Planning to Take Family Photographs

As a parent, it is your joy to take memories of your family together. Perhaps you want to take a new family picture for your holiday card this year. Or you might simply like to capture your kids at a certain age and have a photo to look back to when they have all grown up, and you have grown older. Maybe, you have a new baby or a new member of the family, and you want to update your family picture. Whatever your reason is, it’s a good thing to have a remembrance of what your family looked like at a certain time and cherish the present through beautiful photos.

You’ll often see sun-kissed photos of smiling families lying on the grass, reclining on beaches, strolling through parks, or enjoying ice cream, or blowing bubbles. But the off-camera reality of family photography is often stressful and far less magical. Parents (especially the moms) are more exhausted and high-strung, children are whiny, and the pet is only determined to turn his tushy to the camera.

To take beautiful family photos and to make sure everything goes well (as much as possible), here’s what you need to do when planning for the picture day. For all your important family events, make sure to contact these experienced professional family photographers.

A family photography works with families and their pets in a fun and relaxing atmosphere to create one-of-a-kind wall art.

Choose the right photographer

Choose a photographer whom you think your family will get comfortable with. Choose one wisely and try not to base the decision on price only. The photographer will orchestrate the shoot for you, so make sure you like their vision, style, and consistency. Look through portfolios and websites and find a photographer that suits your style. Having the right photographer at the shoot will make everything less stressful and more enjoyable.  Click here for more information on options.

Pick a simple location

Some families like to shoot in the same studio or location every year, while some like to change things up. To experience the new things you can rent a space by simply searching the “photography studio space near me” to get the best studio for your family photoshoot. Whatever you do, make sure that your area is right and look suitable in the season you are photographing.

Sometimes, the simplest spots make for the most beautiful shots. Posing for a lovely family portrait doesn’t require wide-open fields beside a mountain, large fields of flowers, or big architectural wonders. These backdrops can be great, but when push comes to shove, it’s best to choose a location that offers the best outcome. For instance, an open shade with a gentle light or the sun-free side of a building is a great location. Anywhere where light is soft, and even, you can shoot your heart out.

Plan it at a proper time of the day

The time and day of your photoshoot are going to make or break your photos. Do you want gorgeous golden hour photos? Schedule your shoot during that time of the day, even if it means adjusting your regular schedule that day so everyone can be well-rested and on their best behavior.

Plan the family outfit in advance

Besides the time and location, the most important thing to plan is your family’s outfit for the shoot. The idea is to look coordinated to showcase an atmosphere of togetherness. This doesn’t mean you have to get dressed in identical clothes (for instance, matching sweaters for Christmas).

A good place to start is deciding whether you like casual or formal photos. Choose one and wear the same style of clothes. If you pick a casual theme, all must wear casual. If one is wearing an elegant attire, then all must dress sharp. If you like your daughter to wear a princess dress, then don’t dress your little boy in a graphic cartoon T-shirt.

Plan the mom’s outfit first

After choosing the style and plan your outfit first. More likely than not, the hardest person to dress is you, the mom. Choose an outfit you feel amazing in and comfortable with. The best outfits are those that will pass the test of time, and not a getup that you will regret after a few years. The rest of the outfits of the family members can be coordinated around it.  You might even go with something fun like a reindeer outfit like these

Choose comfortable clothes

For best results, choose clothes that feel comfortable for everyone while still maintaining a certain look. Uncomfortable clothing can lead to fussy kids and self-conscious adults, and it will show in the photos. Before you confirm your outfit of choice, try it all on. See if it fits nicely and if it looks polished on you. Try sitting, kneeling, squatting, lifting, and carrying your kids. Does it still feel comfortable and look great? Then, you have your outfit. You don’t want a dress or outfit that will limit your movement and make you unwilling to try something fun.

Pick a color scheme and coordinate

You don’t have to wear clothes in the same colors (but you could if you want to). You can go neutrals with a pop of one or two accent colors. You can choose a summer or fall-themed color palette. Or perhaps you’d like to stick to the clean look of classic white and jeans look. This way, you can look nice without being too matchy-matchy. Try to lay out everyone’s outfits together to see how it will look like as a group. And once you pick a color scheme, be sure to keep in mind where you will be hanging the photo, so you can try your best to match your interior décor.

Avoid distracting outfits

The subject of your family photos must be your family – not your outfits nor the background. Avoid noisy patterns, loud and bright colors, large logos, or holiday-specific props. It’s also best to keep the busy patterns to a minimum. If you want to play dress up and wear costumes, keep it related to one another. If you choose a Justice League superhero costume for one person, then coordinate it for the rest – having random costumes will not make you look coordinated and united as a family.

