Those of you who are regular readers know that I run a photography business on the side, and October, November and December are my busiest months out of the year, because everyone wants pictures done for Christmas gifts and cards! This year, clients started putting fall and winter appointments on my calendar in August, and it’s made for a very busy past few weeks…with more to come!
So, since I’ve been eating/breathing/sleeping photography, I thought I’d put together an informative post on how to have a great family photo shoot experience! (Oh, and all the pictures used here have been taken by me! None of them are from 2013, though, as some of those pics are surprises!)
1. Decide what you want
Are you wanting five or so family shots to use for Christmas cards? Are you wanting family shots, individual shots, couples shots, etc., all at the same time? Do you just need a few minutes, or do you want a full photo shoot (1-2 hours) with props included? Once you know what you want, you can make better decisions when it comes to setting up your shoot!
2. Choose a photographer
These days, you can actually find a lot of photographers on Facebook! Or do an online search for photographers in your area – both of these options allow you to view photos that have already been taken, and see if you like the photographer’s style! If you’ve seen pictures of friends and family that you love, ask them who took their pics, too. They might get something special for referring the business!
3. Communicate with your photographer
I LOVE to communicate through email with clients. Why? Because then I have all the specifics, right there in writing. If for any reason I can’t remember a detail or two, I can refer right back to the email. And it works both ways!
Also, when you’re getting close to your scheduled appointment, make sure you follow up with the photographer. Verify the date, time and location, and make sure the photographer has contact information for you and you have contact information for them, in case of any emergency cancellations.
4. Prepare in advance.
If you have shots you’d like yours to be similar to, save them and let the photographer see them.
Talk with your photographer about what you will receive with your session, and what is needed from you in advance or on the date of the shoot. Do you get a CD of all the photos taken? When do they need payment from you? How long will it take for you to get the pictures after the session?
Work on wardrobe selections and any props you might want to have with you. The last thing you want is to be late for your shoot (which will eat into the time the photographer has allotted out of their schedule for you) because you’re running around looking for matching clothes.
If you have little ones, make sure you have things ready with you to keep them happy. If your 2-year-old has missed their nap, is hungry and bored, you’re in for a BAD experience…and probably some bad photos, too.
5. Explain the session to your family
Lay out the expectations early, so everyone knows what’s going on and no one decides to be uncooperative at the last minute. Then, the day of the session, all the family members should be well-prepared to have a great shoot.
6. Don’t expect perfection
You may end up with some PERFECT shots. Who knows? It does happen! But sometimes the imperfect shots are so breathtaking that they’re amazing. And, despite following all of the items listed above, you may still have a few bumps along the way. But that’s okay! Only if you’re expecting perfection will any imperfections bother you!
So there you go! Can I just add right here that family photos are SO important. I don’t care if you want to lose 20 pounds, or don’t think you have clothes for a photo shoot, or don’t think you have the time for it…please do it anyways. The days you’re living right now will never come again, and trust me – you’ll wish you’d captured them.
Do YOU have any advice for folks about to embark on a photo shoot?