How to Prep for a Family Shoot
I get a lot of questions regarding family photo shoots including what to wear, what time of day to have the shoot, what style should they go for, etc. And let's face it, you're going to be spending $100+ at least if you want quality photographs to remember your family, as they are, now. So how do you prepare?
1. Pick a day or time of day when your family is relaxed. Weekend mid-mornings and afternoons are great for family shoots. Holiday breaks also provide days where family members can enjoy the process instead of dreading the shoot. (Remember being dragged to the department store studio when you were supposed to be home watching Saturday morning cartoons instead?!) If you have younger children, just after their nap time is great. They are rested, and much more likely to work with you.
2. Work with the photographer to pick the best location. This goes hand-in-hand with what pictures you ultimately want on the wall. Want a lifestyle shoot? Stay at home and let the photographer come to you. Kids and parents are most relaxed at home, at this allows you to have your day-to-day life captured. A backyard can provide a great shooting location, just as the family hanging out in the kitchen making cookies, or playing toys in the living room give an intimate view of your loved ones. Want more traditional, "posed" pictures? Go outside! Parks, fields, farms, even urban settings are great backdrops for families. Go to the zoo, a hiking trail, the lake, build snowmen. Make the activity primary, and the fact a photographer is with you secondary.
3. Do not let the family go to the shoot hungry or sleep deprived. Bring snack for little ones. Talk to the photographer about the ideas/pictures/poses you want before the shoot so she can be as efficient as possible and keep little ones from getting super cranky.
4. Choose clothing wisely. White shirts, jeans, and bare feet are dated. Coordinate a base color that looks good on everyone (let's say blue) and have family members pick out their favorite outfits. Be comfortable. Mom can wear a gray shirt with a navy cardigan and a zippy scarf. Dad has a nice gray half-zip sweater with dark jeans. Daughter wears a cute white polka-dotted navy dress, and Son has a blue plaid long sleeved shirt. Searching google is a help too, you can find ideas like The Little Style File.