It's that time of year again ... time to take your family portraits for the holiday cards! Some of us love this time of year . . . while others dread it. Either way let me give you a few tips to help you get the best Holiday Pictures ever!
Tip Numero Uno: When picking out outfits for the family I always suggest first picking the outfit for whomever is the pickiest in the family. In my family that's ME. The kids are adorable in anything, my husband doesn't give too much opinion on what he wears, so I start by finding an outfit that I feel good in. Now this can take while. I go into the fitting room with 45 things and maybe . . maybe come out with 1-2 things I like. Once this mountain is climbed . . . I can then look for coordinating outfits for the rest of my family. I like to pick 3-4 colors and have everyone coordinate. This family below did an excellent job with their outfit coordination! Fun, fall jewel tones!
Here's another good example . . . red, black, white and gray is great for the holidays and easy to coordinate!
Okay Tip Number Two: Schedule your session during a great time of the day for lighting. The best time is about 1-2 hours before the sun goes down for the day, or if you are an early bird, right as the sun rises. The light during this time of day is so dreamy and soft. Being a photographer in the Kansas City area for over 15 years I've seen some very pretty sunsets, this time of day is often referred to as "the golden hour". Now when thinking about lighting . . . if 1-2 hours before sunset is not ideal for your children . . . because maybe it would be dinnertime for them. Do not worry about lighting; what's most important is your kid's moods. Schedule it at the time of day your children will be at their best. Is that is right after breakfast? Or maybe after their afternoon nap? If the kids are hungry we cannot expect them to have fun, smile and enjoy the family pictures. So first plan around their timing and second plan around the sun. If you have a knowledgeable photographer then they should be able to shoot anytime of the day, your photographer will know how to find that right light and adjust their camera to take quality photos.
Tip Number Three: Bring your family pet ... Our pets are part of the family. They drive us crazy, make us laugh, and snuggle up to us when we are down. Bring Rover with you to the shoot. Including the family dog is such a great memory for you and your kids to look back on. These little guys are only with us for 10-15 years usually. So including them in your family portrait is a nice way to be sure you have some great memories to look at down the road. You dog doesn't need to be in all the photos, but maybe 1 or 2 in the beginning then you can put them in the car with the window cracked so you can focus on more portraits of the family with out the wild dog jumping around. Ha!
Tip Number Four: Have FUN! ... Try not to let family photos stress you out. Hiring a professional photographer guarantees you will get some great images. If everything goes wrong, professional photographers will reschedule your session. So don't stress about it, we photographers want you to like your pictures. It's our job to get great images. So don't worry about the kids behaving just right and looking at the camera the entire time. Sometimes the best shots are those real moments of the kids horse playing. If you are stressed out, the kids will feel it. Now I know, I know this is hard to do . . . as you've waited all year, you put so much effort into finding a time everyone in the family is available, all that time and money on just the right outfits ... so now, don't stress everyone else out by being stressed out ha ha! Your photographer will have a few tricks up their sleeves to get the kids to cooperate. Of course if their tricks don't work, please give them some ideas of what makes your kids cooperate, smile, laugh. You know them best!
Tip Number 5: Trust your photographer ... This is a big one. You researched your photographer before you hired them right? Then you must have looked at their work. You must have liked their work. So trust that they know what they are doing. Let them guide the session. If they put you in a pose that feels awkward ... it probably makes you look really good. I like getting a few different poses of each grouping while I'm photographing a portrait session. I know I like some things while others like other things. So giving variety gives my clients options. So if you don't think you like what I'm doing, just go with it . . . I'll do another pose of your group don't worry!
I hope these tips help calm your nerves this family portrait season. Whether you live up north in the Northland, East in Lee's Summit, down south in Raymore or west in Shawnee Mission; ENJOY those fall leaves Kansas City!