A guide to having a professional family portrait taken

There are many occasions when your family might have professional photos taken. For instance, a wedding, an anniversary, a graduation or even just for fun! But whatever the reason, here are some suggestions to make the most of your portrait session and get the photos you really want.

Shooting family photos

Check out the photographer

The artistic visions of photographers can vary greatly, so ensure the quality and photos you want by checking out the photographer thoroughly. Review their portfolio, and discuss the photos you wish to have taken. Be sure to have a clear idea of the cost and the portrait packages available so you won’t be caught off guard by any surprise costs.

Plan the right time of day

Schedule the photo shoot around difficult times of the day. If you have young children, avoid having the photo op coincide with nap time. Or if you have teenagers, you may not want to schedule anything too early in the day! You know your family’s regular schedule, so make the most of your portrait session by booking it when your family is likely to be happy, healthy and well rested.

Coordinate your group

What to wear is a personal choice, but having too many patterns and colours will make the portrait look busy and take away from the important focus — your family. A better idea is to have everyone coordinate in style and colour. Casual photos have lasting appeal, so consider having your family don jeans or khakis and black or white shirts. Having a particular style is another great way to represent your family, so perhaps opting for a country-western or renaissance theme would suit your group.

Be open to suggestions

The best family portraits are sure to be the ones that are unforced and natural. Listen to your photographer, as he or she is likely to have ideas for creative and fun photos that have been gathered from years of experience. A professional photographer should take into account such elements as lighting, composition and the appeal of the background. Feel free, however, to offer your own suggestions, as this is your family, and you deserve the portrait you will be happy with.

Keep it fun

Have fun! Whether it’s a formal portrait of a wedding or a family photo shoot at the local park, remember to have fun and just relax. Stiff poses and fake smiles are awkward and uncomfortable, so help the photographer out by asking him to take lots of photos from the beginning to the end of the shoot. Often the best photos are the ones that are spontaneous and unplanned, so just go with it, and you will end up with fantastic photos you will treasure for a lifetime.

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