One of the things I specialize in is capturing your child’s and family’s true spirit and personality during portrait sessions. Not just stiff posed photos where you look nice. Sure, you want to look great, but you also want to say, “That portrait is so THEM! That’s exactly the expression I recognize.”
This isn’t easy, as your children, spouse, and perhaps even you are possibly meeting me for a the first time, probably at a new location, I’m a stranger behind big black camera, and we are asking them to do things they don’t usually do.
But, as you’ll see from my images and these kind words from super-happy portrait families, capturing stunning images of your children’s true spirit is one of the unique things I deliver to clients.
While I focus (pun intended!) on local baby, children and family portraits, these tips will apply to anyone, anywhere planning a professional portrait session with their children.
Here are my top 5 tips for parents looking to have authentic images of your child and family:
Tip 1) Select the right photographer. Look at their portfolio, and see if their style is what you are looking for. Do you prefer posed images? Or more lifestyle images, where people are relaxed and not looking at the camera? Do you prefer indoor images shot in a studio, or perhaps in your house? Or outdoor images with nature as your backdrop, or perhaps in urban settings? An experienced photographer will have galleries for each of the types of images they shoot, and should have enough images to give you a good idea of their style.
Tip 2) Budget accordingly. Expect to spend money on the right photographer, since talented photographers are in-demand and appropriately compensated for their work. Something to consider: of all the “optional” things you will spend money on this year (restaurants, movies and concerts, new clothes, spa and hair services, those impulse buys at Target and Costco), professional portraits will be one of the most long-lasting purchases, giving you and others the most joy for years to come.
Two Key Tasks: Find a photographer whose style you love and budget appropriately.
Tip 3) Share advance intel. Tell the photographer a few things about your child(ren) in advance – things they like to watch, read, do. That will help create a quick connection and conversation starting point. Similarly, tell your child about the exciting event you are going to do together. Build it up as something special and fun. With your child, visit the photographer’s About Me section of their website – show your children the photographer’s photo, and a bit about them. This will make your child more comfortable with the photographer. And this doesn’t just apply to young children – even teenagers are a bit more comfortable knowing about the photographer (even if they won’t admit it.)
Two Key Tasks: Tell the photographer two things your kid likes, and visit the photographer’s About Me page with your child.
Tip 4) Follow the photographer’s preparation suggestions. A experienced photographer will send you detailed instructions on how to prepare, which go beyond just selecting cute clothes for everyone. Invest time in reading them and doing all the ones that make sense for you and your family. As I tell my clients, proper preparations can take your photos from Amazing to Mind-Blowing.
Key Tasks: Review and follow the prep tips. And if all else fails, make sure your kids are well rested, super clean (noses, eyes, face, fingernails, etc.) and select clothes your kids are comfortable in.
Tip 5) Relax. Once you have done all your preparation work, let the photographer do their job. I know it’s tempting to step in and tell you kid what to do/not to do, but that usually creates a more stressed/less cooperative kid, not a more cooperative one. Professional Photographers have plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and sometimes even a roll of SmartiesTM.
Two Key Tasks: Show your child you are relaxed and having fun, and trust the photographer to get amazing images (Because you did follow tip #1, right? 😉 )