It’s that time of year to be thinking about your family photo session (if you haven’t already been!). I want to offer some advice in planning for you because who doesn’t want things to be easier – especially this fall when so much is different (thanks a lot COVID19)?! So, keep reading for free advice from a mother and a photographer.
Tip #1: Budget
Obviously your budget is always a factor in who you hire to take your family photos. And photographers range in price from free (for instance: if they’re just starting out and building their portfolio) to thousands of dollars (usually this would include tangible art work as a final result). I submit that it’s ALWAYS worth it to hire a photographer who’s work you LOVE. Like love enough that you want to hang it on your wall – even when it’s not your family (that’s not awkward to hang another family on your wall is it?! Lol).
When I was hiring our family photographer I spent time researching photographers in the area where we were going to be (we did ours while on vacation). Anyone that had a style I liked, I would visit their website and poke around. If I loved a few photos, but the rest were “eh” then I ruled them out. I wanted to be sure that I would love the final result and a photographer’s portfolio should be indicative of what you’ll receive. When I found our photographer I knew I wanted her to take our photos – and do you know what? Even though I started my search with a price point in mind: she cost more. And I was thrilled to pay it because I was confident that I would be in love with the final result. (That’s our family below – don’t you love it too?! )
So, here’s my advice: google. Find someone online that consistently produces images that you love – and then, if it’s more than you had in mind for a budget, see if you can make it work to hire them. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Tip #2: Location
Most people looking to schedule photos in the fall want an outdoor session – I mean, a background like this one is pretty amazing! Although depending on when your photographer has availability, the weather, and the dates that the trees actually changing – you may get something a little less colorful.
Keep in mind there are other options too – you can choose a studio session (I’ll post one in the comments to give you an idea about what that can look like) or a non-traditional outdoor location or time for your photos.
Did you know that you don’t need tons of space in the perfect picturesque location to end up with amazing images? It’s true – don’t believe me – look at the image here: we were right next to a parking lot and a large dumpster. Images after the leaves have all fallen also have a very beautiful color palette, especially if the decorations throughout your home are on the more natural side (anyone else obsessed with gray and white? No, just me?). And let’s not forget snow for those of you that aren’t afraid of the cold! Keep in mind that if you want a large piece of wall art, a beautiful location is helpful so that you can have gorgeous “negative space” to fill the image. Be sure to know and communicate what outcome you want so that your photographer can help you plan the perfect location for your images – you never know, it may just be your own backyard.
Tip #3: What to wear
This is probably the most stress-inducing part of family photos for every mom. You want to look good, but you also want to look like you! So, if you’re not a formal family, then a ball gown is probably not the outfit of choice for you mom.
That said, you should dress a little nicer than you would on a normal day. For you that may be jeans and nice sweater. Or maybe it’s a dress. For your husband it could be a button down shirt, or a Henley style t-shirt. Whichever makes the most sense for your family, be sure that everyone has about the same level of style (yes, there’s a lot of leeway here). Don’t forget that accessories can help you achieve this too.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I have to help you choose your outfits is to coordinate the whole family. This is not the time to give everyone complete freedom in their wardrobe. Sure, the kids can choose the final outfit (of the 3 options you give them for instance), but at the very least, be sure it’s all within the same tone family. Also avoid dressing everyone in the same color – this can look very dated and unnatural.
My trick? I usually pick out my clothes first (let’s be real, I’m the hardest to dress), then I will find the color that I’ve chosen and research what other colors I like with it. A website I use often for this is design-seeds.com – then I have a great starting point to dress everyone else.
If you’re still unsure about your choices, email or text pictures to your photographer – they should be able to give you great advice and opinions!
Tip #4: The Kids
Ok, I know I said that the most stressful part was likely picking out the outfits . . . but I concede that how your kids act (or how you fear they will act) may actually cause the most stress for you.
I started preparing my own littles well ahead of time for our family photos. About a week before our session date we started talking about having our photos taken and that it would be someone other than me. Since we were on vacation we also talked about the photos being at the beach but that we weren’t going to be swimming or playing until our photographer (we called her by name) said it was ok. We’d be staying together and listening super well. We talked about this for DAYS before our session and again on the way to the beach where we had our photos taken. My kids (ages 3, 4, and 5 at the time) knew our photographer’s name before we arrived and what expectations we all had of them for the session. They also knew that when we were done they’d get play time and I wouldn’t care if they got dirty. You can’t over communicate with your kids ahead of time.
A few more kid related pieces of advice – don’t put them in the clothes you want them to wear until you arrive. Make sure their bellies are full. And when possible, schedule your session when they won’t be overly tired. <- Of course, all these are things to do when possible. The session I was talking about just now of our own family? That started at their bed time. And they rocked it because the most important part of the equation is communication.
Tip #5: Extras
If you are at all concerned with how you want to look for your photos, please hire a makeup artist and hair stylist. Seriously. This is the time to splurge on something like this – these photos will last forever!
If you choose to go it alone (honestly: I did) then you need to know a few things. 1. Apply more makeup than you normally wear – and even consider false eye lashes. The camera downplays these things – and if you’re a natural makeup kind of girl, then it will end up looking like you have none on. 2. Avoid certain things like shimmery makeup and contouring – these types of things don’t translate well in camera so it’s best to just avoid them. 3. Don’t forget about your husband – his hair should be well kept and if he has a beard, it should be neatly trimmed (in whatever style he wants it – this is the time to spend time on it). 4. Don’t forget accessories – jewelry, shoes, scarves, hats – all go a long way and can make or break a picture!
Tip #6: Just Do It
Don’t wait until you’ve lost that last 10 pounds or your hair grows out or whatever the excuse is for you! Your photographer (remember, you already decided you love their work and trust them to produce some amazing images for you!) will help you through! Share your concerns with them and then listen to what they tell you – both before and during the session. Often times it will feel awkward to pose how you’re asked to pose – but they’ve been trained on how to help you look like your best self and you’ll love the end result!
There you go – a few tips to help in your quest for family photos this fall! Was this helpful to you? Is there anything I missed? Need help finding a photographer with a specific style? Reach out – I’m happy to help in any way I can! I just want you to have beautiful photos of your family – even if I’m not the one taking them!
However, if you’ve gotten through this and are thinking “I love KTP’s photography and I want her to take our family photos” great! Contact me ASAP – I’ll only be accepting a few clients this fall. Plus, because fall is my favorite time of year I’ll choose 1 lucky family that books their session with me before 10/15/2020 (session to take place by 12/31/2020) to receive a full digital package at the 5 digital package price (that’s $150 savings)!