Like it or not, the holiday season is among us, and for a lot of families, that means one thing – time for the annual holiday card photo shoot.Whether you are hiring a professional photographer or plan to take shoot your own stills this season, here are some great tips and advice for capturing your family on camera.
Here are some the top mistakes mothers make when it comes to family photos and what you can do to get the perfect picture:
1. Not planning ahead.
When you’re working with a photographer, make sure you choose a time that is ideal for your kids. You don’t want to be taking pictures when nap time is in 10 minutes or when your children usually eat lunch. Give yourself the best chance for a happy family portrait by choosing a session time that ensures happy kids!
It’s important to think through your wardrobe before the session. I don’t encourage my clients to wear to wear the same color, instead they should wear complimentary colors or patterns. I like to think of their outfits as one big closet. You could take the pants from mom and wear them with the daughter’s shirt. You also want to pick a color palette that reflects the location and time of year. If you live on the beach and your fall temperature is 70 degrees, you shouldn’t be in navy blue and maroon. Alternatively, if your fall is on the east coast you shouldn’t be in pastel pink and blue. Coordinating outfits is one of the more stressful parts of booking a photography session, but remember it’s all an investment. How much are you going to love your pictures if you are unhappy about what you’ve dressed everyone in?
2. Trying to take over the photographer’s job.
This applies to all aspects of the session, from planning, to shooting, to ordering. Listen to what the photographer recommends for locations and times.
Don’t be stubborn and say you have to take the pictures at a specific park at a specific time. The photographer usually has a good reason for their suggestions. You don’t want to be at a park when the sun is bright when you know there isn’t a lot of tree cover. I try to stay away from parks that have playgrounds in the open so the kids aren’t distracted.
Trust your photographer to help guide you as to where you should do the session, what time works best for the light (and your schedules) and trust your photographer during the session. If we ask you to leave the room or the area, we’re not being rude, we just think we can get a more natural expression or your children will listen better on their own.
3. Making excuses.
There are so many reasons why moms put off getting family pictures. They want to lose 10 pounds, they don’t have anything to wear, they want to wait until their kids are older and so on. Each year you wait is another year that doesn’t get captured. Your son might be two and all over the place, but guess what? Next year he’ll be three, and he will look and act different and you missed the chance to capture him in all his two-year-old glory. Those 10 pounds? When your daughter is all grown up taking pictures with her family, she won’t have those memories to look back on for herself. Photographs freeze moments… and memories. That’s priceless.
4. Neglecting to back up images.
We live in a digital world, everyone who inquires wants to know how much it costs to purchase the disc from the session. But what are you doing with the pictures on that disc? Does it go on the shelf, is sharing on Facebook enough? Have you ever sat down and looked at old photo albums of your family? Or go to a funeral and relive old memories through photographs that are surrounding the room? What if you lose the disc, what if your hard drive fails? Have a plan before your session of what you are going to do with your images. Are you going to print and frame them, make an album? At the very least, back up your digital files and print a set of proofs.
5. Forgetting to have fun!
Don’t expect your kids to behave perfectly. As photographers, we have two goals for fall portraits: getting you that holiday card image and capturing your kids as they truly are at this stage in their lives.
You don’t have to put pressure on them, it will only stress you out. We want you to have fun!
It’s not always look here and say cheese, it should be about more than that. I’m happy to let your kids do their thing and chase them around. If I want genuine expressions, I need to let them have fun. Being told to sit and smile is not fun. It’s about capturing giggles, secrets and hugs. You will only get that if you convince yourself to relax and know that your love for one another will translate through the lens.
Article and images provided by Alicia Gould, a Clickin Moms member and owner of Alicia Gould Photography. Clickin Moms is the largest social network and community of female photographers in the world.