Have you ever been scrolling Instagram and come across some absolutely stunning photos… that took you totally by surprise, but you couldn’t help stop and look at them? Maybe you even went to their profile and got sucked down the rabbit hole of ooh-ing and ahhh-ing at their photos all night, dreaming about seeing your own family in them! Trust me, as a photographer, I’ve been there. And as you are planning your summer and fall sessions this year, I want to provide you with some practical tips you can do, to add the extra umph to your own images. Find a photographer who has a consistent look throughout their portfolio, looking at this formula for reference, to gain confidence they can produce a style you love.
Location will make the biggest difference in what the final images will look like, in my opinion. The location you choose adds colors and textures to your photos, and affects the lighting that’s happening. If you’re in the forest, you’ll have green, dark pictures. If you’re on the beach, you’ll have light grey, maybe beachy brown, bright pictures. In a studio… same thing. Pick your backdrop and customize it to your heart’s desire! Your photographer should have a few favorite places they tend to go to, to create the images you’ve come to love. Trust them. Don’t be afraid to offer suggestions, but know there’s a reason they choose what they do! It’ll be worth any inconvenience to walk or drive a bit to get to your destination.
The number one thing my clients always ask me is, “what should I wear?” My go to recommendations are usually light – colored neutrals, fabrics with texture, dresses with some movement, and small complimentary patterns. It’s become such an art, that I decided to just curate my own collection of clothing to lend to my clients for their session – the client closet. It is available for all of my sessions. Wardrobe paired with location create the color palette for your images. This is the foundation for jaw-dropping family photos!
Time of day will dictate what the lighting looks like for a natural light photographer (that’s me). I try to do all my sessions at sunset, at the infamous “golden hour”. While there are plenty of options here, I really do want all of my clients to get what they see me post from other families. If it’s cloudy, or rainy, YES you technically can still take the photos, but they will look different. I prefer to reschedule and wait for the sun to come out.
Creative posing and prompts help tell a story throughout your gallery. It’s always essential to have one photo of everyone looking, and preferably smiling, at the camera. Who doesn’t want that for their Christmas card, or to put a big framed piece of artwork above the dining table, for instance? But adding in more artistic, candid photos of your family in the gallery is what makes a gallery go from good, to great. These are superb for wall trios, or wall galleries – imagine them in your entry way, or in a gorgeous album on your coffee table. Your family is a work of art! Display it like one 🙂
Great posing includes some general rules of thumb for making you look better – bend your front leg at the knee, tilt your head up, move in closer, etc. Prompts are actions that your photographer will tell you to do. Instead of me saying to you- “ok, you stand here, and baby goes here, etc.”, I’ll tell you to hold hands and play follow the leader. OR I’ll give you other instructions of a game to play, or something for your hands, feet, eyes to do. It is more comfortable for everyone, and you look that much more natural in your photos. And they make for great photos, too!
Now you have it. My secret formula for jaw – dropping family photos! These are the points you look for when you are searching for a photographer, or planning a session with one. They really aren’t *hard* things, but yet they affect your gallery in a GIANT way. When considering a photographer, check out their portfolio, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. You can have beautiful images of your family too!
I also have a post entitled, “Little ways to look your best at your family photo session” that has much more personal, smaller things you can do as your session approaches!
Thank you for reading this post. If you liked it, let’s be friends on Instagram!