Family portraits are an opportunity to spend time as a family, have fun together, and create beautiful portraits you will cherish forever! I often get asked by families what to wear and how they can look their best. Here are some tips to help make this easier. If you have any other questions not answered here, please email me, I’d love to help!
Let The Kids Know
Tell the kids a photo session is coming up and share your joy with them. Don’t be afraid to offer an incentive for good behavior at the portrait session (“We will go out for pizza after if everyone behaves well”).
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute To Put Outfits Together
Coordinate outfits ahead of time and begin with clothes you already own. Don’t feel obligated to shop for new outfits. Kids will feel more comfortable if you select clothes they are familiar with. A new shirt or blouse paired with jeans or a skirt from the closet can often be just enough to pull together a coordinated look if shopping is needed.
Coordinate But Don’t Look Like Duplicates
Pick 1 or 2 colors for your family’s wardrobe and have each person wear that color anywhere (jewelry, watch, pants, shirt, dress, scarf).
Lay Out Your Outfit Head to Toe So You Don’t Forget Anything
There’s nothing more stressful when you are getting ready to leave for your portrait session and you can’t find the other sock. Make sure you have located everything you need to be dressed for your portraits so you don’t have a stressful time getting ready on limited time.
Wear an Outfit that Covers the Upper Arm
Often when we are grouped as a family to take photos, our arms are flattened down by our side, creating the look of a much larger arm than people really have. Women may often find this unflattering and not like their arms to appear larger in photos.
Get Good Sleep, Eat, and Stay Hydrated
Avoid high salt and alcohol prior to your photo session to limit under eye puffiness and retaining water. Make sure everyone eats a meal (not in their photo outfits) ahead of time to help reduce irritability.
DAY OF YOUR PORTRAIT SESSION
Floss and Brush Your Teeth Before Your Session
Put your best smile out there with clean teeth and fresh breath.
Bring Snacks and Kids that Have Eaten
Especially with young children, bring snacks that are easy to eat, don’t get stuck in their teeth, or stain their clothes. Also important is to make sure the kids arrive having recently eaten so they are in the mood to take photos.
Arrive Early and Avoid Rushing
Start getting ready well ahead of time to avoid feeling stressed and flustered. Aim to arrive about 10 minutes ahead of your portrait session time. Your portrait session will not be extended if you arrive late, so you will miss out on extra photos that could be taken during your session time.
DURING YOUR PORTRAIT SESSION
Enjoy Your Family Time Together
If you are stiff and feeling awkward, it will come through in your photos. Play with your kids, feel free to be goofy, give your spouse an extra snuggle. This is a time to capture the uniqueness of your family and the fun you have as a group.
If there’s an activity your family loves doing together, bring it! (a soccer ball, basketball, bubbles). It makes for great photos. Allow your kids to show off a special skill or talent they have (karate, dance, etc).
Bring Towels and Change of Clothes If We are at the Beach
If your portrait session is at the beach, bring towels to dry off as well as a change of clothes as a backup. You and the kids will get wet.
Bringing the Family Dogs
If you are bringing your family dogs, great! Please bring an extra person to hold the leash to ensure he/she is safe and happy so they don’t disrupt the shoot. Be sure to bring toys and treats for them as well as poop bags.
Let the Kids Be Kids
A portrait session can be stressful for parents particularly if they have a toddler or young children trying to run away and not listen. Don’t feel bad about them running off or acting up, this is all normal for that age. I often encourage parents to distract them by playing a game, running around, jumping up and down, swinging them, throwing them up in the air, letting them hang upside down in your arms, tickling them, asking them to look for an imaginary animal, anything to get them to smile, giggle, and laugh and forget about roaming. These all make for great photos.
I look forward to having fun with you and your family soon!