Photoshoots can be so much fun and create lasting memories of a happy family, a loving couple tying the knot, and beautiful new babies, but they can also be a nightmare if you aren't prepared. Here are a few tips I like to give my clients before they come to a photoshoot so the experience will be a fun one full of smiles.
If you're doing a newborn photoshoot, check out this article for some great advice on how you can help your photographer get the best pictures possible: http://www.mcpactions.com/blog/2012/05/14/newborn-photography-tips/
1. Prepare yourself, your family, and/or significant other for reality.
What do I mean by reality? We are going to have fun!
Let your kids, spouse, or significant other be as goofy as they want, and if the kids want to run around and make silly faces, then that's fine. The stress becomes evident in pictures when a parent is annoyed about children acting up, and sometimes the best pictures are when kids are just being themselves! Just keep smiling at the camera and let the photographer take care of the little ones. I will jump around acting like a loon and promise sweets to your little ones to get them to smile. Promises of candy or cookies has an amazing effect on calming children down. It's almost as if a little halo appears over their heads as soon as the word "candy" is mentioned.
And don't think that the promise of food won't work on your husband or significant other as well. Their attention span during a photoshoot can last just as long as a child. Sometimes something as simple as a granola bar and a bottle of water can keep him going without any complaints.
2. Take a few steps back when it is time to take your child's pictures.
Working for a children's fashion brand has taught me that as much as moms think they are trying to help the photographer by forcing their child into poses, and dads making faces trying to get them to smile, in the end you are doing one of two things: stressing your child out, or making them look at you and not at the camera.
Your photographer should have expertise in getting children to smile. That means silly faces, hand puppets, or candy.
3. The fruits of your research and preparation will be obvious in the final pictures.
There are a few things that a lot of people forget about when it comes to setting up a photoshoot:
Props - Do you want a picture of your family sitting? Then bring a cute blanket to spread on the ground. If you don't have one, then most photographers do, but it may not be the style you want. Benches and crates are great props too for cute group and couple shots. Adding in something fun like a large photo frame or a chalkboard with something written on it can be fun too.
Location - If you are scoping out the location instead of the photographer, keep in mind what you want the end result to be. If you want modern looking pictures, then a studio would be better than going to a farm. Grungy brick walls will have a different look than a brightly painted yellow wall. A lake will have a different effect than shooting in a grassy field.
Outfits - Your outfits can sometimes make or break your pictures. A photographer cannot make a 10-year-old holey t-shirt look good in a classy photoshoot. If you are shooting in two locations, bring a change of clothes. I usually suggest doing a classy dress up outfit, and one that is more casual, but is trendy. Don't be too matchy matchy with your families outfits either. Sometimes it's best to let people express their own styles, but just make sure that you are all dressed either classy or casual.
4. Consider the timing of the photoshoot.
When you schedule your photoshoot ask yourself - will it be hot or cold? Extremely bright? Rainy and overcast? Each of these different situations can affect your photoshoot.
When it comes to the time of the day, it is best to take pictures around sunrise and sunset. Taking pictures when the sun is too high in the sky will result in harsh shadows and taking pictures when it is overcast will result in flat lighting.
You can get some beautiful sun flares and dreamy pictures during the sunrise and sunset!
If you are taking pictures anywhere between October through April, keep in mind that it is most likely going to be COLD. Set up your photoshoots for the evening during this season and dress warm (get your children in boots and heavy sweaters or you will be sure to see a lot of tears!) ...or just ask to do it indoors.
The same goes for the summer months. It is going to be very hot so dress appropriately and bring water.
Also, if you live close to the mountains remember that you probably won't see the sun for an extra half hour in the morning if the mountains are directly to the east, and the sun will disappear a half an hour earlier if they are to the west.