A beautiful family photograph can capture time and harness memories. Kids grow up quickly, fashion and hair styles change and life evolves, but a family portrait will last forever. They are an investment worth making. Here are some tips from professional photographer Michelle Suacci of MJS Images in Sonoma County, California to help you create a beautiful image:
1) Photo Placement
When planning for your family’s photo session, first think about the final destination of your images. Whether the portraits will be displayed as décor in your home, office or used as a holiday greeting card. Considering the placement, and how the photos will ultimately be used, also helps determine the color scheme or theme for your portraits. This can be very helpful when selecting your outfits and location choices for your session.
Always plan to schedule your family’s photo session when your children are happiest. Try to avoid scheduling near nap time, meal time or if they are coming down with a sickness or getting over one. Making sure your children are well rested, fed (having a snack right before shoot helps) and in good spirits will make everyone happy and the session go much smoother. Also, I find giving them a reward to look forward to helps give kids' motivation to cooperate or having a treat like fruit snacks on hand to coax them into focusing when they start to lose interest is a good trick.
Coordinate, don't match! Everyone wearing white shirts, jeans and barefoot is outdated and over-done. Also, when everyone wears the exact same color, it’s hard to differentiate each body line and pictures end up looking flat or boring. It’s best to pick a color family and do different shades or hues of it. However, stay away from colors that will blend or clash with your surroundings. Layering and accessories are always great to incorporate; it can add detail and depth to a photo. Also, you can achieve multiple looks without doing many wardrobe changes and they can also be something that you or your children can interact with to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Definitely avoid anything with logos, labels or character shirts such as Mickey Mouse, etc. These tend to make your photos look less professional and can be distracting. Most of all, wear something you are comfortable in. If you are not comfortable it will most likely transpire into your photos.
4) Relax and have Fun
Have fun and let loose! Most people get nervous before their session, worried if their children are going to cooperate or stressed about their clothing, poses or if they chose the right location. You have to leave this all behind you and go into your session with an open mind. If Mommy and/or Daddy are stressed then most likely your children will be too. It is best to make your session more about the moment and the time spent together as a family and less about the perfect shot. Chances are your photographer will capture better more natural photos if everyone is relaxed and having fun.