Family photos; the annual ritual often dreaded by Dad and thrown together by Mom. Mothers really are the true heroes of family photos. Ultimately, it is their effort (namely blood, sweat, and tears) that gets a family in front of my camera to create the images that will become a part of their history. Remember when you had braces and your little brother really was little? Thank your Mom for preserving that era of your family. Here are a few tips for all you warrior moms out there who would love beautiful, authentic family portraits with a little less blood, sweat, and tears.
Coordinate, Don’t Match
I know figuring out how to dress and style multiple individuals can seem like a daunting task. Here’s how to keep it simple: think in terms of coordinating your outfits instead of matching. Select a color to work with and use its different shades and hues to provide a unifying direction. Let’s take blue as an example. A mixture of sky blue, navy and Chambray can work very well together. Then you can add variety with pops of another color in your accessory choices. Using our blue example, you could add a bright yellow necklace for mom and yellow flats for daughter to make a fun and casual look. Or add a pair of black heels for mom and a classic black blazer for dad to dress it up. The key is to start with a solid foundation by coordinating colors. BONUS TIP: Check out www.design-seeds.com for all the inspiration and color eye candy you could ever want. DOUBLE BONUS TIP: The app Polyvore has a ton of outfit inspiration boards. Start creating your own outfits or browse what others are thinking up.
Give Your Photographs a Purpose
What do you want to do with your images? Thinking about how you would like to display your photographs before your initial consultation will help with the planning of your session. Do you have a blank wall in your home that you would like to create a gallery display? I can help you determine a layout with sizes and orientations then create the exact images we will need during the session. If you would love an album we can focus in the planning of your session on ways to highlight story-telling elements. Including story-telling elements, such as props or sentimental items, will translate well into the album’s layout. For example, Ashley and Ben made sure to bring the first books they traded with each other to their engagement session to show how their relationship began. Planning your session with the photographs’ purpose in mind will create images that lend themselves seamlessly to how you envision enjoying them in your everyday life.
Try not to be a Ball of Stress
Easier said than done, I know. But seriously, relax the grip, drop your shoulders, and breathe, baby, breathe. An easy way to make the session more enjoyable for your children, and therefore less stressful for you is to bribe them. That’s right, I said it. Nobody is judging your parenting skills here! Promises of ice cream cones have been known to work wonders. You can also consider incorporating an activity your kids love into the session like blowing bubbles or tickle fights. Thinking of your photo session as a fun family date will keep everyone’s mood more light and cheerful. BONUS TIP: Schedule your session on a day when you will not be rushed. Running late and feeling hurried will not help your stress level and if you are stressed at your photo session it is going to show in the images.
Love your Real Life
One of my mother’s favorite photographs displays her children’s personalities through facial expressions. In the photograph, I am grinning with every single tooth in my mouth, my brother is sweetly and mischievously smiling, and my sister is giving her trademark pout face. It helps to remember that not every photograph needs to have everyone smiling perfectly for the camera. Some of your favorite images will be created when true emotions emerge, whether that is belly laughing or your five year old’s pouty face. Approach your session with the goal to just be yourself and I am confident you will love the authentic feel to the images.
Let the Photographer Lead
Just like skillful dancers, someone’s role is to lead and other’s is to follow. Give the leadership role to your photographer. Once you arrive for your photo session Inform your kiddos that “the camera person” is in charge for the next hour. Now you are off the hook. All you need to worry about is enjoying being with your family. It is not your job to keep your kids’ attention or make them smile. That’s what I am here for!
From mother to mother, I sincerely hope these tips help you enjoy your next family photo session.
P.S. TIP: Do not wait until December to schedule your holiday photographs. Last year I was fully booked for the dates I had available before December.