For the last three years I’ve been planning and executing lifestyle shoots for Nickel & Suede and I’ve been doing photos for my blog for longer than that! Today I want to share some tips based on things that we do for our work photo shoots that might make your preparations and plans go better than ever so that your shoot does too!
-Plan any props that your location or family might want. We’ve taken a couch and a chair into fields on occasion. This time I brought a blanket and a car. Don’t be afraid to borrow a fun vehicle or stage a scene. That being said- KEEP IT SIMPLE. Stick with one or two things like a swing and a porch or a couch and a blanket. Don’t stress yourself out in this area.
-Make a shot list. What photos do you want? Use Pinterest to make an ideas list- but don’t be rigid about it. Use it as a tool to help your photographer but don’t expect your family to take photos exactly like those pinned. The photos I usually want (in a candid way) are:
– Several full family photo options. Sitting and standing.
– All the siblings together.
– Each child on their own.
– Mom and Dad together.
– Mom with all of the kids.
– Dad with all of the kids.
– Candid shots of kids together.
-Go scout your location the day or a few days before the shoot. Go at the time of day that you want to take photos. Think about what color your outfits are and what look you want for your photos. Do you want autumn leaf colors? Do you want an urban wall and streets? Steps to sit on? Lots of green grass and trees? Water? A bridge? A barn? A front porch? A field?
-Start prepping outfits in their entirety the night before. Make each family member a pile with top, pants, shoes, socks, accessories. Start shopping for outfits as early as you can. (I’ll have a post for how to choose outfits next week.)
-Plan to have everyone eat something before getting dressed. Even if your photo shoot is in between meals, feed and water everyone.
-Allow an extra thirty minutes to arrive on time. If you’re like me, change the clock! 🙂 You never know what will come up and the last thing you want is to stress sweat through your outfit because you are running late.
-Bring an extra top for the kids most likely to mess theirs up. In our family that was Rush and Baker. Just have an extra tee in the coordinating colors on hand.
-Bring an extra pair of hands if possible. Some photographers have assistants that can lend a hand, but if yours doesn’t, bring your mom or maybe a teenager to help with kids. An assistant can also use a funny puppet or do peek-a-boo to encourage real smiles.
-Bring lots of wipes. And hair gel. And lip gloss. A little bag of things that might need fixing mid-shoot.
-Pack bribes. Bring something small that won’t get sticky or slobbery or drippy or messy on the clothes. Some ideas are smarties, tiny marshmallows, or small gummy bears.
-Go into it with realistic expectations. Dad will be grumpy and so will one or two or all of your kids. Ask Dad to try and be fun and funny and help make things go as easy and quickly as possible. Do expect real life and that will make for the most real and honest photos anyways.
-If someone starts to cry or gets in a funk, move onto the next kid and remember distraction is your best friend!
-Plan to give everyone a reward after photos. No matter how everyone behaved, go get a treat afterwards- or a full meal! It’s a lot of work for Dad, kids and Mom to pull off a photo shoot.
I hope these tips help or offer a new idea for making your family photos go better than ever. I can say that although no one cried at our family photo shoot this year, we weren’t without our grouchy and break down moments! Those are 100% the outtakes of all blogger and non-blogger photos. 🙂