5 Simple Ideas For Fun Family Photos

When it comes to the dynamics of a family, nothing is ever “posed” and stiff! A day in the life usually involves chaos and craziness at every turn. Have you ever seen those family pictures where everyone matches, the background is a muddy shade of tie-dye blue, and the kids have gone bug-eyed from posing too long? I couldn’t imagine looking at a picture of my family like this and thinking, “Wow, this picture really encapsulates who we are together.” Um, I don’t think so!

Families involve happy times, angry times, silly times, crazy times, and everything in between. The only way to get the real-ness of a family is to find a photographer that can catch those in between reactions and go on a fun (no, really!) family photo shoot with you.

1) Go OUTSIDE the box (Or studio, that is)

Sometimes being in a studio just creates that stuffy stifled atmosphere that suppresses the real interactions of a family. I believe that each family member gets nervous because it is an out-of-the-ordinary setting and one no one is used to. So, get out of there! Take the kids and go to a park. Visit the zoo or go get some ice cream. For fun family photos, take a trip somewhere to do something your family is used to doing together. Your family photos will look more real, your photographer will have an easier time of catching those moments that make your family unique, and everyone will be relaxed and at ease with each other. No nervousness allowed!

2) Matching Smatching

I don’t know any families that wear matching clothing all of the time. If you want family photos that look real, look believable, and look like YOU, wouldn’t it make sense to do the things you’re used to doing every day? If you don’t wear matching shirts every time you leave the house, don’t wear them to the photo shoot! Wear things you are comfortable in and that make each of you feel good. Bright colors usually work the best for the camera and help each person to stand out from the background. My suggestion is to pick a color scheme and stick with it. Choose just a few colors for your family photos that everyone is comfortable with and looks attractive in. Blend – don’t match.

3) Ignore the Camera….no, seriously

I have seen so many occasions where people get in front of the camera and automatically freeze. There is just something about that big glass lens that makes people stiffen up and become nervous! The BEST way to become comfortable in front of the camera is to act like it isn’t even there. IGNORE IT. Tell the kids to ignore the camera like they ignore you when you tell them to clean their room. Yep, that should get the message across. The more you act like yourselves, the better your family pictures will turn out.

4) Photographer knows best

Moms, you may have to take a breather on this one. For your family photos, ask your family photographer for suggestions and tips on how to make your day more successful. For example, I would tell a client to make sure you scheduled your family photo session around your normal daily schedule. Be aware of naptimes, wake-up times, work-times, and any other time that you are used to during your daily routine. Also, be very aware of the time of day that you choose for your shoot. If you want to take a trip to the park for your family photos, don’t plan on having the shoot at 1pm in the afternoon. The light will not work nearly as well as it would closer to evening or late afternoon. Squinty eyes can ruin a picture! Always ask your photographer for some helpful tips and ideas to you can plan your shoot accordingly. Remember: The photographer wants to work with you!

5) ALL Day is okay!

Here is a fun family photo idea that I often like to throw out there: why not book a family photographer for the entire DAY? Have the photographer get the real low-down on what your family is like on an hour-by-hour basis. Booking your family photographer for an entire day of shooting will get many moments of daily life you wouldn’t capture otherwise. For the moms, you are usually the one taking the pictures, right? Or you dads? This way, you BOTH can be in the photos without having to set a timer and run to pose in front of the camera. These shoots produce photojournalistic style photos – ones that tell a story, moment to moment, emotion to emotion. Get the kids in their jammies eating breakfast, the family making dinner together, and the parents tucking the kids in bed. You could break apart the day any which way you like, just so long as you get the memories that you want to hold on to.

The biggest part of fun family photography is getting everyone to act in the normal way they do when together, without a strange camera in your face. When a family is real and comfortable with each other, the true spirit of the family dynamic comes across. Using these tips for better family photos, getting that spirit across to the photographer is what will give you lasting and memorable family photos for years to come.

