We all want them. But oh, we fear them. Family Photos. We second guess the whole thought of even getting ONE good family photo. You know, the one with everyone “looking at the camera” …which to me, is bull. Let that notion go. Candids are everything. I’ve got the secrets…
One declaration I made to my hubby was that I was to be awarded a family portrait session for each place we have moved throughout our hockey journey. A visual time capsule. It’s an award for me and punishment for him…and possibly my children too. I think I can speak to a majority of Dad’s out there who simply despise photo shoot situations. Fair. We have our things too.
I’ve been literally BLESSED with some insanely talented photographers who have captured our family. And it’s not the photographers that I doubt…it’s…the children you see.. You know, the little minions you procreated who are acting exactly… like…you. My 7-year-old dabbed in at least 75% of our session a few weeks ago, I’m sure. Fingers crossed we got one…
But then within NO TIME at all, my glorious photographer, Jillian Lorriane, owner and operator of JLP, sends me the…sneak peeks. Holy shit. They are amazing. How did she do that? The light. The smiles. The sentiment. The beauty. You can’t even tell I’m whisper yelling through my teeth.
So what’s the secret? How did this happen? The perfect family photo doesn’t exi…
Sure Moms, you might think that YOU have thought of everything, or perhaps you’ve thought of nothing at all. But I assure you, either way, you do not have to do this one your own. You don’t always need to think of everything or OVER think everything, Mama. So here it is straight up.
Research your photographer.
- Look for your vision. Your esthetic to start… Go through your personal needs: Style, Budget, Timeline. Not all photographers are family photographers.
Location. Location. Relax….
- Location. Pick and move on. Your photog can also make anything work…seriously. In my experience, most have an arsenal of amazing locations to draw from if you are drawing a blank or simply don’t want that responsibility.
But what will I wear?!
- Relax on your outfits. Don’t go over the top. And be yourself. Do work with a palette. This does take the longest to plan. FYI.
- Denim is always a great idea for family photos, especially the bottom base. I just can’t say enough about the diversity of good denim because…
- Quick Outfit Changes. Yes. Do this. Denim goes with everything. Even if you swap a shirt, add a vest, a jacket, and an accessory that’s easy to swap in like a headband or scarf. You will get a wider breadth of pictures and experiences.
- As a bonus family photo session “hack”, think CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY cards. I don’t care if your shoot is in the summer. Bring a sweater and some tinsel. You are welcome. Do not take up shoot time for this unless it’s an actual shoot.
Coordinate outfits–not matchy matchy. Pick a color palette and go with that.Jillian Lorraine Photography
Giving Props to Props
- Props. LOVE! But, limit these! I brought a blanket and it was annoying to carry around…but also perfect. Our photographer was very happy about the blanket. As a side note, your photographer is not your assistant. Bring a backpack.
- Animals….well this is on you. We brought our 8-month-old golden retriever…I wouldn’t necessarily say he behaved…but he’s handsome as heck and part of the family. So again. It’s on you. Family Photo = Family.
- Kids and Husbands….just know they are going to misbehave. Tell them that this means a lot to you. Remind them you get up for them each day. Blubber to them you want to bottle up a moment in time to have forever. Prime them for a good time. Set the tone Ma.
The Sneak Peeks
However…when I got my sneak peeks, I hardly assessed our outfits, or saw any tension (the dog was less than cooperative), or even paid that much attention to the “location” because it didn’t matter. Truthfully, it was about the family photo. The perfect little beans. Their personalities shining. Captured.
Hindsight is hilarious and humbling.
But here’s is something to remember. Our Photographer was instrumental in SO many ways. And the good ones are. Again, I don’t mean in a, “carry our stuff” kind of way. Here’s what a good photog does to take control and totally enhance your family photo shoot experience and outcome.
- Good with kids! Duh. Patience is not a virtue. Y’all must evoke that from somewhere. Our most recent photographer Jillian Lorraine of JLP, came prepped like a pro with bribes for the children. I respect that. She showed up equipped with two cameras, a black and red gingham jacket dreams are made of, and a box of Timbits. Nice eh? The photographer should “take over” the family photo session with instruction for kids during the photo taking…You and your partner just turn on your top model mode. Kids tend to listen better to the photographer as well.
- Flow of Conversation. You can’t believe how important this really is. Our girl, Jillian was asking us questions non-stop, getting to know us all the while getting us to talk with pride about ourselves. Captured.
- Gives Instruction. McAwkwards coming in hot. I confess, we are cute, but we need tutelage. You know?
- Reassurance: She gave feedback immediately. Our Photog swooned over us, and even if she was lying. You wouldn’t know it. Be still my heart, within 24 hours, she sends you those said SNEAK PEEKS and you’re like…waaaaaaaaaow. And all is right with the world. Rest well, anxious mama.
Just for fun, I always ask for funny or ‘bad’ pictures that normally wouldn’t be included in a photo package. Trust me. Those goofy, imperfect shots will also bring you joy. Give it to me. Keeps me grounded. Ha!
These memories are part of the process. To the outsiders they see the photo. To the people on the inside, we know the story. And its all us.
Anywho, I hope these little timbits of information make your next family portrait session a little sweeter…(seriously, bring timbits).
*Photo Permissions : JLP
Photo Credit: Jillian Lorraine of JLP.
JUST BRING BABY HOME? THE NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION IS A WHOLE OTHER BEAST. CHECK OUT THIS POST OF MINE FROM THE NEWBORN ERA… https://www.herwritepeace.com/2016/03/25/newborn-photography-finding-rig/