I absolutely love taking family photos – not the kind where you stand in front of a faux background with a smile pasted on your face. But the kind where the person looking at the picture wishes that they were a part of your family 🙂 . When we moved to Hawaii family photos became my “thing”. I was literally obsessed with family photos. I wanted to take them for every- single-event: Zion’s first day at daycare-Call the photographer! Brown Sugar cleaned out the garage-Call the photographer! Zaniel’s ready for solids-Call the photographer! But no, seriously, I was pretty bad and Brown Sugar was annoyed, which is kind of surprising considering he grumbles all the way to the photo sessions but somehow manages to turn into Tyson Beckford every single time he gets in front of the lens.
But anyway, we had our first session as a family when I was pregnant with Vayda and I was hooked on the experience of taking photos as a family. But the pictures weren’t very good and they were extremely expensive, and to top it all off they were in front of an ugly faux background. After that experience I knew that I never wanted to look back at family photos and hate them again. Since then we’ve taken some great family photos and these are a few reasons why I think they turn out so well.
- Pick a theme. To me this is a no-brainer. I like everyone in the pictures to look as cohesive as possible. Also, picking a theme doesn’t mean picking a color. Think occasion, event, or an era when you pick a theme. For example we took Christmas photos this past year and the theme that I had in mind was “Christmas Party”. I REQUIRED (I’m pretty anal about sticking to my vision) that all of us girls would wear Christmas or dinner party dresses while all the guys would wear slacks, dress shirts and bowties. Also, everyone doesn’t have to match or wear the exact same thing but everyone’s attire should coincide with one another. Now, after I pick a theme, I scour the island for clothing that accommodates my theme. If you have a vision in mind, stick to it. Don’t give up even if you’re having a hard time finding a particular item. Keep looking – I promise it will pay off in the long run.
- Pick a photographer that you like and make sure that they understand your vision. It is also my suggestion to choose a photographer that will give you your prints digitally. Either through Dropbox or on a disc- I prefer to have mine on a disc; to me I think the pictures print better. In addition to the disc, make sure you’ll be able to get a signed photo release from them. If you choose a photographer that will give you the pictures digitally you can pick and choose the size and quantity of the pictures you want at your leisure. I print our pictures at Costco for a great price. If the photographer won’t give you the prints digitally they are NOT the photographer for you. The same photographer who did our first family photos gave me a free session, and after we took the pictures and were excited to see them she then handed me her outrageous pricing sheet. I was pissed. If it weren’t for my husband I wouldn’t have even bought them because I felt completely swindled. I can’t express this enough, GET YOUR PRINTS DIGITALLY.
- Get your makeup professionally done. Sorry, but that everyday tinted concealer, a smudge of eye shadow and lip gloss will not cut it. I usually get my makeup done at Mac inside of Macy’s and I’ve never been disappointed. Bonus Tip: if you get your makeup done at the Mac in Macy’s they only require a $50.00 product purchase which you’ll use anyway vs. the Mac store which will cost you $50.00 just to get your makeup done with no product to take home. So, I buy my choice of product that I was probably going to buy anyway, my makeup is flawless and that is one less thing to worry about. My makeup has always photographed well, I’m just sure to tell them that I’m taking family photos and whether they’re indoor or outdoor. Also please get lash extensions – it makes a world of difference. Lash strips photograph beautifully and I feel like they’re a necessity for professional pictures.
- Wear A Girdle For God Sakes! Sorry, but somebody had to say it. There is nothing worse than loving everything about the family photos except your gut. I’m just saying. Now of course don’t wear a girdle if you’re taking maternity pictures but that’s the only exception. Another thing, your girdle shouldn’t be visible through your clothes, and it shouldn’t be too big or too small. I love this Open Bust Tank because it’s smooth under your clothes and your boobs look really good with a bra.
- Get a Mani and pedi. Now this tip is optional but I think my pictures seem more polished and put together when my polish ties into the theme. Now as this tip is optional I feel its less optional and more necessary if you’re taking pictures that may show your toes i.e. beach pictures.
- Accessorize. This is something else that I feel pulls family photos together. It gives it that extra umph! When it comes to accessorizing think bowties, cufflinks, watches or funky socks for guys and necklaces, bracelets, hair bows and ear cuffs for girls. It’s very easy to overdo it when it comes to accessories so please judge carefully, you don’t want to end up looking like Xerxes from 300.
- Don’t do anything new with your hair. Reason being because if it doesn’t photograph the way you like you will kick yourself. Go with a style that you know you look good with, that way you’ll be confident and you won’t be disappointed. Now is not the time to try a closure or bangs for the first time.
- Have fun! I love candid pictures, I have so many professional pictures of my kids crying or throwing fits and I love them, because they show true movement and sometimes their personality can come through in the shot.
- Try to pic a venue that you like. If you can’t get a venue you like don’t shun the photography studio. Just ask the photographer for examples of the backgrounds they use but try to stay away from backgrounds with fake scenery, those are the worst.
- Stay away from large logos and branded names, it can sometimes photograph tacky and it can really date your pictures, remember Coogi? Think about how silly family photos in that would look now.
These are what I feel are my most helpful family photo tips, I hope that you like them, what are your favorite family photo tips?
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