What to Wear for Family Photos

In terms of guidelines for all family photography, studio or outdoor, all members of the family should be dressed to the same degree of formality or casualness. Typically, solid color clothing of the same tone are recommended. Avoid the look of one person standing out because of a bold, distracting pattern or a contrasting light top when everyone else is dressed darker. Clothing should be classic and timeless that will not date your family photography (solid colors are best – no stripes).

For more formal family photographs avoid t-shirts, sweats, and tight short skirts (sometimes people are seated on the ground). Also, this is not the time to experiment with a new hair style or extra makeup. Use makeup to cover blemishes if possible. Babies often spit up; bring them a second outfit if possible.

Things to avoid:

Clothing extremes. Generally, turtle necks and v-necks are good, as long as they don’t over-power the subject’s face. Bottom line, the subject should dress to feel comfortable.

Bare arms and legs where possible. Opt for long-sleeve shirts/blouses rather than short-sleeve. Women should wear pants, a long skirt, and/or dark stockings.

Bright reds and orange (they battle the subject’s face for attention). Darker colors are generally better than light colors. Colors like white, yellow, and pink tend to over-power the face and make the subject took too pale. In general, the best colors are medium shades of blue, green, burgundy, and rust.

In summary, it is important to choose outfits that will make pleasing portraits, and be coherent with the style of portrait you are planning. Remember that busy patterns, stripes and bright colors are distractions from the focal point: the face, or faces in the portrait. Color coordination lends harmony. While all clothing does not have to match, the colors should be harmonious, so that one person will not dominate the scene. Dark clothing tends to minimize apparent body size, while light shades do the opposite. Long sleeves are best for adults and older children.

Finally, in terms of hair styling and make-up it is best not to schedule your session immediately following a haircut. A week later is usually best. Also, your portrait session is not a good time to try out a new hair style. Women’s make-up should be appropriate for the clothing and portrait style desired. Most photographers suggest subtle make-up on most all women and girls, except for the very young.

Family Portraits: 6 Essential Preparations You Have Never Heard

Of all the thousands and thousands of images that we are bound to take with our cameras in our lives, none has as much significance and importance as the creme de la creme of portraits; the family portrait. Unfortunately, the family portrait is one of the most difficult images to get right and also to prepare for. Here are 6 ways you can help prepare your family for their portrait with a professional photographer.

1) FINDING THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER. With the digital camera revolution over the last decade, new life has been breathed into the interest of photography as a whole. Suddenly it is “easy” to take a good picture. Many say that “anybody can do it!” or “there’s nothing to it!” Oh, if only that was really true. The real fact of the matter is photography still takes great skill, practice and technique to achieve high quality results. While you are shopping around for a professional family photographer, view their portfolios on their websites and compare their work to others. Ask yourself:

  • Does each member in the family look good?
  • Can I imagine my family portrait looking something like this?
  • Does this work look similar or different compared to other photographers?

When you feel comfortable enough with the photographer’s work, give them a call. Yes, I said a call! E-mail is always an option but a phone call will help you gauge how comfortable you are with the artist. A high quality photographer will ask you many questions and see if the two of you are a good fit style-wise and budget-wise. The phone call should be a comfortable experience in which you see if this photographer is a good fit for you and your family. Always remember that the more comfortable you are, the better you will look in your portrait.

2) HOW MUCH WILL YOU SPEND? Portrait photographers are easy to find but like anything else you buy there are different quality levels to consider. If you are wanting a very high quality portrait, be prepared to spend upwards of $1,000 or more. Of course you can get away with spending only a few hundred with many high end photographers but you will be limited by the size and finish of the final print. High end portrait photographers will take great care of you and your family from the first phone call to the delivery of the final images. These types of photographers stress having a high quality experience, service as well as a high quality product. Professionals like these are in no rush and want to take the necessary time to create portraiture that shows your personality as well as accentuating your best features. If it is within your budget, don’t hesitate using a high end portrait photographer.

