Family Photo Session Survival Guide

Who To Hire, What To Wear and How To Prepare!

Family Photo Session Survival Guide | Tampa Bay Moms Blog #Laura

Bring props for kids to get them comfortable in front of the camera.

Who to Hire – One of the most important factors in finding a photographer is hiring someone that you like and feel comfortable with. If you are in search of a new photographer, here are the basics:

  • Research – Ask your friends, Facebook groups, Google and Yelp! The best resource I have found outside of a direct referral is asking a local moms group. When they love their photos, they will let you know. Samantha Hayn, a natural light “lifestyle” photographer in Pinellas County, recommends website and social media as a great way to “get” a photographer’s personality; “Most photographers have a “about me” section on their websites for this very reason, or perhaps you can follow them on their social media sites as well! Also don’t hesitate to send them a email or message them, we love interacting with our potential clients!”
  • Images – At the end of the day, we all want the right to our own images. Select a photographer that will give you the rights and release to your final photos. Make sure you are getting the full resolution images.
  • Mini vs. Full Sessions – Mini sessions are usually 30 minutes long and allow you to a) test a photographer out for a fraction of the cost and b) are sometimes perfect for small children that won’t sit for a longer session. Before booking a mini-session, make sure you get to select your final images (sounds weird, but a photographer last year gave me her five favorites and I didn’t see anything but those five) and also check the price difference between a full and a mini. If a full session isn’t that much more, go for it. The added time with the photographer will be worth it.
  • Style – Make sure you thoroughly check out a photographer’s website to get a feel for the type of photos they produce. If their portfolio is mostly natural light, probably not a good idea for an indoor session. It’s best to decide before the shoot if you are interested in a photojournalistic shoot or more of a traditional portraiture session.
  • Location – I suggest letting the photographer select the location. They will know lighting, outcome and what works better than a brand new location!

What to Wear – Gone are the days of matching white shirts and blue jeans. Outfits should be coordinated and complementing, but not identical. When selecting your outfits consider the following:

  • Comfort – Kids that never wear collars will never wear one for a photo shoot and be happy about it. Same goes for dresses, tights, big bows and bow ties!
  • Personality – If your family is a Converse and jeans crew, show it. Superhero fans? Let it fly! Costume lovers? Fans of the stache? All fun ideas to show off during your photo shoot.
  • Weather – While all of us in Florida long for a picturesque Winter scene with boots, sweaters and scarves, it’s just not realistic. Sweating during pictures leads to not smiling and that is pretty much the worst duo in a family photo session.
  • Patterns – Most people don’t know that herringbone patterns and tight grids can have a moiré pattern effect on the camera. Don’t get too busy! If you do choose a fun print or plaid, use it on to the kids…not Mom and Dad.
  • Props – Seriously consider bringing your own. I’m not talking backdrops and balloons…I’m talking about your child’s favorite chair (unless it’s not complementary), a wagon, trike, books, animal or doll. While the props don’t have to be in every photo, it’s great to make the kids feel comfortable.
  • Color – Accessorizing is a great way to compliment outfits and add in color. Local Tampa Bay Photographer, Ashley Yvonne of Ashley Yvonne Photography, recommends selecting three main colors to focus on during your session. Here’s an example she provided – Coral, Navy Blue & Grey, based on a family of four.
    Husband – Navy Blue Slacks, with White and Navy Blue Paid Shirt layered with Zip up Light Grey Sweater and Grey Shoes
    Mom – Dark Jeans, Grey Shirt with Coral Scarf and Light Grey Shoes
    Son – Dark Jeans, Grey shirt with Coral and Grey striped Sweater and Light Grey Shoes
    Daughter – Coral colored pants, White shirt layered with a navy blue button up sweater and dark grey shoes and Navy Blue Headband
  • Accessories – Speaking of headbands, accessories are the perfect way to change up your look quickly mid-session.
Family Photo Ideas, Pinterest Board | Tampa Bay Moms Blog #Laura

Check out our Pinterest Board for more Family Photo ideas!

How To Prepare – What you should do before, and after the big day!

  • Exercise and Drink Water – That awkward moment the day before your session and you realize you didn’t lose 30lbs. Bummer! Even so, exercise the week of if you can. A natural glow comes through on the camera.
  • A Hair Do –  If you are going to get your hair cut, don’t do it the week of unless it’s the same cut you have been getting for years.
  • Makeup – Go to the mall and get your makeup done! Moms are always the last one to get ready for the camera so why not let someone else take away the hard part. The MAC counter at International Mall is one of my favorite spots for a fabulous look in minutes. Some brands have a minimum purchase while others have a flat rate. Call ahead for an appointment.
  • Dress Upon Arrival – And bring a backup outfit…
  • Pack Snacks and Water -Your kids will be hungry 10 minutes into the session. Trust me!
  • Breakdown – Let your photographer know before the shoot what you are looking for. If it’s 90% of the kids together, 5% just parents and 5% family, she will photograph accordingly.
  • Tag, You’re It! – Discuss “tagging” on social media with your photographer BEFORE the proofs go out. While it’s a great outlet for the photographer to showcase her work, your “surprise” Christmas session could get leaked in October.
  • Order Up – If you are planning on ordering holiday cards and gifts, the earlier the better. Here are a few of my favorite online card shops to check out: Pear Tree Greetings, Minted, Mpix and Pinhole Press. P.S. Don’t ever pay full price, all online card retailers will offer a discount at some point during the next month!
Family Photo Session Survival Guide | Tampa Bay Moms Blog #Laura

Have a plan for your photos! I love the simple design and two-sided prints at Pinhole!

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6 Responses to Family Photo Session Survival Guide

  1. Ashley
    Ashley October 27, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    LOVE it Laura! Great tips

    • Laura October 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

      Thank you Ashley! I loved your tips… #AshleyYvonnePhotography 🙂

  2. Samantha October 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    I love the article & you did a great job covering all the bases 🙂

    • Laura October 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

      Thank you #SamanthaHaynPhotography!

  3. Gerardo Luna October 28, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Hello. Another thing not to overlook is the photographer’s skill. A skilled photographer needs to be able to deliver great photos in any situation. A ” natural light photographer” it’s nothing more than a photographer who doesn’t know how to use flash off camera.

    Also it’s important to mention legal agreements. Licensing of the images. If the photographer is insured.

    Releases are also important.
    Great results are a must for a professional photographer. The devil is on the details.

    • Laura October 29, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

      Gerardo-
      Great additions, thank you for sharing. The only thing I disagree with is the “natural light” comment! I’ve found that sometimes it’s more of a preference vs. not understanding the camera. 🙂 P.S. Your stuff is certainly AMAZING. Loved the vibrance of your Tampa Bay shots. Best…and a shoutout so our followers can see: http://www.gerardolunaphotographs.com/p234943596