A photographer has a role in choosing the location, working with the light, deciding on any activities or props, perfecting posing, and eliciting your best expressions. But there is lots that you can contribute towards creating great portraits, too!
* It’s best to feed children a small meal a half hour before arriving for your shoot. We want them to be in a good mood for pictures– feeding them ahead of time and making sure a little one doesn’t miss a nap is the best way to make that happen.
* Make sure your kids’ clothes fit for the size that they are now, not the future. It’s tempting to buy a new outfit for photos in one size larger than what they wear, but it’s best to stick with what fits them perfectly today.
* Women should consider having their makeup professionally done unless they’re talented at doing it themselves. This is not meant to offend any natural women- no one goes on television without makeup, even when they look “natural.” Makeup for photos is not the same as you’d wear on a daily basis– professional means better coverage over imperfections, highlights, brighter cheeks, less eye makeup under the lashes, defined brows, and a lipstick that really pops. Nudes, browns, and putty pinks can make your mouth invisible in pictures that are anything but close-ups. Professional makeup costs between $80 and $120; your photographer should be able to help you locate a makeup artist if you don’t know where to look. Bring a lipstick with you for touch-ups after smooching your husband and kids.
* You’ll never regret wearing your prettiest, best-fitting clothing for pictures, even if you end up playing football in the park with your children. This may even mean just jeans, but make sure your jeans fit well and are flattering. Dads can wear a thin cotton long-sleeved collared button-down shirt and look dashing.
* Coordinate your colors as a family. Start with the Mom’s outfit since she’s the most important, right? Choose something fitted and flattering. Then choose a complimentary or contrasting color for Dad’s shirt. Take those two colors together and find kids’ clothes that incorporate it all, such as in a plaid or stripe– this gives a cohesive look to the whole group. Great color combos that pop are baby blue and red, turquoise and orange, lime and aqua, grey and yellow, bubblegum pink and mint green, or go for something subtle like cream and gold.
* I recommend against wearing a true white shirt or solid black top. If you’re drawn to those colors, go for cream or gray instead so they’re less extreme in the finished product.