Truth is, ANY time is the right time for family photos. But nothing makes people THINK about scheduling family photos quite like autumn. Changing leaves, approaching holidays, anticipation of winter, family time and cozy hugs of warmth. And so it is that once again I’m scheduling family photos at a faster clip than usual… so thought it might be helpful to share my tips for how best to dress, prepare and plan for your family session.
Even if you only want a photo for a holiday card, chances are that if you’re going to make the investment in professional photography, in even just a few years you’d like to have more than a set of outdated files… so your session goals are really worth thinking about! How would you like to see your family’s photographs in 10 years or more? Do you picture heirloom prints on the wall? Would you prefer a coffee table style album that can be passed along to grandchildren? If you have ideas about this, it’s helpful for your photographer to know if you’re looking to tell a story in an album or looking for a few artful family portraits for a wall gallery, as it could inform how your session is photographed.
Are you a mountain family? Do you love the vibe of the city? Would you ideally like a mix of both feelings in a single session (yes! This is possible!) Is your home cozy with great light and styled to reflect your family’s character, or perhaps you have a great outdoor space? Are there things you enjoy as a family such as the arts or sports or theatre or movies? The only real requirements I have are the ability to find good light and flexibility on location for variety. Other than that, I can make all kinds of things work, and these are just a few ideas to get you thinking. If you don’t already have a spot in mind, I’d love to help you figure out the perfect spot during our pre-session consultation.
Before diving into clothing colors, if you are considering fine art prints for a wall in your home, it’s helpful to think about the mood and colors of your home. There's no need to “match” the decor of a room, but a wardrobe that complements a mood or color theme in your home can make for a show-stopper work of art, one that happens to celebrate the people you love most in the world!
Regarding the colors of your family wardrobe, think “coordinating” not “matching.”
In general, it's best to avoid all black, or jeans and pressed white shirts… (unless your family is hipster enough to pull it off ironically)! Keeping simple things in mind, like avoid clashing patterns, styles or colors, will go a long way towards harmony in your photos. I like to recommend that one person chooses a general wardrobe palette of colors or neutrals and a complementary accent color, and then ask everyone to find things from their wardrobe in that palette.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
WARDROBE | STYLE + ACCESSORIES:
Layers are great (jackets, sweaters, flannel shirts, scarves, hats, etc.). And things you are comfortable moving around in -- having the option to sit on the ground is a plus, so dress pants and/or short skirts can be challenging (which is not to say that they are impossible, if you’re set on a miniskirt, but could present challenges and/or limitations for getting cozy, fun group interaction -- this really depends on your family and style).
If you're into this sort of thing, I've got an inspiration board on Pinterest with lots of imagery and ideas -- feel free to peruse HERE.
ELEMENTS OF PERSONALITY | WHIMSY:
This last tip is completely up to you and the specific style and character of your family, but sometimes, for a few shots, props can be quite fun. Perhaps you want to bring along a big cozy blanket we can wrap around the kids… or everyone! Or some costume mustaches... Or silly hats... Or big furry scarves... Or cups of cocoa and a bag full of marshmallows (the fat ones, of course)... It’s weirdly powerful to have something to create a moment of shared laughter and a memory which your family will cherish forever. This is NOT a requirement by any means, but if you're game, can be a fun way to break ice, loosen everyone up...and make for some unique and fun photos!
Make sure you are familiar with how to get to our location, plan for traffic and parking and arrive on time. Our session time is limited, and I’d hate for you to miss out on the full experience! You’d be amazed how people relax through the duration of a session and often it’s after we’ve been shooting for a while that the magic happens most naturally.
I’d be so excited to work with your family! Drop me a line to set up your consultation now and let's make some cherished artwork together!