Tuesday, October 18, 2016

7 Tips For Photo Sessions

Taking family portraits are so exciting for me! They not only mark another year together but they help document the amazing growth of our little family! I must admit, there is something so extraordinary about seeing the joy and love of our family captured in time!

But, I know for many families, figuring out what to wear for their family portraits is the most stressful part of the whole event. Keep reading to find out 7 tips that are sure to help you plan & maximize your upcoming photo session!

1. Take time to make a plan. The first thing I do when I want to take family portraits is decide what look & feel I want the pictures to evoke. Do you want a modern, classic or simplistic look? Do you want to be more relaxed and casual or dressy & sophisticated? 

There are no right or wrong answers, it's all about finding what your family prefers & what style they feel most comfortable in. I usually lean towards a more dressed up look, so I go for clothes that we would typically wear to church & are timeless.  But if your family detests getting dressed up, then don't force them into it, I promise it will be more enjoyable for all parties if you opt for a more casual look instead. 
2. Know your venue. Wether you're taking your pictures in your home or on location, it's always important to know what backgrounds you will be shooting against {so that your outfit choices don't blend-in to the surroundings}. Will you be taking pictures somewhere industrial, urban or out in nature? Asking yourself these questions well in advance will help ensure that what you choose to wear fits in well with your setting & lets you stand out in a good way! 
3. Simple is usually best. That means no logos, busy patterns, or large graphics. For family pictures, it usually helps to have complementary colors, so picking a color scheme you like works best. I would say 2-3 main colors and then adding a pop of color here & there looks really good in photos. If you’re planning on hanging the pictures in your home, you might find inspiration there.  What colors do you decorate with? Do you like bright colors or neutrals? What colors make you feel good? The answers you come up with should give you a good starting point to build off of!
4. To match or not to match? That is the question! I personally love my little ones matching, I think it's totally cute! But it doesn't work to have every single person in a family wear the same exact thing. I find, having a print or two & a few different colors will really help to give your photos character & depth. I always like to see a little pattern in the clothes we choose for photos, but too much can ruin the look all together.
5. Let their personalities shine. Each person in your family has a personality all their own, so let them express it! You want your outfits to reflect your personality as a family but also individually! This is a great time to let them accessorize {with necklaces, hats, scarves, hair bows, etc.}. It's like the finishing touch that helps tie in a look. This is always the last thing I ask my girls before we leave the house {but more often then not the answer is usually "no"}. Which is fine! You want your pictures to be a true depiction of your precious family!
6. Keep it short & sweet. One of the best tricks, I've learned over the years is to keep photo sessions short & fun. This is where all your planning is going to pay off {hopefully}, because if you know what poses & shots you want ahead of time you can let everyone know the game plan and they can wrap their minds around the "checklist" & better execute them. Also, during your shoot you want to try & make everyone feel as comfortable as possible, because not everyone will know what to do when they're put in front of a camera/photographer. So, just be extra aware of this and if you see anyone tensing up or feeling shy, switch things up and do silly poses to loosen them up {this is especially great for kids}!
But just remember, kids might not always do what we want them to and that is okay! They do not have to be looking directly at the camera and smiling for every pose. Some children instantly put on a huge unnatural grin when they are told to “say cheese” so, sometimes it’s better to simply do something that makes them smile or laugh. Genuine smiles are the best smiles! Plus, you might end up getting a photograph that you absolutely love because it's so dang silly {like the image below, where our youngest is doing peek-a-boo but looks like she doesn't know what the heck is going on :D}.  
I find there is truly an art to making everyone feel at ease, but the more you do it the easier it gets {I suppose just like everything else in life}! So, remember the best way to capture the love & personality your family has is by staying relaxed and having a good time creating such wonderful memories together! 
7. Come rested & fed but bring reinforcements just in case. We all know we can't control every single element of our photo shoots, but it helps to come prepared with a good nights rest and everyone's belly's full {plus a few well aimed treats rewards}. Having a few things to incentivize your kiddos will make your session go by so much smoother!