These photography tips are brought to you by Jacadi.
Are you overdue to get some professional-level portraits of your kids taken? I certainly do my best to capture childhood on a day-to-day basis with my own camera, but... On occasion, it sure is nice to outsource this task — even if you have a fancy-schmancy DSLR camera. Why? There's something almost MAGICAL that gets documented with truly well-done professional portraits.
Below are 10 ways to ensure your next family photography session is a success.
Let's get started...
1. FIND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
Ask for referrals from friends who have children. Usually word of mouth is the best way to find a family-friendly photographer. (Trust me, not all photographers are created equally.) You want someone who is fun and charming and can bring out your child's natural smile. When reviewing their online portfolio, make sure they have a large section on kids. Check out their style to ensure it's a proper fit. For example, I wanted a photographer who could capture playful action shots of my girls for me, but also someone good at directing more posed positions (so Grandma would be happy, too).
2. DEMAND A MORNING APPOINTMENT
There are two reasons for holding out for an early-morning time frame. Do a little research about the art of photography and you'll quickly learn about the golden hour. Basically, photos taken in indirect light have a more beautiful depth. Pictures taken in harsh mid-day sun require the photographer to take the pics in "open shade." This works fine, too, but is more limiting. Our hectic schedule forced us into a later time slot, so the lighting restricted our location options. Don't make the same mistake! The second reason? Kids are almost always more cooperative at the start of the day. Take advantage of that window of opportunity for fresh faces and upbeat moods.
3. MAKE SURE BOTH YOU & THE KIDS ARE WELL FED
Have a nice, big breakfast before putting on your special outfits for the session. If needed, consider offering up mess-free snacks like Goldfish crackers for the car ride there — something they can pop into their mouth whole, without any messy drips or crumbs. There's nothing worse than trying to get a cranky, hungry child to smile on cue. Strike that... a hungry MOM can sometimes out-whine the kids. (This quote cracks me up. THAT is so me.) Just remember, don't skip breakfast; make sure you eat with your kiddos, too!
4. AVOID CLASHING OUTFITS
Coordinating outfits can be tough. While I've seen it done nicely, personally I'm not a fan of having kids wearing the exact same thing. I love designers who offer collections that follow a similar color palette across multiple styles. That way you can ensure your kids coordinate without overdoing it. I love these summer themes from Jacadi.
5. LET YOUR KIDS SHOW THEIR STYLE
Yes, I know. Yes, yes. You ARE paying a lot for the session, and you want everything to be just-so. What ROCKS about collections is... YOU pick which theme suits your family best. The child simply pics the OUTFIT that matches their style. So, for example, I told the girls that I loved both the Un bel été and the L'océan bleu collections. They decided that the Un bel été was their favorite. The name of this theme translates to "A Beautiful Summer." Love that.
Then I let them pick out their favorite outfit. I admit, I fully expected my daughter Rose to pick out the cute beige bow chinos. I can almost guarantee that if I would have told her she needed to wear a dress, a battle of wills would have begun. Here are the pieces they decided on... [so sweet]
6. REMEMBER EYES FOLLOW THE CAMERA
Do NOT bring your personal camera along to snap shots during the photo shoot.
It's tempting to try to grab a couple of quick phone shots for Instagram or Facebook when the kids are adorably posed. Don't do it.
The minute you pull out your camera or phone, you'll distract your child. Instead of looking directly at the photographer, they'll be looking at you. Get snapshots before or after your professional session.
7. STAY OUT OF THE WAY
Now, if you've done your homework and picked a family-friendly photographer, you should be able to quietly watch the shoot. In other words, let the photographer take charge of the situation. If you're constantly telling your child to smile or to behave, you're taking away authority from your photographer. Let them do their job. That's why you're paying them!
Let's just say... it took a lot of willpower to not tell Rose to "knock it off" with the bunny ears.
Our photographer handled the situation perfectly. She smiled, amused my daughter by taking the goofy shot, and then proceeded to get a gorgeous portrait afterward — all the while maintaining a positive energy with the girls.
Also, I know it's tempting, but don't ask to see shots on the viewfinder on the back of the camera during the session. Photographers do amazing things when processing photos. This type of preview is like asking to see a painting half finished. Plus, it can really knock off their "groove" mid-session!
8. BRING A PACKAGE OF WET WIPES
Being a mom requires you to be prepared for last-minute emergencies. Bring a travel pack of wipes for messy faces, dirty hands, and last-minute oopsies. It's all about the details, my friends!
9. BRIBE THEM TO BEHAVE
Ummm... I paid my girls for this photo shoot. Yep. Cold hard cash + a trip to the ice-cream stand afterward. The last thing kids want to do on a beautiful summer morning is stand around for an hour getting photos taken. The more I thought about it... I wanted to ENSURE the session went well. I mean, really, the cost of the outfits and the session add up. Then throw in the cost of the prints afterward. I think the up-front investment is well worth it. I wanted an insurance policy for the day.
I paid the girls each five dollars before the session and then promised another five dollars after, if they behaved properly. It worked like a charm.
There wasn't a single complaint the entire morning. Obviously, adjust the rates based on your child's age. I'd even offer a teen a twenty if it meant a lovely portrait!
10. BE OPEN-MINDED
Go into the session with an open mind. When our photographer suggested prop shots near the train tracks, my immediate thought was, "Nah. No thanks." I quickly realized that I needed to give her artistic freedom. Ironically, this photo ended up being one of my favorites. I love how the girls pop out because of the color of the outfits and the suitcase. I love the lines of the tracks. But most importantly...
I love that she has captured MY GIRLS. These ARE my ladies through and through. Rose, my introvert, clasping her hands and lovey Quinn pulling her little sis into an embrace.
If you chose wisely and then trust your professional photographer, they're sure to do AMAZING work for you, too.
BONUS TIP: GET AT LEAST ONE SHOT WITH YOU
Yes, I know you don't want to be in the shot. No one is saying you have to frame and display the pic in your home.
Be honest with yourself. How many photos do you have of YOU with the kids?
My digital photo library has 14,000 pictures, and I have probably twenty that include me with the girls. This is a constant struggle for moms. We are usually the one behind the camera. Take advantage of the situation! In our last photography session with the girls, our photographer Miranda demanded I be in a few of the shots. I was uncomfortable in the moment, but so thankful when I saw how lovely they turned out.
I think Rose's face here says it all... suck it up and DO IT. You won't regret it.
ABOUT OUR PHOTOGRAPHER: Miranda is am mom, a wife, and a natural photographer who appreciates the little, beautiful, and usually overlooked things in life. She loves listening to people's stories. Capturing special moments with her lens puts a smile on her face and heart. See more of Miranda's portfolio on her site. Follow her blog and Facebook page for ongoing inspiration.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”