When my husband and I became new parents, I knew that annual holiday photos and cards would be one of our traditions. I love the thought of having photographic evidence of what the family looked like each year around the same time. I also love the idea of sending out a yearly update to family and friends about what’s been going on in our lives, just in case we weren’t able to catch up with everyone throughout the year. So, I took on the task of making this memory for my family, and I must admit that the first year was more intense and time consuming than what I expected. To have our holiday cards out by Christmas was pretty much impossible for me by the time I concluded the preparation process. So, that year I made the executive decision to send out New Year’s cards. My simple fix was to just change our color scheme and adjust our mailing date. Here are some photos from that shoot so that you can reminisce with me.
Between that holiday season and the next one, we had a lot of photoshoots in between for various reasons. I began to learn a lot about what worked best to take photos as family, especially for new parents with a toddler. So, I gathered my experience and narrowed it down to 5 simple rules that I follow to accomplish the “perfect” family photo. These easy steps have helped us to get more bang for our buck, given us more ideal options to choose from during a short session, and overall, left us and the photographer pleased because they allow more efficiency.
- Work on a cohesive look. Try to color coordinate without matching too much. You can also explore having the same style in clothing.
- Be affectionate. Go ahead and show your love for each other in your photos. It may feel a little awkward to display tons of affection while a camera is snapping your every move, but just know that it will make for amazing photos.
- Do your homework. Figure out what look you want for your photoshoot and find a photographer who specializes in that type of look. Also, take time to find locations and props that you would like to include in your photos.
- Bring distractions for your little one. Please make sure you are prepared to keep your little one occupied. Bring snacks, games, books, etc. This is the time for your child to pretty much get what they want, so a potential tantrum won’t take away from your session time.
- Enjoy the moment. This is a special opportunity to create a memorable experience for your family. So, have fun and don’t apply too much pressure. Remember that whatever your family does will create what’s “perfect” for you. If your kid won’t stop crying, your mate won’t smile, your venue didn’t work out, whatever it may be, just embrace it.
Here’s more insight from Sacramento Photographer Yadish Ramos of Yadish Ramos Photography
As a photographer, what are some key words that someone can use to explain what type of “look” they are going for?
What can families do to make YOUR life easier during a session?
- Please come fed, feed your kids, make sure the kids are napped, please bring snacks and your child’s favorite toy that’ll help them get through the shoot.
- If you have a good side or are insecure about a certain side or feature, please communicate that with your photographer! You are your own toughest critic so even if a photograph looks great to the photographer, you may not like it at all!
- Please be patient with your children if they’re younger. Nothing messes up the mood of the shoot like a parent scolding their child and the child screaming and crying non-stop. Instead, to get the child to cooperate, let them do something they want to do and give them incentives to work towards (moms, this only applies to photoshoots!).
- At the end of a session (notice how I said at the end?) don’t hesitate to tell your photographer if you had a certain pose in mind. Our job is to make sure you get the most out of your shoot as well as what you had envisioned, all we ask is that you communicate it to us right away so that we can take any last minute shots right away.
Any advice that you just have to give? Something that can address an issue that you see all the time?
- Please include your photographer in planning your session!
- Things to discuss with your photographer: location, outfits, time, and props (in that order). A photographer will work with you to plan the perfect photoshoot. Photographers may not be stylists, but they sure can help with advising on complimentary colors for outfits and locations so that your shoot is no ordinary shoot!
- Try to always keep in mind that there’s a camera on you. So, if you want candid moments and your toddler isn’t cooperating, do what you have to do to make them laugh or smile, but don’t forget to be smiling yourself!
- Have fun! Don’t worry that there’s a camera on you and don’t put pressure on yourself for looking good! All you have to do is smile, have fun and let the photographer take care of everything else!
- Please, pretty please, don’t tell your photographer you want something “different”. That can mean various things and keep in mind that what’s “different” for you may not necessarily be “different” for your photographer-so be specific!