Lots of clients ask for advice before their session, because well, not many of us get our picture taken professionally everyday! Now that you've set a date, time, and location, the real fun begins...what to wear? will the kids behave? what if someone's cranky (husband's included ;) what if it rains? what if someone's sick? The list goes on and on! My first advice is: breath! Now, here are a few other things to help you from this point until I say, "Okay, we've got some great images! We're done!"
No 1 What to Wear
*My first piece of advice is to be comfortable! I'm not talking about sweatpants and your old college shirt, unless that's your thing! I mean, wear something that makes you feel good, but you can also move around in. I like to move around during sessions. We may walk a little to change the background. I may have you stand, sit, run, jump, or even lay down. Of course I will ask you if you are comfortable doing that first, but 95% of the time I will ask!
*Second, white shirts and jeans are a little dated (unless that's your thing!) and so is the overly matchy-matchy. I like to tell parents to choose their outfit first...usually Moms. Moms tend to not be the center of attention from day to day, so I tell Moms to choose maybe a floral or patterned dress or top, then build everyone's outfit from there. Pull colors from the pattern to create a color scheme.
*Third, avoid large prints or logos. Your kid may love a certain brand and want to show it off, but you may not like it advertised in an album or on your wall a few years from now! Stick with solids or small subtle patterns.
No 2 Cooperation...from everyone
Not everyone is excited to get their picture taken, big or little. "Here comes some strange lady with a big camera AND she wants me to smile...no thanks!" What I like to do with the kids I photograph is take a few minutes before I even pick up my camera and connect with them. I'll talk with them and ask questions based on their age. Then I'll always start with group photos. They want to be close to you and I want them to be too. As they get a little more comfortable, we'll break up into different combinations, then individuals of the kids.
Don't worry about making them smile or look at the camera! I'll handle that! We'll get a few of those images, then I'll be having you all interact with each other, so we won't even need to worry about whose not looking or not smiling.
I was a preschool and elementary school teacher before having 3 kids of my own. I know when a kid needs a break! At that point, I change things up and sometimes we run! The kids and I will run or play a game and I'll have my camera in hand to snap away as we do.
No 3 Weather or Sickness
First, we live in Florida...there is a 30% chance of rain everyday for about 8 months! I pay close attention to the weather a few days before our session. If it looks bad, I'll be in touch with you to make a back up plan. I do not have a studio and work mostly outdoors. Overcast we can do...storms we can not. Sometimes we'll need to reschedule, so having flexibility for both parties is helpful!
Same goes for a family member being sick. Taking family pictures is the last thing they'll want to be doing! So, we will reschedule for a later date.
Again, breath! My hope is that you enjoy your session and can't wait to receive your images. I welcome questions or ideas you may have and can't wait to photograph your family!
Allyson Ward is a natural light photographer who specializes in family photography.
*Allyson Ward Photography will be relocating to Sheboygan, Wisconsin early 2019! Contact me to book your Spring/Summer session in the Sheboygan County area.