regardless of whether our photo session is 15 minutes or 2 hours all of our best photos are usually taken in the first five minutes. The kids are fresh, they are usually motivated by whatever treat they’ve been promised, and they can usually only handle about 15 minutes of photographer antics. The longer the session goes, the more the smiles are forced, and then you’re not gonna like the picture anyway.
I also generally look for a photographer that will throw in at least a few digital images in the sitting fee. I don’t want to have a houseful of images from the same day like it’s my wedding so I’m generally just looking for the best 3 or 4 pictures from the session that I can use for photo albums, wall prints, and photo frames.
5 Tips For Choosing What to Wear
Once you have your photographer booked and the date is looming you might be growing anxious about what everyone is going to wear. I always get a little anxious about that too. Family photos are a big investment and I want to make sure we get a good result. The more people you have, the more complicated it gets. Here are a few suggestions on choosing outfits for the perfect family photo session.
- Start with an idea of the overall look with your family’s personality in mind. I’ve seen a good variety of family pictures on holiday cards over the years and the photos that capture my attention are where everyone looks genuinely comfortable in what they are wearing. While we generally like to dress up a little for these photos, if your crew is not going to be comfortable in their Sunday best, skip it. Jeans and tees can look great too. Don’t be afraid to wear distressed jeans, leather jackets, or a favorite pair of rain boots if that captures you or your kids’ typical look. The goal is to capture an image of your family the way you are right now.
- Choose a color scheme and skip the matchy-matchy outfits. You want your outfits to be coordinated, of course, so the overall image is pleasing to the eye but you also want the image to be interesting. Everyone wearing chambray shirts and khakis is just not interesting. I’ve done it before too, it’s okay. An exception to this rule might be if you are coordinating the outfits for 20 different people. But unless you’re the Duggar family, you probably are not going to have this problem.
- Pick a focal point. Unless you have your heart set on a particular outfit for you or someone in your family, I usually start by choosing an outfit for my daughter. Women and girls’ sections of stores offer a lot more variety than men and boys sections. I usually choose the first item that catches my eye. Avoid big prints and logos. They just don’t photograph well.
- Select complimentary colors for other members of the family. I like to go to a store like J.Crew, Gap, or Old Navy that offers clothing for every member of the family and caters to all ages. If you walk into those stores at any given time you will notice similar color palettes repeated throughout every section of the store. That makes it so much easier to dress the whole family in a complimentary color scheme. If you have no idea where to start, look at the colors in the first outfit you’ve chosen. Dress the others in one or two of these colors.
- Don’t forget the shoes! I’ve arrived at many photo shoots and realized that my kids ran out of the house wearing their sneakers and not the shoes I’ve carefully chosen to coordinate with their outfit. The most important thing is to keep calm and not lose your cool because you definitely don’t want to ruin the photo shoot before it even starts. But here’s a tip from a mom who’s been to the rodeo before, collect the shoes you want your kids to wear in advance, put them in a bag in the car, and bring them to the photo shoot with you. Throw in a bag of gummy bears and you should be golden.
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