8 Tips for Beautiful Family Photos


Family photos are one activity many families dread. What’s meant to be a fun, memorable event can quickly become a stressful, panic-inducing nightmare. Here are some tips from PPA family portrait photographers to help your family take beautiful photos.

Info provided from ppa.com

1. Find the right photographer.

Best case scenario, meet us to ensure there is mutual chemistry between us. Even better, let your kids meet us with you to see how they and we relate to each other. Like most photographers, we perform better when we have a good connection with a family… and it shows in the pictures. Also review a photographer’s online portfolio, pricing and policies, and customer reviews. Do you want a large portion of your session to be in black and white? Be sure to let us know, we love the contrasts of black and white. If you want a natural, candid session with minimal posing, check the part of our work which reflects that. As your photographers we want to make sure we understand your vision, if not, we'll suggest you find someone whose work communicates that better.

2. Plan ahead.

All too often people spend the day(s) before their photo session running around to the dry cleaner, hair stylist, and novelty stores for last minute purchases and props. Instead, plan the look you want a few days before and don’t be shy about asking us to help you prepare for your session. We knows what to expect during a family photo session and will be happy to share their tips with you so your family will be comfortable and relaxed the day of the shoot. Have everyone try everything on beforehand. It is often hard for families to recover from a day of being nagged, so set expectations ahead of time. And try to spend time enjoying yourself and your kids a few hours before your session.

3. Select color themes.

Instead of looking for top-to-bottom looks for everyone in your family, look in each closet for color themes. For a soft, elegant look, choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors with bold accent colors to complement each other (but not matchy, matchy which would make you compete with each other). Including fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.

4. Talk to your kids beforehand.

Kids are smart and they love feeling big and informed. Tell them a “professional photographer” is coming over. Show them the clothes they will be wearing, involve them in the discussion of what you will be doing and where you will be doing it. New people and places can be unsettling to kids especially to toddlers melting down in the afternoon hours. So we do what we can to turn your family into new friends, familiar to your kids before the session.

5. Decide on a reward.

Bring your kids’ favorite toys or treats and give them to us to use when he or she needs to get their attention. We won’t overuse them or they’ll lose their magic. Kids need far less prompting and are much better at candid expressions than adults. Don’t needlessly bribe them, it, too will lose its magic. If we get to say something like your family goes out for frozen yogurt afterwards, your kids will be far more apt to cooperate.

6. Feed everyone beforehand.

Pick a time when your kids are usually well behaved. If they’re grumpy in the morning, don’t plan a morning photo shoot and expect them to be pumped about it. Bring their favorite snack as long as it’s not messy and they can eat it hands-free (no red teeth or chocolate chins needed!). But bring an extra set of clothes and some paper towels just in case!

7. Trust your photographer.

All too often parents get nervous when their child isn’t looking at the photographer or smiling “right”, causing their child anxiety and robbing us (and themselves!) the chance for candid portraits. Seasoned family portrait photographers know how to make your children feel comfortable so let us work our magic. After all, you’re paying us to create just that, right? We do family portraits for several churches where there is literally only a minute or two to get all of the family to look great for their portrait. We have lots of experience.

8. What is the photographer’s working style? (See our Photo Style Page)

Some photographers are orderly and operate like wedding planners. Others prefer to sit back and let the events of the wedding unfold. It’s important that you work with someone who can understand and meet your expectations. We'll discuss this ahead of time, so that you understand how well our working style matches your own. If we feel it doesn't, we go to a different photographer.

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More questions, or ready to talk about your family photo needs? Contact Connie by web or phone (616-312-2244).