Tips for taking the perfect family photo

Tips for taking the perfect family photo

Taking a family photo seems like an easy task, but many things can go wrong without proper planning.

Consider the following tips when planning your next photo session.

Find an experienced photographer

The most important factor to consider when taking family photos is the photographer. Anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer, but find one that has experience shooting families with people of all ages.

You can find local photographers on Angie's List and read reviews of past clients. It's a great idea to spend time looking through photographers' websites so you can see examples of their work and get ideas for your own photo shoot. A photographer's portfolio is his/her best reference, as it shows direct examples of the work.

Choose the right location and time

If you're wanting outdoor photos, consider the look you want to achieve. If you want a spring photo with lots of blooming flowers, consider a garden or a park. If you want a hip, urban look, consider a downtown shoot near buildings or local monuments. Think of places that will add - not detract - from the photograph.

Share your ideas with your photographer, as some places might have restrictions on photography permissions. If you're not sure of the best location, tell your photographer. An experienced one will have great local ideas to share. Also, be conscious of the time of year. Try to schedule for nice weather that's not too hot or cold.

Don't go overboard with a themed shoot

Themes can help build a cohesion in a photograph, but don't go overboard. If you want a holiday theme, consider wearing festive colors, and choose an appropriate location. Don't go overboard with the clothing and props, as too many elements relating to a theme can be distracting.

Choose timeless, classic clothing and hairstyles

You know those families who wear matching sweaters in their photos? Chances are, someone in that picture regrets it years down the line. Wearing coordinating colors or complimenting outfits can also help add to the theme or location without going too far. Be conscious of hairstyles and makeup and make sure no one in the family is sporting an on-the-moment trend that might be later regretted. Make sure everyone in the photo looks as classic and timeless as possible.

Plan ahead and schedule at a time best for you, not the photographer

The one thing that ruins most photo shoots is not planning ahead. It is vital that everyone is looking forward to the shoot so that things can run smoothly. This means that everyone has their makeup, hair and clothes ready at least an hour before the actual shoot. This is highly recommended so that the photographer will not have to spend precious time waiting for people to get dressed, as most photographers are paid per hour. If you have small children, don't schedule a session during naptime or snack time. Pick the time of day when everyone is at their best. If your photographer can't work around your schedule, find one that can.

Make it a fun experience

Having a family photo shoot should be fun and should be a time for bonding. Don't forget that these pictures will be looked at for years to come so you want to be able to truly show your happiness through the pictures. You don't want to look at the photos years later and remember the bad things that happened that day or what went wrong. You want to build the best memories possible. If things don't go as planned, go with it. Not every photo shoot goes perfectly, but be thankful for the day spent with your family.

Have tips on how to make a family photo shoot work? Share with us in the comment section below.

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