10 Top Tips to prepare for a Photo shoot!
Parents often stress about their Family photo shoot, where to have it, when to have it, what to wear, who will be in the photos and how will it go!
I have compiled my 10 Top Tips on how to prepare to make it as easy on you as can be for you.
If some thought and preparation is put in the week or two before, you will find the day of the shoot as stress free as possible, not too much is required to enable this.
1. Time of day - the best time of day to book your session is when the youngest participants are at their best!
For Babies, toddlers and young children this is always the morning. Some may play well in the afternoons when at home surrounded by their toys and maybe when your partner comes home from work in the evening, (yes some do ask for an 8pm shoot) however from our experience over many years of photographing children, they do not enjoy being photographed at this time and are generally far less patient and cooperative. I’m a mum…I have been there, I understand.
Older primary and high school aged kids can be photographed in the afternoons, however, make sure Tip #5 has been fulfilled first.
Adults…well, theoretically you should behave for your photography session at any time, however after a busy day at work is generally not going to give you the results you are wishing for, so best to organise the shoot for a rostered day off, or we have found most people can organise a few hours off at the beginning of the day, if not book a Saturday.
2. Best location – We offer the best of both worlds, having a climate controlled Indoor Studio with state-of-the-art Studio lighting and also a purpose built OUTdoor Studio with great rustic backdrops.
The Studio is often best for kids under 1 year, it can be temperature controlled and provides a safe and secure environment. It also ensures controlled lighting and suits both contemporary and classic styles for family portraits. Studio lighting is an Art, not every photographer knows how to use it. I have specialised in Studio lighting for over 25 years and recently upgraded our system to the best available. I constantly try out something new to inspire and challenge myself but also to offer something different to you.
Our OUTdoor Studio is perfect once young kids are steady on their feet. With great rustic backdrops, a bluestone laneway, Antique doors, a rustic shed, textured walls and seasonal trees, it is perfect for all ages, including the family dog and creates a natural, 4 season, secure environment to suit most tastes.
Of course, we also travel to locations, the Beach, the Farm, your Home, beautiful Parks or another location of meaning to you. The time of day for outdoors shoots is best earlier morning or later afternoon for the best lighting in Summer, other months are not so defined and of course, an overcast day is a photographer’s best friend, lovely even light and nobody squinting into the sun.
3. Hair and Makeup -Generally, a great rule to stick to is NO haircuts on the day of the shoot. On several occasions, I have had to endure the dislike of a haircut ruining the shoot. The saying goes….it’s only 2 weeks between a good and a bad haircut, so best to book it a week or two ahead.
I love having my hair blow-waved by my hairdresser, I cannot achieve the same results so I strongly urge women to do the same if they know they will feel happier about their look. Your hairdresser knows your hair best.
Apply your Make-up as you would usually wear it to suit your clothing style for the portraits and avoid shiny finishes. Have professional make-up if you wish, I highly recommended this for head shots and folios for that highly polished professional look.
Is professional make-up necessary for a family portrait? Only you can decide that. I once had a mum not like herself in the portraits because she was so made up and didn’t match her family. Remember ladies to bring your lippy for touch ups.
We retouched blemishes, scratch and bruises all the time so don’t stress if the kids have these. Lumps and bumps are more difficult to disguise when it has altered the face shape. Kids run into things all the time, if they have a big egg on their noggin we recommend rescheduling.
4. Clothing – when more than one person is in the photos, clothing starts to play an important role in the harmony, likeability, and longevity of the portrait. Nothing dates a portrait quicker than fashion!
Keep it true to yourselves, after all, you have to feel fabulous in what you are wearing! If you have a unique style…run with it.
Most often the saying “Keep it simple” is a great rule to stick to.
Colour palettes that work well together and suit the environment in which you will be photographed are the most appealing. This family group below did an awesome job coordinating themselves in a blend of tones and complementary colours. The occasional pattern snuck into the blend but not overpowering.
Please do NOT be matchy matchy, all wearing exactly the same, no-one feels comfortable in that scenario.
Layering gives some great effects, combinations within the group of 3 colours and tones, add a scarf a jacket, a hat. Lay all the clothes out together and see if anything looks odd.
AVOID strong patterns and stripes that will distract and big logos, these date a portrait very quickly.
The most common complaint we hear from women is about their arms, this is easily fixed, wear sleeves. The next is weight, add a scarf to accessorize, this can lengthen you figure, flatter and disguise and add some panache.
I have created a Pinterest page with some great ideas that can inspire you, we are happy to share this link with you.
5. Well fed – make sure all are happily fed, full tummies means happier kids, adults…and better photos!
Having some healthy snacks with you for just in case is advised, make sure it’s not messy, sticky or likely to hype them up.
Obviously, it is not the time for a meal as photos do not get taken whilst chewing food, so best to have eaten well before.
6. Nails. You are possibly thinking an odd thing to add…..however it’s amazing how many times we hear the comment “oh you can fix my nails!”
It is incredible what we can do in photoshop but digitally repairing nail polish is not fun, it’s time – wasting and may cost you more than the manicure you needed to have before the shoot!
Clean, tidy nails, an updated Manicure, or remove scrappy nail polish off fingers and toes, remember to check the kids, so many 4 year-olds have the remnants of bright red, purple or black nail polish when they come to the studio.
7. Moisturiser is something so simple yet essential that can make such a difference, instead of flat dry skin it will give you glow, apply to everyone’s face, arms and legs if they will be on show.
Dark skin can photograph powdery when dry and light skin dull. Look how this gorgeous trio glows!
8. Pins/clips/hair ties are good to have on hand if your hair blows in the breeze when on location, nicely tied back hair always look better than hair flying about everywhere. Murphy’s law is that the best light means your back to the wind and hair blowing everywhere!
9. Prep the kids, clean teeth, faces washed and let the kids know about the shoot well in advance, start talking about it, get them excited and comfortable with the idea. Talk about what a special and fun family occasion it will be.
10. Arrive prepared to have fun…leave the stress behind you, don’t just focus on set ideas of the final product, some of our favourite shoots have turned out nothing like what was originally planned and our clients have loved them!
Embrace that life ISN’T perfect and just have fun. Great photos happen when often you least expect it, the child you thought would be the angel mucks up and the little devil is adorable, just enjoy and embrace how crazy, fun, individual and wonderful your family is!