HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FAMILY PHOTO SESSION

THINK OF THE END PRODUCT FIRST It all starts to come together easy when you think backwards. Before you decide on what to wear or where to go for your photo session, think about how you want to display your images. Are you planning to update a gallery wall in your house? Would these images be part of an existing gallery? Are you planning to hang a large statement piece in your living room? Knowing how these images will be displayed in your house will help you decide what you should wear. If you are wanting these images to brighten up your otherwise neutral room with a pop of color, you can wear bright colors. If you want everything to be harmonic with your existing decor, stick with different tones of main colors in your decor and mix in neutral colors. Weather you dress up in classy formals for your photo session or a beautiful bohemian dress, it should match with the decor of your room so your wall portrait looks like it belongs in your space. COLOR COORDINATE YOUR OUTFITS Color coordinate with each other to make everything cohesive but don't be overly matchy-matchy. Pick 1-2 bright colors and mix in the neutrals like shades of beige, grey, navy or white. Avoid creating a uniform for everyone so every picture from your session looks interesting. Accessories like scarfs, jackets, hats or jewelry can change up looks quickly. Don't forget to plan your shoes according to outfit changes. If you plan on wearing heels, it's always a good idea to carry a comfy pair of shoes in case you have to walk a lot or there are un-even surfaces where you are shooting. You don't want to hike in stilettos with a 2 years old in your arms! KEEP IT SIMPLE Nothing spoils a child’s good mood faster than too many clothing changes, too many locations, and too many props. I know it’s tempting to try to recreate every gorgeous image you’ve ever seen, but the best images will happen spontaneously as a result of your unique family relationships. When you are not working off of a checklist, you’ll have more time to create organic images that you’ll love. Try to limit your top priorities to 1 or 2 things. PLAN AHEAD Discussing your vision with your photographer ahead of time would make it possible for him/her to shoot at the right angles and composition. I was able to create this unicorn picture because I planned this picture in my head before I posed this little girl with her hand up in the air like she's petting the invisible unicorn. CHECK THE WEATHER Make sure your outfits will keep you and the kids comfortable during your entire shoot. Nothing will hinder family photos faster than a freezing baby or an overheated toddler. Dress in layers if possible so that you can add and remove if needed. It’s always helpful to have an extra wrap or blanket if it's cold. BE ON TIME Light changes quickly around sunset. Make sure to start earlier than you think you need, to allow for traffic or other delays. Having good light is essential for good outdoor portraits. Kids usually take some time warming up to the camera so having extra shooting time in ample light is always good. KIDS WILL BE KIDS All professional family photographers have seen their fair share of meltdowns, and we work through them every time! Instead of stressing out because you’re missing “the perfect shot,” let your kid take the lead for a while. Kids (and even babies) pick up on their parents’ stress levels, so laugh it off and know that happier moments are soon to come. And sometimes, that temper tantrum ends up turning into a hilarious image that you’ll cherish for years to come! REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOR While every family has different parenting styles and I respect that, I am all for using bribes for one day. Nothing makes a kid sit still longer than a (lollipop, beloved toy, insert your fave here!). However, be sure not to mention said treat until we’re close to the end of the session. Revealing a toy and then taking it back can be a recipe for disaster. TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER You have hired an expert, leave it to your photographer to make you look your best and your images stunning! Just sit back and enjoy the moment. Create memories that you would remember every time you will look at these pictures. often times what we photographers see through our camera may not be visible to you from where you are standing. This picture of the couple with their reflection in water was not something they saw when I asked them to go stand at this spot. FOCUS ON THE LOVE IN YOUR FAMILY In the end, it’s not about what you wore or which location you chose. It’s about capturing the love in your life at this stage. It’s about family hugs and belly laughs.  It’s about showing your children how much you love them so that they have these memories for the rest of their lives. It about how you felt and how you will feel every time you look at these images. Have a great tip on how to prepare for a photo session that you would like to share with the readers? Leave a comment! :)

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