So here I am, a blogging newbie. Naturally, I started by stalking everyone else’s blogs to see what jumped out at me. And here is what I found – it is all about making a personal connection with the author. Bios are great! But what really grabs me are photos. Now, I’ll admit that as a photographer I am biased. However, in this digitalized world, people crave a personal connection. I trust the author more – their message resonates more – when I can envision their face and their husband or children or pets that they’re always so affectionately referencing. So for my first blog, I’d like to give you a few tips on how to prepare for a photoshoot so you can share your beautiful families with your readers!
The Secret To A Great Bio Photo
For the majority of people, the biggest concern is – what on earth will we wear!? Here are a few tips to help you out:
Coordinate but don’t get too matchy-matchy.
If you like certain patterns, choose one or two family members to wear them and then pull colours from that central piece for the remaining outfits.
Aside from rare exceptions, no logos!
Logos are dated and can take away from the timeless feel of the photo.
If you want to stick with no patterns and one colour scheme, texture goes a long way to add interest.
Consider making a prop or accessory a focal piece.
Jewelry, headbands, hats, umbrellas, a blanket, a cultural item…all can serve as a central “pop” item.
Most importantly, BE YOU!
Don’t dress your family in things that make them uncomfortable. Incorporate the things that are unique and allow each member to have input.
Get your kids excited about the shoot.
Talk the photographer up. For younger kids, its enough just to say the photographer’s name a few times, “we get to meet Lilly soon!” You can involve the older kids in the planning. Ask what kind of photos THEY think are cool. Invite them to choose one “prop” that they can have their picture taken with. No prop is too silly, because this is THEIR photo. One of my shoots included butterfly wings, a flying squirrel puppet, and a plastic armor set. These kids had fun and as a result, I got some great shots.
It is important to keep your expectations reasonable.
I love photographing a toddler who is running around having a great time at the park. This makes for great candid shots. But this also means he might crawl around, fall or sit down, and get a dirty spot on those new shorts you bought him. If the outfit you picked out requires his shirt be tucked in just so, you will find yourself interrupting a great series of photos to adjust his little shirt. Better to go with something simple and let him run. As for little girls, its great to put them in an adorable skirt, but put some shorts underneath. This saves the photographer from having to discard great photos due to indecency.
Think of family photos as an important investment.
A wise person prepares for their investments and does their research. You shouldn’t feel bad asking to meet a photographer before you decide to book them. A good photographer will make you feel comfortable and at ease. If a photographer balks at the notion of taking time to meet a potential client who is undecided, that is a red flag and you should move on with your search. Another important part of your research is to look through the photographer’s portfolio. This will give you a feel for his or her style. You may find things you love and you may find things you hate, both in the composition and editing of the photos. Also, a good photographer will not mind you showing examples of someone else’s idea that you want to recreate. If you found a photo on Pinterest you simply must try with your family, by all means share, no offense taken at all! Your photo shoot is a collaboration – we come up with a final product based on teamwork.
You might be surprised but I feel the need to discuss how you as the parent should behave during your photo shoot. Just a bit of mild scolding here…the photographer is the director…you are paying this person good money to do what they need to achieve a great end result. Trust your photographer and transfer this to your children. If you are trying to run the show, no matter how good your intentions are, your children will lose focus, stop having fun and will not respond. Try to keep an open mind and keep scolding to a minimum. Capitalize and make the most of the moment. If the child is being goofy, join in the goofiness and get some silly photos. If a child is being moody, scolding him will just result in more moodiness and embarrassment, which will show in the photos. Finally, think about the things that you know make your child laugh or smile. One grandfather got smiles from his grandson with this loud crazy peacock call. It was great, even I was laughing! Another client has always had success with turning favorite songs on the cell phone.
Having said ALL of that…once you get to the shoot and the camera is out, forget everything and just enjoy the moment. A photo shoot can be loads of fun. I promise!
Before I hit send on this blog, I have to take my own medicine and add a photo of myself, so you can all know whose face to picture when you secretly curse the woman who convinced you to wrangle the grumpy family for a photo shoot….My photo was taken by my friend Jeremiah Seymour, which leads me to one final point. Always, always, ALWAYS give credit to your photographer. As you all know, the internet is our lifeblood when it comes to networking and building clientele.