Photo sessions are fun! Or at least they should be. How to make sure that you and your family really enjoy and make the most of the time together at the shoot? Look happy and at your best? There is no universal rule as there are always some factors at play which are quite unpredictable (personalities, relationships between siblings, moods, weather etc.). There are, however, quite a few things which are absolutely in your control and will help make the experience fun, happy and enjoyable. Here are a few tips for you, I hope they help. (You can find information on pricing and packages here.)
IT’S YOUR TIME. YOUR FAMILY TIME!
Look at the photo session as the quality time with your family! Those few hours you are planning to spend together could be one of the most fun experiences for all of you during this year. AND you will get beautiful pictures as a huge bonus. It doesn’t get any better than that.
You can do a few things to minimize the stress of anticipation and preparation for the session. I would highly recommend deciding in advance what color scheme you would like to use for your clothing and accessories. It is very much up to you and your family’s personal style. Just keep in mind that some color combinations and palettes might work better at different seasons/locations/events. Fall is already a very bright and color rich time of the year, so more natural and faded tones in clothes can make a nice contrast in the picture, especially if they have distinctive textures like knitted or more rough natural weaving. Some minimal but bright accents and accessories can compliment the look greatly too. Spring and summer are normally asking for brighter palettes and this can be a perfect time to experiment with color, patterns and textures. It’s your time, it’s all about you and your family, so have some fun with it! If you are having a family photo shoot, involve everyone in the decision making process so that there will be no disagreement on THE DAY and everyone knows what they are wearing. Another good hint is to actually try on your entire outfit and see if it looks the way you want it to. You should feel great in it.
It can also be a great idea to invest time and/or money styling your hair, getting a manicure/pedicure and doing your make-up. It does make a significant difference in the pictures, but most importantly it makes you feel fantastic and refreshed. Now you have a very good reason to pamper yourself a bit and polish your feathers. Take advantage of it!
Allow a couple of extra hours on the day of the photo shoot to organize your family, help everyone get ready and to fix any unexpected issues. And once you leave the house, forget about the kids’ mismatched socks, husband’s wrong shirt or a new blemish. Now it’s time to enjoy the nature, your beautiful family and your relationships. And by the way, that blemish is very easy to fix in the picture.
LOCATION: ARE WE THERE YET?
I shoot on location, i.e. outdoors at an agreed location or at your home. For maternity or newborn sessions it is important that Mama and Baby feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. For newborn sessions try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible and assign 2.5-3 hours during the day for the session when your Baby is normally fed, most happy and sleepy. Since the newborn sessions take place in the very early days of their lives, the days might be still quite hectic so we can always adjust the time to be more precise on the day of the shoot. I try to be flexible in these cases. And please make your house a little warmer than usual as most of the time babies are naked or have minimal clothes on them.
For family outdoor portraits, it works well when the shoot evolves around an activity (picnic, football, hiking on a beautiful trail) or if toddlers or older children are involved in a park with fun things for kids. These work as a good backup in case someone gets upset or fussy. I always try to spend a little time before the session knowing the family and especially children better, so they feel more at ease and enjoy the experience more.
This is probably the most fun part of planning the shoot! My personal style is taking natural, simple and candid photographs. That doesn’t mean, however, that I would not add fun elements to the scene here and there. Though it is my job to come up with some creative ideas and themes for your session, which we will discuss in advance and adjust so that it works for your particular shoot, I cannot tell you how much I value when my clients have their own ideas and are ready to share them with me! Because this is when we might come up with the most unique, original and fascinating photographs which will make your album, wall art or scrapbook one of a kind and have a “This is SO US!” feel. So let’s share our fun crazy ideas and the result will be well worth it!
WHAT TO BRING TO THE SESSION
Your happy self! Seriously, that’s all you really need for great pictures. The other things which might help along the way, especially if children are involved: some snacks and water (try to go “easy – no mess” version of snacks), plenty of paper tissues to fix running noses, sugary cheeks and tears from the wind. It is very handy to apply low shine lip gloss to kids’ chipped lips as they are quite difficult to edit afterwards. Small portable chairs or outdoor blanket could be handy if you decide to sit down during the break. For smaller children you could take their favorite toy (which could even become part of the shoot!) and some fun games or books. Basically anything what helps a child to feel relaxed, engaged and surrounded by familiar things.
For the senior/high school portraits the rule is: the more the better! This session is all about you, your amazing milestone and achievements. No doubt you will look fabulous for your session, and to make it even more fun bring along ANYTHING which is part of your life and screams that it’s you: your favorite books, your guitar, sports gear, crafts you are making in your fee time – anything which makes you YOU! We will decide right there on location what works best, we will experiment, mix and match and for sure the pictures will come out unique and the way YOU want them. So let’s pack the car to its roof and have a blast!