In fact, I'm so out of the photography mindset that I don't even want my own family to take Christmas pictures this year. Pictures just keep piling up and piling up around here - so much so that I have 3 external hard drives FULL of pictures! As we get closer to Thanksgiving, though, we'll see if I change my mind - I can't picture going a year without a family photo shoot :)
Speaking of family photo shoots, this is the time when many people start taking their pictures for Christmas cards. Here are 5 quick tips for getting fabulous Christmas pictures, no matter who your photographer might be:
1) Get your outfits ready in advance (as in, not the night before or the morning of, but about a week or so in advance). Choosing 4 colors is nice; it provides for some variety. For instance:
A good place to get some ideas is on Pinterest. Type in "family photo wardrobe" ideas and many selections will come up.
2) Plan for morning or late afternoon. The lighting will be best at this time, and you'll avoid those harsh afternoon shadows. Don't plan it too close to dinner when your kids might be tired and hungry. However, between 4-6pm is usually a great time for family photos.
3) Keep it quick. 30 minutes or less is best. After that, kids get squirmy, smiles start looking stiff, and everyone gets tired. You should have a good selection of photos within 30 minutes; and really, who needs 100 photos anyway?
4) Take the most important pictures first. If your #1 priority is a picture of just the kids, get those shots first. Smiles will be freshest and the energy will be the highest. If a family photo is your #1 priority, get that shot first and then do the kids afterwards.
5) Bring snacks, candy, stuffed animals, or anything that will make your child smile or laugh. Yes, this is code for "BRIBE THEM." It sounds terrible, but it works. I did a photo shoot with one family whose 2 year old daughter screamed almost the entire time - except for when they whipped out some marshmallows. Then she smiled big and proud for us!
These may seem basic to you, but you'd be surprised how many people aren't sure what to do, or come unprepared. I hope these tips help you as you plan for your photo shoots this Fall!