Not everyone can afford a high end portrait photographer so a “family member with a nice camera” is sometimes all that will suffice. Others will choose to hire a lower priced photographer. These photographers generally share a few commonalities. Some of which may include:

  • Inexperienced
  • College students still learning
  • Still building their portfolios
  • Lack of/limited knowledge in posing, lighting and expressions
  • Style of photography is mostly a culmination of what they see other photographers doing so they’re own work can tend to look very much like other photographers’ work
  • Limited products offered. IE: Print sizing, print finishing, print types, albums, etc. They might offer only a CD for a flat rate and leave the printing to you.

Choose a photographer that you are comfortable with that has a portfolio you enjoy and then see if they fit within your budget. Everyone wants a good deal and many higher priced photographers are willing to work with your budget or even offer referral incentives if you are unable to order more than a certain amount. Don’t expect discounts on prints just because you ask but many photographers will be glad to offer discounts on frames or specialty items.

If your budget is smaller, the lower priced photographer will probably spend plenty of time with you and give you a CD full of images but remember that the quality of the work might be a little more inconsistent. The saying, “you get what you pay for” definitely rings true when choosing a portrait photographer.

3. LOCATION. Congratulations! You have found a great photographer and now all you need is a location and your session will be underway! So where the heck do you take this photo at anyway? Assuming that a studio portrait is not wanted, for many, a nice portrait at the park with grass and trees will suffice. Others choose to photograph their family in their own home and around their property. It might help you to consider what your family likes to do together. If your family loves to go boating, an image created with the boat at the lake might make for a very special portrait. Are you into rock climbing? Camping? Outdoors? Whatever your interests, having an image created at a location that is specifically important to your family will offer much more significance and originality to the portrait. Get your photographer’s advice and don’t be shy with your ideas!

4. CLOTHING. This is the big one! If you want your portrait to stand the test of time and always keep that “looks like it was taken yesterday” quality, you must carefully choose your clothing. Keep it as simple as you can. Remember that not everyone has to match but keeping the same general tonality is always a good idea. Earth tones work best with just about any background or skin tone. Avoid patterns and logos. What looks good in real life will not always look as good in a portrait because certain clothing patterns will distract from the faces of the family. The main goal in a portrait is to see the faces without difficulty. The foreground, background, posing, clothes, etc. should all compliment the image but never distract from the subjects’ faces.

Imagine a family of five and they are all wearing black. Now imagine that one person is in a white shirt. The white shirt will now be the first thing you see because it is the point of greatest contrast in the image. The same goes with a family of five all wearing white. If one person in the group is in black, the black will be all you see.

Your family photographer should be able to instruct you on what to wear and offer suggestions.

5. THE PORTRAIT SESSION. “Oh no! My husband is mad that we have to take a photo and my kids are fighting and my daughter didn’t wear what I told her to wear and I have bags under my eyes because I didn’t sleep well last night…..” Sound familiar? A lot can happen between planning your portrait and having it taken. There are so many variables to consider but remember that your photographer understands this perfectly! Take a few deep breaths, relax, and trust your photographer’s expertise. Your photographer will work on putting you at ease during the session and make you comfortable with being photographed. He or she will be watching closely how the family is interacting during the session and will no doubt do whatever is possible to put you at ease. Focus your mind on how fun the session will be and how happy you are that the portrait you have worked so hard to organize is finally being created! Very soon you’ll have a beautiful, custom piece of artwork for your home’s decor, which brings me to #6…

6. DISPLAYING THE FINAL PRODUCT. Your session went great and the images looked amazing! You can’t believe how good you all look and how happy you are with the images that were created. Now it’s time to decide what you’d like to order!

Most professional photographers will sell your images to you ranging from wallet sized images up to large framed wall portraits that can be a beautiful sight to behold. It is best to plan ahead with your photographer where you intend on displaying the final print. Look around your home and find the right location. Take a picture of the location for the photographer and they will help you decide what will look best for your home. You might be surprised how small a “huge” print like an 11×14 can look above an entire couch or how a large image like a 30×40 can be far too big for your hallway. Measure the area you’d like to fill with portraits and your photographer will recommend what size of portrait would work best in that location and also recommendations for different sized images in a beautiful cluster of images. It depends on your current decor and your personal taste.

