Everyone has those awful memories of taking family pictures. Mine consist of gnats, heat, crying kids, and too much denim. The actual taking of the pictures is blocked from memory, but the process is what has stuck with me. I remember sitting there and thinking, There must be another way. Before you make the same mistakes as my family, you need to know that there is another way. There are factors to take into account before you actually take them so that you can maximize the good side of your family for as long as possible.
- You do not have to match. Not every family can rock the white t-shirts and denim pants look and you need to know if your family falls into that category. The best thing to do is to coordinate clothing colors so that they are out of the same palette. If you have difficulty coming up with a color palette, take a detour to your local hardware store and look at the paint collections that they have. Interior designers have put together colors that work and those color groupings translate to clothes. When you do it that way, the family comes across as attractive and normal. The biggest thing is that you want your family to appear in a way that makes them look like it is just another day, but in a way that amplifies the good things.
- Pick a time that works for everyone’s schedule and everyone’s age. Many people pick times for photo-shoots that work with the schedules of family members, without taking into account the ages and personality traits of the people. Just because you are available to do a photo-shoot at 6:30 PM, does not necessarily mean that you should. If the kids are on the younger side, they can be getting antsy around that time and will not cooperate because they are getting tired and hungry. The same principle goes if they are on the older side of the spectrum. Pick a time where everyone will be at their most awake and happiest.
- DO NOT go during the middle of the day. No matter what you think, less is more in the case of lighting. Just because your entire face is illuminated does not automatically mean that the picture will turn out well. In fact, the opposite is generally what happens. The best times of day to go are morning and dusk. The hues in the sky are much more flattering at those times. The only thing that you have to keep in mind at those times is that you do not want the light directly behind you.
- You do not have to hire an expensive photographer. There are always amateur photographers looking to make a buck and add another set of photos to their portfolio. The best way to contact those kinds of photographers is through a local listing on Craigslist or through your local church or community group. If there is not a photographer in that group, there should at least be someone who knows a photographer.
By following these basic guidelines, you should have a successful family photo-shoot that will be remembered with smiles, not grimaces.