Family portraits are one of my most favorite things to photograph for many reasons – I love capturing the natural dynamic between family members, there are almost infinite ways to arrange people in front of my camera, and it’s a great opportunity to showcase the family as a whole as well as each individual exactly how they are at that time in their life.
Here are a few ways to best prepare for your next family portrait:
Coordinate your Outfits
As a group unit, looking cohesive in your attire is absolutely essential! The great part about outfit coordination is you don’t necessarily have to be matchy-matchy and wear the exact same things in order to look good. Oftentimes, wearing a similar color scheme is enough to make each of you shine but look coordinated at the same time.
For full portrait sessions, I advise bringing 3 to 5 outfits per person to change into during the duration of session – it may seem like a lot, but I always say it’s better to have too much than too little! More than likely we won’t get to all the outfits, but it’s great to have options and plenty of backups if something goes awry with the outfit you’re wearing.
Mini sessions allow for only 1 outfit change, but changing accessories and adding or removing layers is a great, quick way to diversify the wardrobe.
I love what the Campbell family did for their session: using various shades of coral and pink, they each maintain their individual style while still looking great together!
Timing is Everything
Not only does the time of day that the photographs are taken make a huge difference in the quality and ease of the shoot, but also knowing what the images are being used for is very helpful.
For instance, if your family has small children, sessions right before or right after their usual nap time may not be the best time to shoot because they may not be in the best of moods.
Think about what you’d like to use the images for – do you want to give some gift prints to friends and relatives for Christmas? Are you sending announcements or invitations to an event? If you intend to use your images for something that must reach recipients by a certain time, a general rule of thumb for having your product in hand and ready to send out is 4 to 6 weeks before the event – which means completing your portrait session 6 to 8 weeks before the event!
Get ready for your Close-up
As I mentioned before, one of the coolest parts of photographing families is first capturing the group dynamic and then spending a few moments with each member. This allows everyone the opportunity to shine on their own and take an updated individual portrait all within one session.
When photographing a family, my joy is in letting them be just who they are and capturing that. To me, true storytelling is all about creating an atmosphere that allows people to interact with one another in a natural way, allowing me to photograph them and turning those captured images into heirloom products they can cherish for a lifetime.
I photographed the Blackmon family in their home and loved how comfortable and easy their session went! We went from room to room of the home before going outside for a few minutes and wrapping up on their front steps.
Here’s one of my favorites from that day:
Check back here on the blog next week for more from the Blackmon Family session!
And there you have it, folks – 4 Tips to Having the BEST Family Portrait Session! Until next time!