September 08, 2015

5 Tips to Family Photographs

As beautiful as family photos are, they can become stressful at times...but they do not always have to be!  Here are my 5 tips on making your next photo session less stressful & more magical!

TIP ONE // FINDING A PHOTOGRAPHER

Not all photographers are equal.  The best place to find a photographer is through recommendations of friends and family.  Ask on Facebook or other social media outlets for recommendations. Sort through all of those recommendations by visiting their social media sites, blog & website to find the perfect one for your family.  There are many different artistic photographic styles out there.  Pick the photographer who best fits your stye, budget & location.  I picked Christina Campbell of Eternal Treasures Photography in the Middle Tennessee area because I adored her light, lifestyle approach to photography.  Having our photographs not in a studio but on location was very important to me in my decision on hiring her.  When we talked on the phone to book the session, I knew that we would be a good fit to work with!  It is important to click before they click! ;) Since working with her that first time, we have used her over a dozen times between our family photography and business photography!

 

TIP TWO // DECIDING ON LOCATION & THEME

With our family photos, I dreamt up what I would consider my dream photoshoot session.  Since I have three boys who do not like to sit down or pose for photos, I discussed doing an 'Enchanted Forest' theme with our photographer.  She suggested a beautiful state park that was nearby.  Photographers are an excellent resource on great locations.  If you want to do a more of an urban city theme, ask your photographer what areas are best for accomplishing that theme.  They might include old brick walls and fun city bridges!  Location is key to a great photo session! 
We love reading to our boys, so we wanted to include this in our photographs. Ask your photographer what props he or she has may have that will work with your theme.  I adore anything vintage, so our photographer brought a vintage quilt for us to sit on in the woods.  I started collecting props of my own as well.  By doing this, you will guarantee that your photo session is unique and one that will represent your family.  I ordered a vintage copy of Robin Hood & his Merry Men.  Because my boys are active, I wanted to get photographs of them playing, but still keeping with our Enchanted Forest theme.  Because we had photos of us reading Robin Hood to our boys, we had photos of our boys acting out the adventures of the book with homemade swords & a handcrafted bow and arrow set!

TIP THREE // STYLING YOUR OUTFITS

One of the hardest things to do is coming up with outfits for your family photographs.  Shopping can be really stressful & may be the one thing stopping you from getting family photos done! You already know where you are getting your photographs done, so let that be a jumping point for picking out your outfits.  If you are getting photos taken at the beach, consider swimsuits, shorts or sundresses!  Or maybe your photos will be in the Autumn time so think jeans, layers, hats & cute boots!  In our case, our session was going to be in the forest in the middle of the summer.  Shorts and short sleeves were a must!  Consider coming up with a color pallet.  My favorite color right now is mint.  I shopped around for different shades of the color mint & decided on tan as a coordinating color for my family's outfits.  I picked out clothes that would fit their style & personality.  I wanted their outfits to reflect us as a family! If you are at a loss at coming up with outfit ideas, go on Pinterest and search "Family Photos What to Wear" for an unlimited amount of ideas!
Because we decided on an Enchanted Forest theme, I HAD to wear an outfit as close to looking like a princess as I could. I found the perfect tulle skirt at Shabby Apple and of course a necklace from our shop! I paired it with a casual mint t-shirt as to coordinate it with the casual outfits of my husband and boys.  Take risks & have fun with your outfits!

TIP FOUR // RELAX & JUST GO WITH IT

It is great to be prepared & to have a vision of what you want...but when you get there, get ready to throw it all out the window!  Nothing goes as planned when taking photographs with your family!  My photos may look magical & peaceful, but let me be honest here: we were a mess!  My boys didn't want to smile or pose.  My middle son wanted to be anywhere but in the woods taking the photos....actually his feelings were shared by my husband as well.  Luckily, they did this because they loved me, not because they wanted to do this!  I was talking through my smiles, "If you do not start smiling right now, you will not get any ice-cream afterwards"!  To prove it, take a look at a few photos that weren't so magical: In the photo on the left, the expression on my oldest son's face was like, 'oh gosh, when is this going to be over, my middle son had the look of despair on his face in the middle photograph, and the photo on the right I am snapping at my oldest to stop looking around and my son in my lap is totally not interested in the book we are reading!  I can't even imagine the other shots our photographer took that never made it to the finished photos!!

But the magic of a having great photographer is being able to capture the sweet & non-chaotic moments of the photo session.  Be flexible & open to your photographers artistic eye.  Your position or photo spot may have you raising an eyebrow, but your photographer sees past the surroundings and sees a beautiful photograph in the making! Trust your photographer!

Be prepared for the unexpected as well!  We happened upon two fawns in the woods who made a debut into our enchanted forest theme!  You can NOT plan for that!

TIP FIVE // JUST THE TWO OF YOU

Do not forget to have photos taken of two who started your family: you & your spouse!  Yes, it may be uncomfortable to have photos taken of just the two of you, but you, your children and grandchildren will cherish those photographs in the years to come. Request to have your photographer capture the bond & team you have built over the years.  Just because the wedding is over, having your life documented as a couple should not end.  Build a collection of photos of the two of you...give your family something to work with when they are planning your 60th wedding anniversary! ;)