Tips for Better Family Portraits

I'm so thankful I can still do photography part-time, even with my new job. I have quite a few sessions lined up this Fall and I want my clients to feel super-prepared for their session date. I've created this little list of a few things to remember as you prepare for your session. If you have a shoot planned with another photographer, I'm sure most of these tips are good reminders for you too!

ONE: CLOTHING COLORS

Wear colors that go together, not the same identical matching outfits. The days of white tees and jeans are long gone! Let your family members have some personality in their outfit choices, just make sure there is a color coordination of some sort. Shoot for similar shades and tones, yet unique patterns and styles for each person. Pinterest can help give you one or two (or a million) ideas!

TWO: TOYS

Don't be afraid to bring a favorite toy to our session. Little ones don't understand that you're paying for these pictures and there's a strict time-frame. Forcing them to sit/stand/pose with a strange camera-lady can be a bit tense and overwhelming. Make them more comfortable by having familiar toys. It's okay if a toy makes it into the final cut. That is who they are at this time of their life: toy-lovers! 

THREE: NO POINTING

Going along with the last, small toys can help me get some good looks and smiles from your little ones during group shots. Pointing yourself doesn't ever work out, parents. Infants do not understand the pointing finger! I'm willing to take Sophie the Giraffe, or another squeaky toy and dance around ridiculously to make sure your little one looks into the lens at least a few times during group shots. So, the rest of you guys just need to keep on smiling!

FOUR: CRAWLING IS OKAY

Go with the flow with "poses." I'm sure you'd love for your toddler (or even your 5-year-old) to sit on their bottoms and smile directly at the camera. Sorry to break it to you, but that does not always happen. Let them crawl, wobble and lay around a bit. These moments can lead to cute pictures!

FIVE: SILLY IS OKAY TOO

Sometimes I'll ask you guys make a funny face or give your kiddos a tickle. Most of the time, it's to get you to loosen up and enjoy the moment. Others, it's because it makes some really genuine smiles. Either way, it's okay to get silly during your session!

SIX: QUILTS ARE AWESOME

In the last couple of years, I've been obsessed with bringing a blanket out to sessions with me. I'll always have one in my car, but if there is one more meaningful to your family, please bring it along. My favorite is a quilt made of all my mom's and aunt's childhood clothing. Brings a lot of color to any outdoor session (and it gives the kiddos a nice play to sit and lay down). 

SEVEN: BE ON TIME

This is probably the most important tip I can give you for any kind of session. Aim to be 5 minutes early, so you'll be there on time. The perfect sunlight is only in the sky for a certain moment. Us photographers usually make a shoot at a certain time because we know what we're working with. When the sun starts to dive underneath the horizon, I can't do anything it slow it down. 

Easy stuff, right? I can't wait to see you and your family in my lens soon!