Have you ever booked a family photo shoot and then hung up the phone with a knot in your stomach because although the photographer might be a pro, you are NOT a pro at having your picture taken? Switch the tables. Have you ever booked a photo shoot and hung up with a knot in YOUR stomach because you want a game plan for your shoot? If you answered yes to either side of the scenario, today’s post is for YOU!
Many of the people who book my Mini Sessions or Portrait Shoots are photographers themselves. They have tons of photos they’ve taken of their kids and spouse, but they want to be in the photo too! Below are six fun tips for the family being photographed AND the photographer shooting! All of these were inspired from my recent Seattle Mini Sessions. You’ll notice the same setting in a few to get your creative juices flowing on how I mixed up the family’s set up depending on kids, their age, how many, etc.
Tip 1: Wear Complimentary COLORS.
If your family is going to be photographed, go for color! Look for colors that can compliment each other well. If there is a mother and daughter, find a way for them to both wear the same color but in different ways. Notice how mom has the lilac cardigan and her daughter has almost the same color scarf. This strengthens the presence of the ladies in the family. Don’t be afraid of patterns, as long as there isn’t a distracting logo, your good! Golden Rule that I always have Genie tell our clients “Where what you feel most BEAUTIFUL in.”
Tip 2: Scout Out a Fun, Creative Location
Before the shoot, scout out an interesting location. Look for fun textures, old barns, wheat fields, abandoned buildings, brick, ivy, cement steps, etc. It’s always fun to mix up your family photo shoot with unique backgrounds and locations!
Tip 3: Share the Spotlight!
Take turns focusing everyone’s attention on each person in the family. The simple act of everyone turning and giving the youngest daughter a BIG smile brings out the best reactions!
And when the middle one, who is a little more shy, is authentic to herself when it’s her turn…what more could you ask for! This is the story of their family.
Tip 4: Toddler Calls the Shots (in the beginning)
There is nothing I love more when I start a family photo shoot, and the toddler wants to sit by himself off to the side! It’s the BEST!!! I encourage the mom and dad to let me take a handful of shots because this way the toddler feels like I’m on his side, but it’s also the sweetest season to photograph. We take a few with the toddler calling the shots on where he is going to sit and not sit, and then he’s usually up for my ideas after that. (But I have to admit, I think his ideas win every time! )
Funny little story with this next photo….Isn’t it sweet! Doesn’t that little guy look like the perfect subject for photos?!
In truth, we did the toddler’s idea and now it was Ms. Me Ra’s turn. I asked the mom to gently rest her head on her husband’s shoulder for a peaceful look, and she looked at me like “What?!” with a big smile! But she tried it, and we got to laughing so hard we almost wet our pants! She was trying to rest her head on hubby’s shoulder, but the toddler wanted down which caused her husband to have to readjust constantly which sometimes bumped her head, and then I kept asking her to try “resting” her head again as the toddler tried to climb out of dad’s arms while the baby is starting to fidget in mom’s arms–OH, if you could only see the outtakes! BUT, you only need the stars to align for a split second to get the shot where everyone looks peaceful, joyful and content! Love it! One of my favorite memories from the day! (love you Linnea!)
Tip 5: Give ‘Em a SQUEEZE!
Touch, hugs, the “BIG SQUEEZES”, the BIG–Wrap-My-Arms-Around-Mom and Dad, is a great activity for a family photo shoot! Pre-tweens that may be a little unsure of the shoot, don’t hold an ounce back if they are asked to SQUEEZE dad with all they’ve got! Don’t worry about focus being sharp. The story of this photo is all about content. I LOVE that this little guy is looking right at the camera, but he isn’t sharp. It gives me a sense of feeling how wrapped up and safe he is in dad’s arms.
Have mom squat down to her child’s height and go for the same BIG SQUEEZE! Get in tight for a more intimate feeling. Frame out whatever isn’t necessary. We don’t need all of mom’s arm to know she’s holding her little one. We don’t need much background or anything to the sides of them. We want the whole story to revolve around this SQUEEZE!
Tip 6: Finish Where Love Began!
End your photo shoot with mom and dad, where all the love in the family first began! Off center mom and dad and let the kids be in the background. This is when I have mom and dad do a big “FAKE LAUGH” for me (that feels absolutely awkward! but the more they do it, the funnier and authentic it becomes!). Let the kids just stand in the background. Their confused or bored little faces adds the perfect contrast to make mom and dad’s connection of laughter that much stronger in the story of your photo! And I guarantee that mom and dad will have a BLAST doing this set up which is a GREAT way to end the photo shoot!
Now your turn! What are you favorite family photo tips?!
Big thanks to the most wonderful subjects! Thank you for the honor of capturing your families!
p.s. For Real This Time!
Okay, we said we were going to extend the Early Bird Discount a little longer, and a BUNCH of you jumped on that and registered. With EVO just ending, we decided to keep the Early Bird Discount going until the end of this week. And then the CONFIDENCE Workshop price will go up to the regular rate of $999 per person. But we did want to give EVO ladies a chance to get the Early Bird ($799)! So GRAB your CONFIDENCE spot before the end of this week!
Brian, Genie and I are so excited about this Fall! We released 100 CONFIDENCE Workshop seats for this Fall between four cities, and 71 have SOLD! It’s going to be an AMAZING Fall that is FULL of CONFIDENCE! Woo-hoo!