5 ways to prepare for a family portrait session

Whether you’re perfectly happy with the staged portraits you’ll get from studios at Walmart or Sears, or you’d rather pay a little more for the services of an established, professional photographer, you can’t simply pop in randomly and hope to get the fantastic family photos that will hang on the walls of extended family and friends for years to come. If you want the best photos, you need to prepare accordingly for your session. And there’s more to it than simply selecting a date and making an appointment with whichever studio happens to be nearest your home. Here are a few tips that should help to ensure your family portrait session produces the beautiful, personal family photos that you’ll treasure.

family portrait session

  1. Coordinate schedules. The first thing you have to do is figure out who is going to participate in the photo session. Perhaps you only want your nuclear family involved. Or maybe you want to get parents, siblings, kids, and other extended family in on the photos. Either way you’ll have to take part in some amount of coordination when choosing a time that works for everyone. Even kids have school and activities that could make it difficult to get them together on your schedule. And the more people you add to the mix, the more difficult this collaboration can become. Of course, you also have to select a time when the photo studio is open and the photographer is available. So you might have to plan your session several days, weeks, or even months ahead of time.
  2. Coordinate outfits. You don’t necessarily have to show up in matchy-matchy outfits for your photo session, but you can certainly make the group look more unified by having everyone wear white or black shirts, for example. And if you’re doing holiday photos you could definitely consider adding props like Santa hats or holiday sweater.
  3. Consider the setting. Not every portrait session has to take place in a studio. You may be looking for a posed photo with a plain backdrop, in which case a studio is ideal. But if you want something a bit less traditional, you might also seek a photographer that’s willing to go on location for your shoot, meeting you at a park, beach, or other locale of your choice. In some cases your photographer can even recommend spots that might suit your needs.
  4. Get haircuts a couple weeks out. It’s a good idea to schedule your session a few weeks out so that you have plenty of time to prepare. And if you’re planning to get the whole family prepped for the portrait session, haircuts may be on the agenda. However, you don’t necessarily want it to be obvious, in which case you should give hair a couple of weeks to grow in order to soften the blunt edges and create a more natural look.
  5. Find a photographer that works with kids. Not every photographer has the bedside manner to work with children, eliciting the rapt attention, smiling faces, and beautiful, one-of-a-kind shots that every parent prefers. The best way to find a suitable portrait photography business for this purpose is to look at samples of work. When you visit the website for a professional like Amy Tripple Photography, for example, you’ll find shots that capture the personality of the subject paired with unique and visually appealing composition. This is just the kind of work you should look for.


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