For smaller sizes, write down who in your family and extended family will want a smaller gift sized print (8×10 or smaller) and then plan on Christmas cards, albums, fun keepsakes, etc.

Have fun with your photographer and enjoy your family through the entire family portrait experience. We are all so lucky to have photography in our lives to look back on different moments of our lives and although it takes a lot of effort to create a family portrait, it is well worth the effort!

The Value Of Perfect Baby Photography

For some parents, baby photography begins prior to the birth of the baby. Once they get the good news about the pregnancy, many parents will take ultrasound images of their unborn baby in the womb. Each moment can be recorded right up until the mother gives birth.

After their child is born, many parents will hire a professional photographer to photograph their baby. Most of these photographs will be taken right after the baby is born or a few months later. This is the perfect time to portray the baby in all types of endearing poses while awake or asleep. These photographs will serve as constant reminders of some of the best moments of the parents’ lives and the beginning of a new one.

A baby photography session requires patience. This has to come from both the photographer and the parents because the baby will not understand what is happening. A good baby photographer has to be understanding and sensitive. The parents will therefore need to be very sympathetic and should monitor their baby’s comfort.

Parents often choose to use props during their photography session, which can help entertain and distract the baby; props can also help the baby feel more comfortable. In addition, props will enhance and give a unique look to the photographs. Depending on the needs of the parents, props can either be simple – such as baby toys, blankets – or larger and more intricate.

Some baby photographs include the baby’s parents. They can either be fully in the photograph or just parts of them, such as an image of the baby on the father’s hands or in a parent’s arms. These types of photographs portray a sense of tenderness and love.

Baby photography can be quick and easy to organize. Once the parents find a good baby photographer, decisions can be made regarding location – whether they want to have the session at home in a family environment or outside in a park or on the beach, which can provide a sense of imagination and a large expanse of space to photograph.

The expert photographers have a great sense to spot the exact expression or mood of the baby. Further, they know how to tackle the babies and photograph them. Quick and effectual service of these birth photographers will surely make you cherish. One call is all it takes to ensure that the priceless memories are preserved for life.

Themed Family Photography

Themed Family Photography, Anyone?

Family pictures are a lot more interesting these days. These days when there are lots of options people can avail of, the days of lacklustre photos are gone giving way to exciting themed ones.

Families who want their picture taken and displayed in their precious homes have several theme concepts they can based their shoots on. It can be about superheroes, a celebration of Halloween, a feature on Hollywood, musical and even on favourite television shows.

A picture may showcase superhero favourites of family members and they will surely have a fun time wearing costumes and pretending to be a hero while having their pictures taken.

Others who love different kinds of character may have a photoshoot with a Halloween-themed session where kids will have fun dressing up as pumpkins and bees while adults take on scary costumes.

For the movie-buff family, a Hollywood-themed family photography session is a sure-fire way to have a blast in the studio while having their moments captured in picture. Family members may choose from the many movies with exciting costumes and backdrops and the end result will be great photos for sharing with extended members of the family and friends.

Some of the possible Hollywood blockbuster movies where family photography can be lifted on are those era-based like Gladiator, Troy, A Knight’s Tale; those movies featuring unforgettable moments such as Titanic and The Hunger Games; or those magical themed films such as Narnia and Harry Potter.

Families who love music will surely enjoy a fun session with some of the greatest songs playing in the background while they put on costumes from Moulin Rouge or Hairspray movie. Those who would like a hip version may choose to have a pictorial based on the hit movie, Grease for a unique effect.

Television viewers who are fanatics of certain shows may also choose to put on costumes and makeup and be their favourite characters in such TV series like Glee and Chuck for their family photography. Both adults and kids will enjoy the colours and variety of Glee-based outfits while the serious ones who love spy series would like the serious, sporty, and slick costumes based on Chuck.

There are surely so many themes to choose from whatever fits the family’s mood and preferences. The theme is a great remembrance for get-togethers. It is also a fun way veering from the traditional family portraits lacking colour and vibrancy.