How to Prepare for Family Photos

I know that clients can feel anxious with a family photo shoot looming on the calendar. Here are some tips on how to prepare and have a great experience:

1.  Get a good night's sleep and eat something beforehand.  Most sessions are about an hour before sunset.  In the summer months sessions can be wrapping up around 8pm depending on the location.  Make sure you plan for an early dinner so no one gets "hangry"!

2.  Tell your photographer about any quirks your family has ahead of time.  This could be things like: someone who always blinks in photos, a body part you are self-conscious of, if someone has a scratch or a bruise that will need to be edited out, or if there's someone you don't want in every photo like a family friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.  

3.  Figure out your outfits far in advance.  You don't want to be stressed waiting for something in the mail or having to squeeze in a shopping excursion at the last minute. Check out this blog post on What to Wear

4.  Schedule for the best lighting.  During sunrise and sunset the sun is at the lowest point along the horizon and therefore we have directional (aka the most flattering) lighting.  If you choose a location without trees or tall buildings or in a wide open field, the best time for a session will be around sunrise and sunset.  In fact this is the only time I will schedule a beach session.  If you choose a wooded area it will get darker earlier and your sunset session will need to be earlier to capture the best light or later if it's a sunrise session.  Photography is all about light and your photographer should guide you on picking the best time. 

5.  Don't be afraid to bribe the children!  I know it may not be typical for your family, but the promise of ice cream, candy, or a playground visit can go a long way to motivating kids to cooperate.  I can tell you what doesn't work during photo shoots:  punishments, time outs, and threats.  We have a short time together and it can be hard to bring back a child that is upset after being punished in front of everyone.  We all have the same goal:  Getting amazing family photos and making happy memories while doing it!

6. Trust your photographer.  You carefully poured over local photographer websites, read Google Reviews and studied the family photos on their website.  Now trust that your photographer has done this a lot, knows how to pose people, and will take control of the session so that everyone looks their best.  

Now you can relax and just enjoy this special time with your family!  

Family photos in Arlington, VA

Northern Virginia Photographer  |  Sarah Goldman Photography

Arlington, VA