Christene Schaaf is Owner and Photographer at C.S. Photography, Virginia Beach, VA
Thinking of having those family portraits done this year? Here is Part 1 of our guide to maximizing your session and getting the results you've envisioned!
LEAVE THE EXPECTATIONS OF MANNERS AT HOME: No, I'm not telling you to let your kids run wild... well kind of. Your photographer is looking to capture your kids. That spark that makes you smile and say "Yep, that's him!" Kids feed off the energy from their parents.
Each photographer has a process for getting children comfortable in front of the camera. When parents intervene by telling them not to throw the rocks, or sit up straight, you've just blocked that creative energy the photographer was building up. If the photographer is working to capture an individual image of your child, consider giving him or her some space to engage with your child without the child feeling the parental hover.
NEVER USE THE WORD “CHEESE”: Your photographer will cringe if you say this to your child during a shoot. We are looking for those natural smiles, smirks, and frowns. As soon as you utter the word “cheese” or “smile” an expectation is set and kids automatically go into a wide mouth smile, straining to please you. Your photographer will know how to engage with your child and interact on a natural level. She/he will also be able to redirect your child if need be.
TIME OF DAY MATTERS: Photographers will almost always recommend scheduling a session around sunrise or sunset. The light is most flattering at this time and you will be much more pleased with the results than if you scheduled for high noon when your photographer will have to work with flat lighting.
That being said, some children aren’t capable of handling the flexibility of a later bedtime and working with difficult lighting is the lesser evil than working with a child who is so tired they just aren’t themselves. If possible, try adjusting naptimes so they are fresh and awake at your scheduled shoot time. But if not, then your photographer might suggest locations with more shaded possibilities to bring in that softer light to your portraits. Consider a sunrise shoot too for families with younger children. Most of the time they are early risers anyway and sometimes, to the parent’s dismay, have the most energy.
Whatever time you and your photographer decide, be prompt to your session. A half hour time makes a difference when it comes to sunrise or sunset lighting and your family portrait may feel rushed if your session doesn’t start on-time. Make sure your children are well fed and have used the bathroom. Having a few emergency "neat" snacks or treats may be a good idea as well. Lollipops and other dyed food will leave stains around mouths. And just a reminder for the parents, please do not chew gum during your session. It will show up in your pictures.
Part 2 of the parents guide will talk about when to schedule, what time of year, how to pull together outfits and how to find the perfect photographer that fits the style you've envisioned!
About the author: Christene is a natural light photographer out of Virginia Beach, VA. She specializes in capturing families, children and newborns for luxe life art home decor. She is also a mother of 2 boys and is a proud Navy wife. You can find more of her work at www.csphotopro.com.
Photo Credit: Marta Locklear; www.martalocklearphoto.com
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