How to get your family ready for a family portrait

family portrait

It is time for a family portrait.  How fun!  You have a little planning and work cut out for you but the reward of an awesome family portrait is a gift that keeps on giving every time you look at the photo. 

family portrait 300x214 How to get your family ready for a family portraitThe more you can do upfront to make the whole family feel prepared and comfortable, the more likely it is that everyone will relax on set and project a natural pose.  This means that eventually, after a few shots, everybody is going to be looking at the camera and everybody is going to look good.

Here are five tips to get your family ready for a beautiful family portrait:

  1. Plan in advance
  2. Pick an experienced and fun photographer
  3. Use what you have
  4. Think about location
  5. Get your most wanted shots first

Plan in advance

Getting your family ready for a family portrait is a great opportunity to bond as a result of team work. It is also a fantastic opportunity to show your kids how taking on a big task and breaking it down into smaller steps makes anything more achievable.  With this life lesson in play, you are destined for great family photos.  Get the whole family together and discuss what you all want to get out of the portrait. Look at magazines or online for ideas.  If you involve the kids, everyone will feel a part of the project and will get a kick out of coming up with ideas and being in the pictures.  Plan themes, outfits, locations and even think about a few poses.  Keep it light and simple!

Pick an experienced and fun photographer

Another thing you can do to make sure your family has a pleasant experience and wants to make the family portrait a regular tradition, just like the first families of the United States in the White House, is to work with an experienced and fun family photographer. They understand all the dynamics of getting multiple people to feel comfortable in front of the camera, and looking good together, so you want to work with someone who has done it before. You also want to make sure the photographer is not stuffy, since they are going to need some personality and maybe even a few jokes to loosen up all the family members.  It takes a lot more than a plea to yell, “Cheese!” to get a great family portrait; therefore, a fantastic photographer with the right personality, as well as excellent technical skills with lighting, and composition, is a must.

Use what you have

For a family portrait, it may seem like you need to go out shopping for the whole family to look snazzy, but what you already own will do well. The most engaging part of a family photo is the energy that everyone projects to the camera with their facial expressions and body language. As long as you have clean unwrinkled clothing, with generally complimentary clothing that looks good for each person’s skin tone, you do not have to spend money for clothes. If the theme your family has come up with is comical or seasonal, then you may decide to buy props or funny little outfit add-ons for the occasion. However, do not purchase anything more than is necessary.

Think about location

When you call to book your appointment with the photographer, ask about locations.  Studio backdrops are straightforward, as the photographer can simply change the color to compliment your family’s clothing. Location shoots can provide much more interesting backgrounds but need to be scouted in advance. If you are working with an experienced photographer, they will already have an idea of locations that will work great for your family’s theme.

Get your most wanted shots first

On the day of the shoot, make sure everyone is well rested and nourished.  Although a family photo session will be two hours or less, it takes a lot of energy to keep posing and smiling for the camera. It wears out adults and children alike. Whereas you may be able to manage your dwindling energy, children may be less capable of holding it all in.  Crankiness and temper tantrums may ensue.  The best thing to do is head to the photo shoot with lots of patience, ready to deal with your kids if they get tired.  Furthermore, in order to make sure that you get at least the shots that you really wanted, meet at the specified location and establish the poses to get those completed first. And remember…Smile!

Alon David is the owner of Alon David Photography. Living in San Diego, he is passionate about capturing each individual moment as he sees it unfold.

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