Whether you get pictures of your family every year, multiple times per year or hardly ever, preparing for that photo session can be STRESSFUL! I'm here to help take some of that stress out of your life with some tips and tricks that I've learned over the years. So here is a step-by-step guide to help you prepare:
Step 1: Find your photographer
This is often the hardest part for people who don't get photographed often and there are good reasons for that! How do you know who you're going to vibe with? Can you afford their prices? What do they include? Do you like their work? Are they good? So many questions come to mind and it can be overwhelming! I wrote a three part series to help you narrow down your options, which you can read, but here is a summary:
Once you've selected your photographer, you will need to book your session. This looks different depending on the photographer, but many photographers require a deposit/retainer to hold your session date. At Fluttering Shutter Photography, once you are ready to book a session, I will send you a booking link that will include the contract, paying the session fee and a simple questionnaire.
Step 2: Establish the details
Deciding on when and where to take your family pictures can be a big decision but one question can help narrow down the answer: What kind of mood are you going for in your pictures? During my initial meeting prior to booking, I have this conversation with you so that I can help you decide on a location that suits your style. Timing also plays a role because depending on the location and time of year, you may need a pre-dinnertime session, a sunrise session or a after-dinnertime session. For example, I know that one of my favorite locations gets darker earlier because of where the sun sets, so if you want that beautiful golden back light (like in the image above), that might not be the best spot for you and I'll talk about some other options. Also be sure to tell your photographer about any specific needs your family may have that are important to know. This can be anything from "Bobby is shy" to "Mom is in a wheelchair" to "We only laugh at fart jokes."
Step 3: Decide what to wear
This is something that I cover in my welcome guide, but here is my general advice:
Step 4: Hype up your session!
When you talk about your photography session with your loves, be positive about it! Make sure they know that it's going to be fun and that you're all going to be there together. Some parents will go out for a special dinner after a session or take everyone for ice cream to give the kids something extra special to look forward to. This can also work on reluctant adults...
Step 5: Primp it up!
One thing that is universal about photography is that if people feel good, they look good. Confidence goes a LONG way, so if you feel better when your nails are polished? Do it! If you want to pamper yourself with a trip to the salon? Go for it! Do something nice for yourself and help boost that confidence for the camera.
Step 6: What to bring
For most family sessions you don't need to bring anything other than yourselves, but here are a few things that I've found to be helpful to have on hand:
Step 7: Take deep breaths and trust your photographer!
This is my last piece of advice about having a successful family session because it's one of the most important ones. It's important for you to relax and be present in the moment for your pictures. A parent who is facing their child and pointing at the camera to try to get them to look doesn't make for the best moment to be captured and a stressed parent makes for stressed kids. Trust your photographer to see the moments and capture the beauty of your family. Sometimes a shy pre-schooler can make for adorable portraits that capture who they are perfectly.
I hope that these tips are helpful for you, and if this made you want to book a session with me, let's talk!