Family photo sessions, AKA family portraits, are something we really look forward to but they are not always easy to coordinate. So why bother, right? Well, for us it’s about making sure we capture a few family pictures in each stage of our lives. While we have plenty of pictures of our girls we almost never end up with both mom and dad in the picture since one of us is playing photographer. Of course as a blogger, I LOVE to take my own pictures and even have an older DSLR which helps tremendously but in reality most of our pictures are taken with an iPhone when we are trying to capture the moment. So, investing in a family photo session is something we highly recommend and here are some tips to make the process smoother.
For our photo session we were fortunate to work with the talented Carlos Medina of Professional Photography Solutions. He’s an old friend who lives out of town (in Philly) but makes various trips to San Antonio throughout the year so we were able to take advantage of his time here to sneak in a photo session. Because we like his style and personality we were willing to squeeze in a shoot in the middle of a school week. Our girls had fun and overall he did an amazing job capturing their personalities.
Find the right photographer
Finding a good photographer is THE key to making your experience a great one. We usually rely on recommendations from friends. We see images of their family pics and immediately ask about their photographer and their experience. From there we do a little research to make sure schedules, cost, styles, etc. work for us.
While you can take a look at a photographer’s portfolio (or blog, Facebook page, SmugMug page, etc.) to get an idea of their style I highly recommend that you also speak with them and get an idea of their personality. Did they ask questions to get a general idea of what you are looking for/ expecting? Are they laid back and willing to work at capturing the right images or are they limited on time and expecting things to work in a 15 or 30 minute session? Do they like working with kids? The key is to make sure your styles and expectations match. Maybe you do want things over and done in less than 30 minutes. Whatever your style… match it to the photographer or if you are just IN LOVE with their style be willing to work with their process.
Decide on the type of images you want
Indoors or outdoors? Formal or playful? This decision will influence the rest of your choices for your family portraits. From the clothes you all wear to the time of day you schedule the shoot… everything else will hinge on this decision. Have a clear idea of the type of images you’d like and discuss with your photographer to make sure they can deliver on your vision.
Select the wardrobe
First and most importantly, coordinate but don’t match your wardrobe. You probably never leave the house looking like duplicate images of each of your family members so why would you want to capture pictures like that. Find a color palate that coordinates but let each family member shine with their own style. Second, make sure the clothing is comfortable. Scratchy, itchy clothes will make photographing kids that much harder. Ill-fitting dresses, or pants, that ride up or down, too tight things that aren’t flattering… think through your shoot… will you be sitting on rocks or a velvet couch? Will you be so uncomfortable in the too tight jeans or form fitting dress? Choose comfortable clothes so you can relax and enjoy your time together allowing your pictures to reflect that joy and not discomfort.
Plan around your kids
When working with kids that are still young my best piece of advice is to plan around them. Naps, food, schedules, level of exhaustion, etc. should all be taken into account when attempting to capture a family portrait. It’s nearly impossible to get a good shot of a cranky, tired, hungry child and if you don’t plan accordingly you’ll make yourself (and your photographer) miserable trying to.
The goal of a family photo session is to capture your family together, enjoying each other. You’ve done the prep work… now relax and have fun. Enjoy this moment and then cherish the beautiful images from it.
I’ll make sure to share next time Carlos is in town so you can book a session or if you happen to live in the Philadelphia / King of Prussia area you can book a session with him even sooner.
As for our wardrobe, well it was quickly pulled together from favorite pieces and new additions. I started with the girls and let them pick from two different outfits they owned from the Target Cat & Jack collection. I also knew my husband would be wearing black so I reached out to my friends Stacy and Michelle from Hola Lularoe and pleaded for their help styling something for me that might work for this session. I found this Julia in their collection and I just couldn’t pass it up. I wanted to wear it as a dress but didn’t have the right shoes so I ended up wearing it like a shirt. It was the perfect item to tie the family look together.
What are your favorite tips for fabulous family photo sessions? Share your advice in the comments.