How to get the MOST from your Family Photos

Good Morning friends!

I have been doing photography for a little over 2 years now....while I am not an expert - I have picked up plenty upon plenty of helpful hints for my clients. Making the most of your family photos is HARD. When you have one child - it is doable, when you have 2 or 3 or 4 - it starts to get challenging. Here are some of my favorite tips to help you get the most out of your family photos! :)

Tip #1: Find a photographer who specializes in FAMILIES

Most photographers these days will say they specialize in families....but make sure you glance through their portfolio, Facebook page, website, etc to find FAMILY images. Many photographers specialize in children...but include families into this category. You want to make sure you find someone who can also photograph the awkward dad, or the mom who wants to hide behind her kids. We all know them, and love them - but some photographers may not know how to photograph them. When you can see a photographer capture each persons reason for living in one family photo - you know they can handle it. This sweet family of of my prime examples of why FAMILIES are something I definitely specialize in!

Finding a photographer who can pull your crazy little family together - is not as easy as choosing the same one as your best friend because the photographer took amazing cake smash photos....lots of photographers can do BOTH, but make sure they can before booking! :)

Tip #2: Find a timeless style you love!

Find a photographer that genuinely seems to have a style you like, that will last for years to come. There are always "trends" in photography...and sometimes those trends dont last long for a reason. As you search for your newest photographer, make sure you find someone that has a classic, clean and timeless look or a moody classic look that will last for years and years to come. This family is perfect for showing off my clean, classic, and lasting style that took me years to find and settle on - but the results were so worth it!

How do you find what you need? Look at a photographers work - if they have been consistent with their editing for quite some time now, safe to say that you are okay to choose them. Do you see a ton of selective color (where the image is black and white and one color stands out) or sepia images? Do you see images that have tons of vignettes (the outside ring of the photos is either darker or lighter), what about weird borders? They probably are not going to deliver images to last for years. They could still be finding themselves, working through their editing style (we have all been there!) - maybe follow their work, and see what happens, but for now - to get the most out of your images - I would look for a consistent, clean and timeless look! :)

Tip #3: Consider booking a full session!

I hate to say it, mini sessions (or limited edition sessions) are geared towards clients I already know and have had the honor of photographing. Why? because the kids know me, the parents know me, and since mini sessions are shorter in time - we don't have to worry about the getting to know you time! (On some occasions we can make a limited edition to work - but don't bank on that! Like this sweet family - kids were thankfully not shy, but results like these are not guaranteed if we only have 15 minutes! :))

When you book a full session with a photographer, not only does it give your children time to warm up, but it gives the photographer a chance to get to know you better. When your photographer books a full session - usually there is more interaction ahead of the actually day of, which means your photographer will have gotten to know you and what you like a little more. I send out questionnaires to all my clients, but the one for full sessions is a little more in-depth because I want to get to know you and your children. I use that information to plan for our photo shoot day! So I urge all new clients to book a full session. You will love your photos more, and your children will be more relaxed! We don't usually start shooting immediately at a full session, we spend a few minutes talking to everyone (and even playing with kids!) - letting your child know he/she is okay to be a little crazy - makes our job easier. It means more genuine laughs, better listeners, and happier parents!

Tip #4 (and 4.5): Book around nap times....PLEASE...and bribe your children.

It may be hard when you have 3-4 kids. BUT I promise, finding a time that works between all nap times is going to save you from so much heartache, frustration, anger, tears, etc.... Most parents have a child or two that doesn't nap and can be unpredictable. BUT if you pick the right photographer, he/she should be able to shoot at any time of the do not be afraid to ask for a time that isn't first thing in the morning or evening. Yes, those times will give you that golden light that everyone loves....but in the real world - that is not when your children are happiest! 

I am not afraid to shoot a session at 1pm if needed. If that is when your children are all awake, fed, and happy - lets do it! Lets plan the day according to THAT! :) This little girl below - mornings were her we had a session at 7:00am....if that's what it takes - that's what we will do! :)

oh, and one thing I cannot say enough - BRIBE BRIBE BRIBE your children. I don't mean this in a negative way...but kids like to act up around strangers to test boundaries. Do not feel ashamed that you have bribed them either, trust me - when we are whispering in your child's ear - we are likely promising candy. I happens! :) It could be their favorite movie, candy, or ice cream. Something they will make a HUGE difference! :) (now if they are babies - working around naps is all we can do!)

Tip #5: Style Guides

I provide my clients with a style guide, and not all photographers do...There is no shame in going to Pinterest and searching "style tips for family photo shoot"....if you need some help, here is mine:

I promise, no one will think you are a bad parent for matching one of these outfits - trust me....I used one for my own family too. It happens. A little help will go a long way! :)  Its about matching, but not too much, and patterns - but again...not too much! I love this example - they nailed it! I loved the cohesive outfits but yet no one was EXACTLY the same! :)

Tip #6: Last one, speaking of Pinterest...

Don't be afraid to PIN Pinterest images you love.....but don't be offended when your photographer ignores all of them. They are GREAT for inspiration, but most photographers like to be original, and secretly search Pinterest on their own anyways....but only for ideas. I do it, I know many that do....heck I even keep folders for each type of session I helps me sometimes pose families, it also helps me think of solutions if there is something different about your family (dad is really tall, or something!) It is completely OKAY to look, it is OKAY to start a board, and it is OKAY to send to your photographer. These are YOUR photos. BUT also know your photographer likely wont copy images exactly, that diminishes our creativity. We would love to know what you LOVE, so we can design something that is derived from that inspiration, but we also want to create a session JUST FOR YOU!

Here is one of my favorite Pinterest inspirations - turned into a real life photo! <3 Collaboration between the family and myself! :) I usually look at inspiration, and figure out how I can make it MY own, while still giving the parents what they want! This one turned out adorable! :)

While I could go on and on, these are some of my most important tips. I hope you enjoyed, and please - feel free to share! Everyone deserves to LOVE their photos, and everyone deserves to know what it takes to get them! :) 




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