1. Choose the right time of the day.
It is best to avoid being photographed in a very harsh light. Whenever possible, schedule your photography session early morning or later in the afternoon or evening, before it gets too dark. Your photographer might use reflectors, flash, diffusers or work in a shaded area to make the light softer and more flattering.
2. Dress for the occasion and coordinate the look.
Think what mood you would like to create and dress accordingly. Do you want it to be romantic, casual or perhaps very elegant and sophisticated? Will such look work well with other family members you would like to be photographed with? Can they dress in a similar style? Also avoid strong patters, stripes, logos and outfits which look very dated. You would like to enjoy these photos in years to come. Try to coordinate the colours each of you are wearing so they look well together. Also make sure your hair is properly styled, there is no hair covering your eyes or strain hairs on the face. Also pay attention to the nails. Small details can ruin the pictures, so keep and eye on them.
You might like to use some special props, which could help you to support the look you are after and allow the family members to relax. They could also make your pictures look more realistic.
Here in the sample from a recent family photography session I did. We have chosen to work with soft, neutral light colours and natural fabric like cotton and linen, which worked well with rich background colours and afternoon lighting.
3. Choose the location well.
Think about what location would work best for the photoshoot you are going to do and also at what time of the day the lighting would be best there. Try to imagine, or check in advance, from which side the light will be coming, and if it will be in full sun or shade. Will it support the mood you are trying to create? Is it proper for the outfits you will be wearing? Keep in mind that some locations might required a special photography permit and you, or your photographer, need to obtain them in advance.
For example in the sample session you see here, we wanted to create casual photographs of a family having fun together, so we have chosen and outdoor location when they could go for a walk or play together.
4. Try to capture feelings and do not rush.
During your photoshoot, try to have some natural looking interactions between family members, so your photographer can show the feelings and catch unique moments. Give yourself and other members of your family some time to get into it and relax a bit, so you will look more natural and not tense. Do not rush during your photography session. Schedule at least 2 hours of interrupted time, or more if you have to go to more than one location.
5. Have fun and experiment.
Allow the photographer to take photographs you have planed, but also don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas you or the photographer might have while on location. Perhaps you would discover some amazing new places you didn’t think about before, see some wonderful lighting you would like to take advantage of. Allow yourself and other family member to play, have fun and just have good time together. Important are not only the photographs, but also the memories and experience you will have while having your pictures taken. At the same time, remember always to keep an eye on children and other members of the family so they don’t get into some dangerous situation like falling from the cliff, into the water etc.
6. Avoid distractions during your photography session.
Turn your cell phone off or at least have the ring turned off and do not answer the phone, check messages or text during your photography session, unless it is an emergency. Technology could be helpful, but to have great pictures done, it is best to avoid distractions and to stay in the moment enjoying the process. You can always check your messages later.
7. Book Your Photography Session in Advance.
It is best to book your photography session well in advance to take advantage of the best time of the year to be photographed in (like warmer months of the year, or when you have some free time) and to make sure the photographer you choose is available. It will also give you more time to choose the right location, buy or rent necessary outfits or props. You might be also able to take advantage of special discounts that would be available only during some time of the year. This way you could have the best session photography possible and also save money on the cost of your photo session and prints.
If you only follow these 7 tips, I am sure your family photographs will look much better and you would enjoy the process of having them taken so much more.
About sample photographs in this article:
Here are some samples of a family outdoor photography session I did recently. I have photographed a young family with a single child. It was still pretty warm, early Autumn day and the afternoon light was just beautiful. I tried to work with it and have added some fill-in flash to make it all even more flattering. I think we have fun and here are some photographs from this session. They will certainly be a great addition to a family album, could be used as a wall decor or for Christmas greeting cards.
If you would like to book a family photography session with me, I would be happy to do it for you. Please just contact me for more information.
A Copyright notice: This article and photographs in this blog post are copyrighted by Renata Ratajczyk and can not be used without her further permission. You are welcome to share a link to this article. We welcome inquiries from magazines and other blogs regarding publishing this article or using our photographs. Please contact us for more information.