Summertime is a great time for family photos – the weather is nice, everyone is tanned and relaxed and favorite places like beaches and parks are open and ready for photo-taking. Before you embark on your family portrait this summer, here are a few tips to help ensure that you’re pleased with both the portrait experience and the finished product.
1. Think carefully about attire. When it comes to portrait clothing, there is a spectrum of options. I always suggest to my clients that family members don’t wear matching clothing, but do make the effort to coordinate. For example, everyone is wearing shades of blue, or wearing black pants and a solid color on top. Careful thought about clothing will help make sure that the family looks coordinated and unified, but allowing some individuality will help each person reflect their own personality in the photograph.
2. Know the style you are going for. My goal when shooting family portraits style is to capture authentic moments, expressions and interactions. When I am photographing a family, we are outside or in their home, relying mostly on natural light. We play, laugh, talk and move around. I shoot this way because I believe it evokes the greatest expression of personalities and relationships. (You can see some examples of my family portraits on my website.) Other photographers’ styles are more traditional; they shoot in studios, they arrange poses, they use studio lights, they have white and gray backgrounds. A traditional style may suit you and your family better than a documentary style. Know your photographer’s style, and know your family, so that you can make sure you are well-matched.
3. Remember that you’re making an investment. Photographic portraits are a wonderful way to capture a moment in your family’s history and to remember for all time the joy and love that you feel for each other. The resulting images are heirlooms that will hopefully be passed on through generations and treasured for decades. Luckily, current digital printing technology is so great that you can rest assured the prints you purchase will not fade for over 100 years. So be prepared to make an investment when hiring a professional. Professional quality photographs, captured with the latest in digital technology, retouched, printed on archival paper with archival ink and framed in UV protective glass are not inexpensive, but they are a worthy investment. When you call for a photographer, know your budget, know their pricing and plan accordingly.