A few weeks back I shared some general tips for what to wear to family photos. But, a lot more goes into it than JUST what to wear.
So, today I wanted to share just some general tips around getting family photos taken. I’m going to share a few tips I learned along the way but mostly I’ll be sharing tips from our photographer Beatrice Cormann who runs L’Atelier des Artistes, a fine art photography company here in Connecticut. Beatrice has over 15 years of experience as a renowned hair and makeup designer in the fashion and film industry. And, along with her husband Denis who is a lifeline photographer with a degree in Photography and a Masters in Cinematography, they make a dynamic duo who really know their stuff.
Don’t Overcomplicate it
The first thing I’d say is that photos can FEEL very overwhelming, so don’t overcomplicate it anymore for yourself. Don’t stress about the perfect outfit or having cutesy props. I know social media makes it so we can see EVERY kind of family photo and sometimes we can get carried away. At the end of the day, what matters most is a few nice photos of the family together. No one is going to remember if you didn’t get that one shot or cute pose you saw on Pinterest.
How to Pick Your Photographer
Start by just doing a little research reading about the photographer’s story, reading reviews, looking at their portfolio, etc. Once you reach out, you can ask them about their style, history, and even ask for a referral or two. Beatrice, the owner of L’Atelier des Artistes, mentioned that photos can be good or bad based on emotion, so you want to find someone whose personality is a good fit and you feel comfortable with. She also suggests avoiding someone who has a portfolio where all the colors and photos feel exactly the same because the photographer’s job should be to get to know you and your family’s style and cater to that.
A lot of photographers also offer mini sessions nowadays, which I think is a great way to try one out without committing to a full shoot yet. It’ll give you a chance to see some of their work and see if you jive well with them as family.
One last note, Beatrice mentioned that “In general, when you want to pick the right photographer, make sure everything is easy going from the first contact.” She said, “the rate they are charging should make sense for you and the photographer should be able to explain the detail of the investment.”
Have a Pre-consultation With Your Photographer
You want to chat with your photographer ahead of time to make sure you’re all on the same page. It gives them a chance to get to know you, and vice versa. You can discuss expectations, tell them a little bit about your wants/desires for your photos, and make sure you’re good to go for photo day!
It’s OK to do Something a Little Different
For our first round of photos, we asked Beatrice what she thought about doing some “downtown” style pictures. While we did also snag some more traditional family photos at a local park, the idea of doing something a little more “documentary style” seemed fun. Beatrice scoped the area ahead of time, and we were able to get some really cute family shots of us at a local coffee shop. They weren’t the traditional family posed pictures, but I think they are very fun and different. And, I think it’s a great idea especially if you do family photos every year. When you look back in 20 years are you really going to want 20 years of photos with every year looking exactly the same?
Dealing with Weather
If you’re doing an outdoor session, the weather can be hard. It’s something you’ll want to discuss with your photographer. Beatrice told me that she always picks a second date they call the “weather day,” just in case. This is something you should discuss with your photographer ahead of time.
But also remember weather isn’t EVERYTHING. We ended up shooting on a very cloudy, drizzly day, and the photos still came out good. So, don’t stress too much if it’s not a perfectly sunny afternoon.
Tips for Toddlers
Most importantly, try to plan the session at their best time of day, and it’s not a time when they are hungry or tired. “Pack second outfit, snack, and water just in case. But don’t tell them you have it with you, Otherwise, they will ask for it right away and you will have cookies on all your photos!” Beatrice suggests.
Also, you may have to be willing to let go of an “idea” you had. Maybe you really, really wanted a cute sitting on a picnic blanket family photos but you toddler is NOT having it. Be willing to pivot and be flexible. Follow your toddler’s lead, and let the photographer readjust. Maybe some cute photos looking at the ducks on the pond will come out even better!
Tips for Teenagers
Beatrice mentioned that “I think with teenagers the most important thing is to speak with honesty, tell them how important it is for you.” Also, make it a family decision. Work together on picking a time so you don’t just spring it on them. Don’t book on a weekend day when they might have someone else they want to attend that seems for fun or important to them. Beatrice also had a great idea that “if it’s a girl, you could consider booking a makeup session for her beforehand to get her more excited!”
Remember it’s just Photos
I’m bringing this full circle back to my first tip, but again just remember these are just photos. While getting great family photos is obviously a keepsake we will keep for years to come, it’s also not a life or death situation. Be willing to be flexible to the location and how your kids are feeling/acting, follow your photographers lead, and you’ll end up with a few nice photos to look back on for years to come.