Change it up

If you can’t make a full outfit change in between takes, at least have an accessory that you can change or remove during the shoot, like a headband, jacket, vest, scarf, cardigan, hat, sunglasses, bowtie, or something that can be taken off quickly. It’s great to have pops of color that can be removed easily, leaving you with a more neutral palette for some of the pictures. This will add variety to your photos, even if you’re wearing the same outfit from picture #1 to picture #265.

Primp in advance

Plan your eyebrow waxing, facial, eyelash extensions, hair colors, haircuts, or manicures at least a few days before the shoot. This way, you won’t have irritated skin, a new haircut that you don’t know how to style, or a dye on your scalp on the day of the shoot.

Feed your children beforehand

It seems so obvious, but sometimes the stress of getting everything good and ready means snacks and meals are skipped. Make sure everyone is well-fed before the photoshoot starts. Kids become grumpy when their hungry, and even some adults as well.

Get your family psyched ahead of time

Get your kids and unwilling adults excited about the shoot ahead of time. If they view it as a fun thing, they will hopefully bring their A-game.

Go natural with the poses

Choose poses that incorporate natural family interactions. Many amazing photoshoots miraculously come together out of the chaos, while photoshoots can be ruined by stressing out on tiny details. Be somewhere in the middle, relax, and enjoy easy living photography by making your poses natural. You don’t want to be the one who ruined the photos because you’re too worried about the details.

Let your kids be kids – don’t put too much pressure on them as they will appear frustrated and upset on the photos. If they don’t want to sit and smile, don’t force them; instead, let them run around if they please, and shoot that. They will cooperate with you better once you give them some freedom.

Pick your battles

It won’t matter if your little toddler refuses to wear the hat you brought. Forcing it might add extra stress to the child. Don’t use your precious shooting time to bargain with your child and convince the child to do what you want them to do. The shoot must be fun and light, not a lecture moment and a stand-off.

Manage your expectations

Don’t expect everything to be perfect; it won’t be. You can’t predict how your kids will behave, no matter how much you prep them. Remember, kids will be kids, and things can go wrong during a photography session. If you want to make family photo time an enjoyable experience – something your kids won’t dread repeating the next year – let their personalities shine.

You may also not get the other poses you planned due to time constraints, the photographer’s inputs, and others. You won’t get the super perfect pictures on your photographer’s website – you’ll get something much better: unique, beautiful photos of the people you love most.

The most important thing is to have fun, relax, and treasure the time you have with one another because your kids won’t stay little forever.

Fun Facts About Photography

  • Did you know the first photograph ever taken was by a French scientist? Joseph Nicéphore Niépce captured the image in 1826 with a camera obscura. It took eight hours to capture this famous image due to the camera’s long exposure time. This image was lost for nearly 50 years until historians rediscovered it. Niépce captured a photograph of the courtyard and outbuildings seen through the top window of the house by exposing the bitumen-coated sheet for several hours with a camera obscura on the windowsill. The photo was taken at his family’s country home and was titled “View from the Window at Le Gras.” 

Exhibit portrait Nicéphore Niépce in France image

  • Did you know that in the 19th century, corpses were one of the favorite subjects in photography? Clantons and McLaurys, who died in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, were among the famous individuals whose deaths were captured by the camera. But celebrities were not the only ones who have found themselves as posthumous role models. Even ordinary people were often photographed with their dead bodies captured in lenses. From 1860 to 1910, post-mortem photography was popular in Victorian Britain. These posthumous portraits were similar in style to American pictures and focused on the deceased, asleep or painted with his family. Family members kept these photos of dead images in family albums. 
  • Did you know that the traditional photography business was life-threatening? Chemicals used in photo development included mercury, silver nitrate, and caustic. These chemicals are so dangerous that many photographers have had to take time off from work due to illnesses caused by their exposure to the chemicals. Prolonged exposure to light can lead to insanity and even death. And it wasn’t just the chemicals in the dangerous developer. Early ingredients in flash powder included potassium chloride and aluminum, which were mixed to create a photographic flash. Not infrequently, these were accidentally mixed and detonated more violently than intended. 
  • Did you know that the first picture of a person was taken by accident? In 1828, Louis Daguerre took the first photograph of a human being. He intended to photograph the Boulevard Temple in Paris. The man in the photo was standing in the street, shining his shoes. The exposure lasted seven minutes, so the man was also caught. A cityscape shot from an upper-floor window features two people appearing as shadowed silhouettes in the lower left portion of the image. Neither are identifiable, but the man in the hat and jacket and the foot in the shoeshine kit are identifiable. The shoeshine man was in motion and looked eerie in the photograph. Likewise, most other people at the scene and the carriage moved too fast for Daguerre’s camera to capture.