This time of year many of us are looking to take great family photos for the holiday card or to give out as presents to friends and family. I have two different photographers I use for our family pictures and alternate every other year. There is a lot to think about when getting ready to take these photos. Here is what I have learned from my experiences.
The photographer. Choose a photographer who is used to working with children. Both of the photographers we use have toddlers and are great at going the extra mile to make the kids smile. If you are on a budget, consider asking a friend to take the picture and you can do the same for them. You can find photographers through word of mouth, craigslist, or local message boards and newspapers.
The photo package. Find out in advance what is included with the basic fee. For us, photographer A includes the digital images, time for her to retouch one photo, and a print of that photo. Photographer B includes a 4 x 6 print of each photo taken, but there is an extra fee for the digital images. As you can see these are completely different. Be sure you are able to get the digital images so you have the ability to print for family members and make photo gifts.
The time and location. If you have small kids I highly recommend the morning. Definitely use the time of day that your kids are in the best mood. A local park or school can be a great backdrop for outdoor photos, but honestly some of our best pictures were taken in our own back yard! Make sure it’s a place that your kids are comfortable and wont be too distracted (like the year we were very near a little league game at the park!)
The clothes. Probably one of the biggest stress points for the mom. Make sure your clothes coordinate, but matching exactly can detract from the beautiful faces. Try choosing colors in the same family like navy, sage, and brown (last year’s photo colors). Avoid prints or limit one person to a print and the rest of the family can match colors from the print (this year’s photos). I will fully admit that now that I have a girl her outfit is the driving force. I prefer to dress up for our pictures with the girls in dresses and the boys in polos or button downs. But casual pictures are just as nice and can be easier with older kids if they don’t like to dress up.
The day. Be prepared. Make sure the kids are well fed and happy. Have a special treat ready for emergencies. Bring help if you can – one of the best pictures we ever got was when we brought my niece along. She really helped when it came to the picture with all four of us in it. Don’t push too hard, you need to keep everyone in a good mood so you can show everyone your happy family!
And don’t be afraid to be a little goofy!