What to consider before you get your family photos!
Family photos are by far one of the most popular types of photos people will set aside time for! You can do them yearly. You can have special themes like the holidays, or anniversaries for certain family members. You may schedule them during your yearly family vacation, the point is there's always a lot of fun things to consider. Weddings make up the majority of our year, but family photos are no doubt a close second! Given all the different dynamics we get to see, what is trending, and certain challenges we come across when it comes to family photos, we wanted to cover a few things to consider when going in that will hopefully help to make your day less stressful!
Outfits! Probably the most common question we get is "what should we wear?". Perfect question! A lot of times people think they all have to match, which depending on the set up, theme, location, etc. this can be a great idea. You can also mix it up a little for a more natural look as in the photo above with the Raines family. They decided to go with complimentary colors instead of exactly matching which is probably one of our favorite schemes as far as outfits go. It mixes it up a bit, but no one stands out like a sore thumb as they all blend together well with a mix of whites, blues, and shades of pink. One of the things to consider with outfits will also be time of the year. In an area like Asheville, there are times it will be 90 degrees during the summer and during the winter it may be snowing. Looking good is important, but always dress comfortably because dressing to warm on a hot day or too light on a cold day will show up in the form of sweat, shivers, goosebumps, and awkward smiles!
Style is another important thing to consider when moving forward with family photos. Do you want more traditional styled photos with everyone together smiling at the camera like below? They are by far the most popular! Some of the little things to consider with traditional styled family photos are coordination. The bigger your family, the slightly more difficult it becomes as you have to account for everyone looking at the camera, nobody blinking, making sure everyone's face is visible, and on top of that you mean I have to smile? (not everyone smiles it's okay). We say all that to say this, be patient :) Traditional styled family photos are a process. There are times when everyone is going to be looking at the camera and one person isn't (even with good directions). There are times when all the kiddos are going to be doing great but one of them is going to have a temper or may not feel good, then right when everything is on point, someone had to run to the bathroom (never fails!). So go into your family photo session as relaxed and as ready to have a good time as possible. If you come in tense, it will likely add to any stress your little ones may feel, and believe us, they are so good at picking up on it!
Another Style of family photos that are becoming more and more popular, are lifestyle family photos. It allows a family to have a more laid back feel to their session. Sometimes dressing more casually and many times not even leaving their homes so that you can capture what life is like for them on a day to day basis. It could include anything and everything from a family in the kitchen making dinner together to a brother and sister having a pillow fight! Some of the scenes we as photographers will sort of set up or suggest beforehand, but ultimately it's up to you on how you want your family to be captured and the more natural the better as it takes out the awkwardness as we know not everyone loves having their picture taken. The photos below are a few examples from some recent lifestyle family shoots capturing the family just hanging out and in one photo, a little stone hopping in the backyard!
Another thing to consider, especially if you have a larger family is to mix it up! You know you are going to get the big picture of everyone so after that, why not try some different locations, or looks, possibly different combinations of family members as this will allow time for your children to get a few pictures with their grandparents or maybe even a few individuals. The big thing here is communication. Always try to envision what exactly it is you want from your photo session and communicate this with your photographer(s). We recently had the opportunity to work with a family on vacation in Lake Lure, NC and they wanted a mix of traditional family photos, a few engagement styled photos, and some of their children. This was great to know going in as it allowed us to plan ahead and scheme a perfect flow to the entire session without leaving anyone out, or getting anyone burnt out of the same photos over and over.
Lastly, kids will be kids! Just our personal preference but usually the best photos of children are just allowing them to be children. Consider letting them bring some of their favorite toys to the photoshoot or better yet, maybe there's a playground close by to let them play while your photographer captures them candidly in the moment. The photos usually scream pure joy as they are getting to move around, and most importantly, have fun, and with fun comes the BEST smiles! So let the kids be kids, and watch the magic happen as they open up for the camera!
Family photos are definitely some of our favorites! In many cases we are blessed enough to connect with families and make new friends! It gives us the opportunity to sometimes be kids again when working with little ones and just being in the presence of their innocence and happiness makes our day that much better! We hope some of these considerations will help you better plan for your next family shoot! Just remember, be patient, be happy, and don't blink ;)
-Jenny & Joe