Holiday photos are just around the corner and I feel like all my clients come in with some battle scars from previous photo sessions gone awry. I wanted to jot down a few pointers that just might make the process easier and maybe even a bit fun.
1. Find a great photographer. Whether it's through a trusted referral or someone you found on-line. Make sure you have seen a portfolio of their work so that you know their style and that it fits your vision. Any reputable photographer will submit a thorough agreement that outlines session details, pricing, timelines and deliverables. They should also talk with you prior to the shoot and get to know you and your family. Do not choose a photographer based solely on who is the cheapest, anyone who is charging pennies for their work is not going to provide a quality experience or a quality end product.
2. Select the time and location of the shoot based on your family's needs FIRST and your vision for the images SECOND. You may want a sunset shoot but have an infant that is normally asleep at that time. Sacrifice the sunset in exchange for an early morning shoot when your child is normally happy and awake. Never schedule a session during nap or meal times. If you want photos of your children by themselves then you need to select a location where they can be set down SAFELY. Desert backdrops are beautiful but full of hazards for infants and toddlers.
3. Don't be all MATCHY MATCHY. I have seen strong fierce women brought to tears by trying to force everyone in the group have the "right" shade of blue on for their photos. This is nothing to lose your lunch over. Throw out a general color scheme and let people interpret and individualize. Mix patterns, solids and layers for a modern look. Nothing looks more dated than a group in varying shades and fades of one color.
4. Eat, Drink and be Happy. Do not, let me repeat - DO NOT make your family wait to eat until after the session. Hungry kids (and Dads) are often times uncooperative, unengaged and irritable. Everyone should come with a full belly and plenty of cool water at hand.
5. Manage your expectations. If you have a one year old, do not expect that they will decide to have mercy on your soul and be wholly cooperative and happy just because you paid to have photos taken. A good photographer will let the youngest set the tone for the session, and that means the rest of the family has to roll with it. There is nothing good that has ever come from trying to force a toddler to sit and smile. You may not get the "perfect" posed shot where everyone is smiling so be prepared for an alternative of candid shots of you all playing with, or chasing, your littles.
6. You look great. Stop it. You look great. No, really - stop it. Wear something that makes you feel like a million bucks, put a smile on your face and trust your photographer to capture you at your best.
7. Don't over think it. Wear a tried-and-true outfit that doesn't pull, tug or gap. Where that blue scarf that people always say brings out your eyes. Do your makeup simply and with a light hand. Plan something fun to do with the family afterward. Give lots of hugs and kisses. Don't threaten or bribe. These photos should be something you all want to remember, not forget.