5 Tips For A Successful Family Photo Shoot
We recently had a Mommy and Me photo shoot (just me, my baby and my toddler, eek!) but it actually went really well! I asked our wonderful photographer, Kay, for some tips on how to have a successful photo shoot and here is what she shared:
1. What are the best colors/styles to wear for family photos?
I have always thought that neutral light colors look better than bold ones because then the faces and the expressions are the center of attention, too much color in clothes can be a big distraction. Big or busy patterns are not recommended, the same goes for graphics and cartoon characters on shirts. Also, it is good to have the feel that family members are “in synch”, but that doesn’t mean they all have to wear exactly the same piece of clothing and colors. You can play with complimentary colors, different tones; don’t make it look like everybody is wearing a uniform. I do believe the style has to be the same in all members though: if you are dressing casual, all should go casual, if you go for a dressy look, then everybody should look as nice. Choose a style that suits your family and the setting. It’s also important that you feel comfortable and happy in your clothes.
2. When is the best time to book a session during the day with small children?
Best time to schedule a session is right after a nap. It’s also a good idea that they have also had a meal. Then there will be no fussiness because they are either tired or hungry. Chances are, there will get upset at some point, and that is OK, but we must try to reduce our chances of that happening to the minimum. Ideally, early mornings are the best for family photographs: everybody is rested, had breakfast, and are relaxed without any troubles that could happen during the day. But it is hard to commit everybody to be ready at that time, as many people do not like to get up early. If that is the case, around 4pm or two hours before sunset depending on the season should be a good time to shoot outdoors.
3. What are some tips to get your kids ready to smile at a photographer they just met?
It is always ideal to have an in-person consultation before the actual session. Especially if you have little children, meeting before the shooting can give the photographer the chance to introduce themselves to the children, and get to know a little bit about them by being around them. That way he/she won’t be a total stranger the day of the session, and smiles will just happen. As my style with working with families is casual & lifestyle, I am personally not a fan of making everybody smile for the camera. That usually results in pretty forced unnatural smiles; and especially little ones cannot really fake that they are happy if they are not. I prefer to direct a little bit and instruct the parents to say something funny or silly to their kids, play with them, roughhouse a little, snuggle, hug, kiss. Tell an anecdote that everybody remembers and that makes them laugh and feel connected. It is better to make them smile because you are connecting with them, than to just ask them to do so for no reason at all.
4. What is your best advice for a family photo shoot in general?
Spend some time together before the session, either the day before or hours before. That works wonders for family dynamics, allows everybody to connect, talk about any unresolved issue, and just be more relaxed in front of the camera. If anybody is upset and had no opportunity to solve it before the session, it will probably show, but more than that, you probably do not want to remember that family photo because you were not feeling your best. Also, leave plenty of time to get ready, everybody should feel at their best, looking their best, and that is not going to happen if they are rushed. A family session should be an important event, because you are capturing that moment, portraits taken that day will be a legacy for your children.
5. Do you have any advice of what NOT to do during or ahead of time?
Do not reprimand your children before or during the session, don’t tell them they HAVE TO smile for the camera, because they’ll be tense, probably in a bad mood, and they will just see it as a painful thing to do. Do not yell or demand, just let them be, let them interact, trust the photographer. You will be surprised to see how amazing your family looks when they are not pretending to be happy with a forced smile, but actually enjoying the moment and each other.
You can read more about Kay and view her work on her website at Velvet Violet Photography. If you click here you can see my Mommy and Me photo shoot with her; we absolutely LOVED our phot shoot with her and the pictures she took are simply amazing. We love them so much. I mean I am just absolutely head over heels for how our photos came out. Anyway, hope these tips help! 🙂