Everything you need to worry about, and everything you don't
There are probably a lot of things on your mind while planning this session, so let me break it down for you. Here are the things you should focus your efforts on.
What to bring
Perhaps the most important. Let's make your annual family photo session the most fun, something you all look forward to. I'll give you tips on how to prep your partners and your kids for a fun filled afternoon.
I will give you a quick list of what to bring along to your session based on your location.
Yes, What to wear. I have some suggestions to help make your outfits flow seamlessly and create a timeless look. No need to shop for new pieces, unless you really want to. Ha!
Whether we are shooting at home, or out and about, I will give you all the tips on what you need to prep ahead of time, and what to expect from different options.
Parks and Green Spaces
Hey, look at that, you don't even need to put shoes on for this one. But here are some tips for preparing your home.
-Clear any clutter. Even if that means you pile it in the kitchen or something, just do you best to clear away cups, mail, papers, and anything that might distract from your photos. I try and shoot pretty tight, so a lot of the time I won't even see the clutter, but doing a primary sweep can't hurt.
-Open ALL the shades and curtains. This one is important. We want as much natural light as possible flowing into your home, so take a minute to throw open the curtains as much as they will go, and pull the shades up.
-Turn off lamps and overhead lights. You may think that I need more "light" but I actually just need natural light (from outside) so you can go ahead and switch off all your lamps and lights when we are ready to get going.
-Make some coffee or tea and have some snacks on-hand for your kiddos!
Picking to go wander around the city can be a great option for your family photos! Here are some things to keep in mind.
-May be harder for toddlers who are learning to love running and walking. If we can incorporate a park and some city settings, then they can get plenty of running in. But trying to keep them from running into the street may be more stress than it's worth. But you know your kids, so just something to think about
-Try and find an area that has meaning to you. Did you have your first apartment in the West Village? or Lots of time spent walking around Williamsburg? Let's do it! Or if you have a dream of photos in a certain neighborhood, let's talk about how to make it special, and not just another location.
- Plan! Plan to stop at a cool coffee shop or ice cream shop at the end. It gives us an activity to work towards, and something fun for the kids to enjoy.
New York has such an amazing array of parks and beautiful green spaces. From Ft. Green Park, to Central park, every park has some amazing features that can make for an amazing backdrop to your family photos. What do you need to know about having your photos in a park?
First off, plan to bring along a blanket or something that we can lay down in the grass. try and keep it something neutral, just not to distract from your beautiful family.
One thing to think about is time of day. If we are in a touristy area, the earlier the better. This will get us the most beautiful light, and allow for fewer people around.
Finally, consider your outfits. Think about comfortable shoes to walk in and clothing you might not mind sitting on the ground in. Also stay away from wearing too much green. We will have enough of that with the trees and nature.
What to wear
We won't go crazy, but here are some ideas.
the most asked question by far:
"well what should we wear?"
This may seem like the most daunting thought process of them all. What do I wear? what should my kids wear? And my partner? Before we get into details, hear this: You can wear pretty much ANYTHING that makes you feel good, beautiful and comfortable. Re-read that last word... comfortable. The last thing you want is clothing that itches or pulls, making you adjust it throughout the session.
Beyond that, here are some tips and guidelines for planning your family's outfits.
GO-to Wardrobe Tips
Keep it simple
light neutrals, muted tones, comfy above all
To keep your photos classic and timeless, I suggest sticking to more muted tones and neutrals which will help you and your beautiful selves pop in your photos. This doesn't mean you can't wear any color, but try and keep it limited. Bold colors like bright blue, reds, and greens tend to overpower a photo, and can cast colors onto skin tones which can be hard to fix in editing. Think Your favorite jeans and a comfy top, or maybe your favorite sun dress.
Let the kids...
be a part of the decision
They probably have a costume or outfit that they love that you... don't. If your session is at home, by all means, use that as a fun treat at the end of the session! I love to capture what they are into right now. It's a good bargaining chip for getting them in the outfits you have planned. When it comes to their outfits, think simple and COMFY. Nothing too new or scratchy that they aren't used to.
Dress yourself first
Yes, you read that right. Pick out that dress you have been dying to wear, or that outfit that you feel amazing in. Plan your outfit first, and then coordinate the rest of the family around you.
What to Bring along
Stuck on what to bring along or have ready? Here are some helpful hints to get you started
A favorite small toy
Wet wipes or Tissues
OUtdoor activities (ex. bubbles or chalk)
Water or bottle for kids
Small containers of snacks or granola bars
Comb/hairties (if necessary)
Band-aid or two
Kids Favorite small book
The Mental Preparation
SOme thoughts for making this an experience to look forward to, not dread or stress out about.
I hate having my photo taken
This should make you stoked to have these photos! The best part is, that I am stoked to take them! I will aim to make this session loads of fun, and a piece of cake. So hype that up to your family. Plan some fun activities around the session, or have a favorite ice cream spot in mind for the end of our time. I wont ask you to pose, or even to smile. I will ask you to love on your kids, and I will ask your kids to love on you with tickles and big sloppy kisses. This is going to be so much fun, and if convey that to your crew, we will be in for a wonderful session together. In the end, if you are worried about your kids behaviors, just take a deep breath and keep smiling and laugh it off. I have so many tricks up my sleeve to get kids into it. They can sense if you are stressed or worried, so let it go for the moment, and let me do my thing.
I am going to keep this simple and to the point. Investing in family photos can feel like a lot. Especially when not everyone is psyched about the session in the first place. Here's a new spin and perspective to put on it. These are the photos that your kids will have for their entire lives. All those boxes of 4x6 prints you have from high school or younger, how precious are they? So think now of these photos, this year, and part of that family collection. It's not about wearing the right outfit and everyone smiling their best. It's about adding to the pile of memories for the years to come. Showing who your kids were in the moment, and how they change over the years.