Has it been a while since you've called your family photographer to schedule a photography session? Or maybe you never have had professional family portraits and are too nervous of how it will go to even type a search in google for best family photographer in Lee's Summit. Family portraits are so important. Life moves quickly so it is important to take time to document your lives now. It is so fun to look back years, even decades down the line at how little your kiddos were, or laugh at the crazy fads we had going on. Don't miss out on this opportunity because you are too busy or the idea of scheduling a portrait session stresses you out. Let me outline a few tips so when you do hire a family photographer your session goes amazing! Below you will find 7 things every Photo shoot Needs to be Perfect!
First - Hire a photographer you trust. This is an investment in your family, in art work for your home, in your time and in your memories. Be sure the photographer you choose is one you feel comfortable handing control over to. I know it's hard for some of us to do, but most photographers will work better if they are not feeling like they are being second guessed. Don't we all work better that way.
So how do you go about finding a photographer you can trust. Some ways to find a great photographer would be to ask your friends. Have you seen someone recently post a great family portrait session on Instagram or Facebook? Did you love their images? Contact your friend and ask them how their session was and what their thoughts were on how the process went. Did they love their photographer? Did they feel rushed? Get the low down direct from someone you already know.
Or simply google "Family Photographer near me". See what pops up and then start reviewing their portfolios. Be sure to look for families on their portfolios that are similar to yours, similar ages, similar size (number of people). Some photographers are better at newborn photography while others specialize in young families. Also take into account that the work you are viewing on their website should be their very best work, so if it just gives you a luke warm feeling, do not think that you will get better results if you take your family to that photographer. So be picky, like I mentioned before this is an investment in your family.
Once you have picked your photographer contact them and have a discussion of what their process entails so you know what to expect. This way once you are in the portrait session you will be able to have peace of mind that you can trust this professional and let them do their thing. Of course I would love to speak with you about scheduling a portrait session myself, so if you have viewed my work and feel we are a good fit let's chat!
Secondly - Find coordinating outfits. I always like to suggest that you first find an outfit you love on yourself as we are all hardest on ourselves. You want to feel fabulous in these family memories! Once you have your outfit picked out, find outfits for the rest of your family in similar colors. No need to go matchy-matchy, coordinating is best. So for example say you got an adorable maxi dress from Target that is coral with flowers on it that are blue and yellow. Then I'd suggest finding outfits for the rest of your family in those color schemes. Not everyone has to have all 3 colors, but if everyone has a mix of at least 2 of the colors that would coordinate wonderfully. Check out this Video for more ideas on coordinating outfits for your family! Click HERE.
Below are some more examples from families that have rocked the coordination!
Third - Have willing family members/participants. This includes your husband and your children, or if you are going for an extended family session it could include your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, Uncle Ted . . . you get the idea.
So how do you get your kids to cooperate? Bribery of course! They will work hard for their reward by following the photographer's directions and in return you can pay them with a reward. Whether it's ice cream (Poppy's Ice Cream & Coffee House in downtown Lee's Summit is definitely worth smiling for family photos!), a toy from Target, a trip to the park (Miller J. Fields Park is a great summer option with the spray park and the playground there is tons to enjoy!). You know them best, but be sure to make it something that will be a real treat! My kids went through a phase where they loved tootsie rolls. So after one family session they each got their own bag of tootsie rolls, yes a whole bag! Of course they were not allowed to eat the entire bag in one setting, but you should have seen the pride on their faces when they received their goodies.
Now onto your spouse … some husbands are totally on board for family pictures, but then of course there are those that are not. You know your husband best, sweet talk him into 'behaving' lol for family portraits. To be honest I've had a few families and couples tell me after the session their spouse said they really enjoyed the portrait session and it was more fun than they thought it would be. That is always music to my ears!
Another key to having willing children is timing. Do not schedule your family session during nap time or meal time. Schedule your family memories to be captured during a time of day the kids will be at their best. You can bring snacks too if you think they may need a little pick me up in between shots.
Having a fun photographer will also help to get those kids willingly to pose like the adorable models they were born to be. I will often ask silly questions or play a game with the kids while we are doing family portraits to make it fun and seem like less "work" for the kids. Plus who doesn't smile when they are having fun!
Fourth way to get that perfect family portrait session is to have a flexible photographer. One thing I've learned to be flexible with is a late client. It's so hard to get everyone ready and looking their best and be on time, I know this myself from experience. I like to give my clients grace if they are late, I do love it when they send me a heads up via text though. If they are running late I don't want them to be stressed out when they arrive or get in a car accident rushing to the appointment. Of course if someone is over 20 or 30 minutes late we may need to reschedule due to lighting or if I have an appointment following their session. But I like to leave a little extra room in my schedule to be on the safe side.
Another way I like to be flexible is with my posing … often times I've directed my clients to move a hand here or there and either I did not communicate well or they misunderstood and did not do it quite as I had imagined, however if you go with it many times the client has actually put themselves in a better position than I imagined or something that is more them and more natural to who they are. This allows me to capture their true inner self. Sometimes kiddos are also playing around and being silly, I love this because this is that magical moment that is harder to recreate from scratch. When the kids are being kids I'll snap some action shots before I reel them back into some more traditional posed shots. Having a photographer that will go with the flow will reduce everyone's stress level and allow for those perfect posed and action shots you will love for years to come.
Fifth tip for making your photo shoot perfect . . . having laid back parents. I know you've planned this for weeks, maybe even months, you've shopped for outfits, you've managed to get everyone to the portrait location looking their best, and after several melt downs from the kids, and maybe even yourself, you are a little stressed with anticipation of how your portrait session will go. Try and let it go, let your kids be themselves, give them some freedom to act like kids. Having everyone on edge will darken the mood and may hender your photographer's ability to get those relaxed family moments on "film". You know those perfect family moments at home you have when no one's looking on a Saturday morning, everyone is relaxed in their jammies and having a ball. Let's recreate that on portrait day! Mom, Dad . . . take a chill pill. (I say this with deepest sympathy towards your feelings as I know how it can be hard to relax and let go during a portrait session that means so much to you, but if you do, it will help things go smoother.)
Sixth Tip - HUMOR … someone has to have some humor to get those smiles. Be it your photographer or the comedian in the family, or maybe even both. I love how the image below turned out. When I showed it to my clients they keyed me in on the fact that the husband was humorously saying "funny banter, funny banter" to his wife. It worked like a charm and we were able to capture her true smile and their real connection. A sense of humor is also an important part of a perfect portrait session because it will help you with step 6, being relaxed and laid back. Have fun in your session. Not everything will go just as you planned, but in between those perfectly planned moments and those funny unplanned moments a great and seasoned photographer will be able to pull out images from this time together that will freeze this moment in your lives for you to look back on and enjoy.
Seventh and final tip for helping you have a perfect photo session is to just have fun with it! Enjoy this time with your family!