The warm weather is finally here and that means it is time to book those portrait sessions of the entire family, especially the little ones! That also means an endless list of to do's that you really do not want to do on top of your already busy schedule. So I decided to help out and give you some pointers to hopefully make your planning a whole lot easier.
How to choose a photographer?
This can certainly be a hard choice. There are so many amazing photographers out there, but also there are tons of people posing as photographers. The first thing I would do is go on Pinterest and look at the style of photography you really love. Remember these photos are going to be going up on your walls and hanging there for everyone to see and love. Once you find the style you are looking for Google photographers in your area and the surrounding areas. The minute you click on their website you and you do not see the style you are looking for, then leave and go to the next one. You should be blown away by the images you see. If you are not I would not waste your time. Once you found the photographers you like make a list and contact them. Most professional photographers do not list their prices on their website. they want you to contact them and get the whole experience. I do not have my prices on my website because I want you to be looking at my work and not price shop. When you contact the photographers make sure you have a few dates in mind to have your session incase the date you really want is already booked up.
Living Social Deals?
Living Social Deals can seem like an amazing offer. Heck you seem to save a ton of money on what could be an expensive photo session, but you do not. Most, if not all the photography sessions are by photographers who are, what the industry calls, "shoot and burn" Photographers. This means that you show up for the session, they photograph you and then just give you a disk of whatever they photographed right out of the camera. Seems like you are getting an amazing deal. For $45 dollars you get a hour long session and all the photos from the entire session. What could be better then that? Here is what you are actually getting... You are getting all of the photographers mistake photos along with probably 15 to 20 usable photos. You are getting all the really dark photos, over exposed photos, blinkers, burry photos, and then in the midst of them you will have some usable photos. The thing about the usable photos are that they are not color corrected, nor any signs of retouching, so they just look flat. If this is the case you should have saved your money and just taken the photos yourself with your iPhone. You want to look for photographers who are going to handle your photos with care and give you the best possible product out there. For me I have two packages and each package has a certain amount of images that you get in the end. When I photograph I have a plan in my hand of specific photos I am looking to capture. When the session is over I get to go home and go through each and every image I photographed and narrow them down to the best of the best. When that portion is finished I then go through each image and color correct and retouch what needs retouching. That entire process takes a few hours. So when you are investing in either me or a photographer like myself you are investing in the entire process from the initial emails/phone conversations to the session, to the retouching, then finally the delivery of the amazing images! I never let anyone see all of my images from a session. You only get to see the very best of the best.
How do I get the most out of my Session?
First thing you need to have is an energized positive attitude. I know this can be hard for parents, especially if you have little ones going crazy in the morning. The trick is to make the day seem like it is just a normal day. Do not make it special. Children will feed off any energy you give off. Keep it mellow and just like any other day. If you are doing a couples session just relax and do not worry about anything. It is a day about the both of you and nothing more.
If this is a family/children session bring snack and juice boxes. The snacks are a great way to bribe children when you want to get something out of them. Make sure you get their clothes ready the night before. The more you do the night before, the less you will have to do the morning of.
During your session I have one major rule. YOUR CHILD IS THE BOSS! If your child does not want to do something do not force them to do it. The worse thing you can do it force them to do something because that will most likely lead to a breakdown, which means they are now pissed off and the entire session is now ruined. I usually develop a pretty good relationship with the children and they will have fun and I very certain we will capture everything we want and more. You just have to trust the process.
What time of day is the Best to shoot in?
Ideally as a photographer, I want to shoot early in the morning before the noon day sun or at the golden hour right before sunset. This is certainly great for couples, but with families with small children this may not work. That is why I try to get a gage on what time the child is usually up. I want them already fed and usually we can get at least 45 minutes of really good shooting time before they get very cranky. If your photographer is not willing to work with you on a time I would recommend finding someone else.
What should I wear?
This is very different for everyone. I always say to dress to compliment each other, but do not match. I cannot stand it when all the families or even couples are wearing matching outfits (White shirts and jeans). When I see something like that I know I am not going to have a fun day of shooting. Dress in a way that flatters everyone, but also dress comfortably. Children will probably be rolling on the floor or the grass. Do not put to much thought into it. The photos are about you and your family, not your wardrobe.
Portraits are an investment. When they are done right they will last you a lifetime. When I photograph anyone I want to make an IMPACT. I want you to have images you are in love with. I want you showing everyone and telling everyone about your session. I want you taking those images and blowing them up and putting them all around your home! I take time to make sure your session is unique and special. Take the time and find the right photographer for you and your family. Do not regret your decision because you chose your photographer on price and not quality. These are memories you cannot get back.
I hope this post helped you all. I hope I get the opportunity to photograph each and everyone of you all!