Here are 6 helpful tips to help you achieve AWESOME family photos! I will be sharing ideas on locations, outfits, props, how to keep it real, and go with the flow when all hell breaks loose! These 6 steps will help you wrap your mind around what to be prepared for and how to get that perfect photo for the family holiday card! I recently ordered some family holiday cards through Tiny Prints and I can’t wait to get them in the mail. The Tiny Prints website is easy to use and allows you to customize everything! They are a premiere stationary website that offers exclusive designs for stylish party invitations, thank you cards, holiday greetings and more!
Coordinating outfits for a family can be a daunting task! Where do you even start? Do you go with the khaki pants and white tops? Men in polos, women in sundresses? Or do you have some fun with it? — Word from the wise, have some fun with it! The trick is to not be TOO matchy matchy. Plan on a color combination of two or three shades, but no more than two or three or you start to look like a bag of skittles. Think of combinations like grey and yellow, baby blue and navy, terracotta and brown…etc. Use these color combinations to plan your wardrobe. The key is your outfit should have shades of your chosen colors in them…without being too overwhelming. I would suggest staying away from plain white tops as they can cause awkward reflections in different lighting situations. Keep away from shirts with stripes, too much design and logos on the front such as Abercrombie in big letters. Follow these simple rules and you are well on your way to beautiful family photos!
While photographers are great at suggesting locations it is always helpful when the family has a few ideas in mind. Make sure to scout out location ideas before your photo session. It would be good to have multiple locations that are different but are within a close proximity of the other. This helps to eliminate dealing with traffic or worrying about losing lighting as you bounce from one location to the next. Depending on the amount of time your photographer allows you should be able to do 30 minute per location (2 hours – 3 to 4 locations) take a drive a week before and during the time that your photographer has scheduled your session, this gives you an idea of what that particular location will look like at that time. It is best if the scenery you want in the back of your photo is also where the sun is setting. If it is an evening session (you want the sun at your back). Keep an eye out for unique textures and backgrounds that can allow for diversity!
Props can be a lot of fun! Try to bring in one or two pieces from home. Some ideas: wooden bench, old chest, old wagon, blanket, ballons…etc. There are plenty of ideas and fun things you can do that will add some uniqueness to your photos.
Most families prefer outdoor photos and I strongly encourage always making outdoor photos part of your session! However, lifestyle family sessions are becoming a new hit and I can’t help but encourage taking a little risk and doing some indoor photos too! Perhaps your photographer can come over a little bit ahead of time and take some photos of your family routine in the morning (eeek. Scary I know) but think about it! Your adorable little kiddos in their PJ’s, sitting around the kitchen table eating pancakes. These are the moments that are REAL, these are the moments that will forever mean something and will be those you treasure forever. Sure we all love to use the prim and proper photo for the Christmas card…but these behind the scenes shots will be ones that you show your kids one day at their graduation or when they are having children of their own. Why not try capturing some photos that show your uniqueness? There is nothing better than those raw moments and keeping it real J
When family sessions include kiddos there is always a few handful of things that could happen and most photographers are more than aware of this. They realize that little Johnny could have a total break down and bawl for the first half of the session. Or that little Mary could fall in to a pile of mud and totally ruin that perfect outfit coordination you pulled off (see #1). But at the end of the day, you just need to relax…and go with the flow. Chances are your kids won’t ALWAYS look at the camera and smile while the photographer is clicking away…but that is OK. Let things happen organically and naturally. Catching your kiddos with their personalities shining bright is what counts. Parents can sometimes get a little too uptight when it comes to family photo taking. Aim to get the good formal shots right off the bat…quick and snappy. Then…let things just HAPPEN. Have FUN and let your kids be themselves.
Do not feel guilty that you are telling your 3 year old that if they are good they get ice cream after the photo session. This is completely normal and every family I have ever photographed has had some sort of bribe prepared to help get them through the session. Using candy, ice cream, a trip to the park, or watching their favorite movie before bed is an OK way to get through this once a year event where your family pulls it together for a 1-2 hour session of utter chaos in hopes to capture one or two worthy Christmas card photos. Do not feel like the worst parent ever by using phrases such as; “honey if you don’t smile one more time for the photographer you can’t get ice cream after we are done.” Trust me it works like a charm! Even having some candy on stash in your back pocket for the younger kiddos as a reward after each smile for the camera is completely reasonable.
Printing your photos in a creative way puts the finishing touch on any family photo session. I would like to recommend Tiny Prints as I was extremely thrilled to see their fun stationary, creative fonts, colors, styles and techniques. The quality is professional and cater to any occasion!