Preparing For an Outdoor Child Or Family Portrait

o Schedule the photography session at a time that works for your kids.

If you have young children and they are happiest early morning, schedule the session at 7 am. Most on-location photographers will take photos as early as sunrise! Studios are less flexible, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

o Select the location(s) carefully.

When it comes to photography, location matters! Many families like to take the photos on a beach. If your child doesn’t like sand or is afraid of the water, let your photographer know. Take a blanket or mat to lay on the beach. Ask your photographer to suggest a beach that has a grassy area nearby in case the beach doesn’t work out.

Some children feel most comfortable in their home. On-location photographers will travel to your home. Ask the photographer to arrive a little early to find the best locations for the shoot. Tidy up and clear clutter from the rooms where the photo session will take place.

o Rested kids with full tummies equal great photos.

A surprisingly high number of parents drag hungry kids to a portrait session at sunset, meal times or nap time. Sunset photos are nice but if the kids are unhappy, it will show in the photos. If your children are fed and rested before the session, chances are you will be happy with the photos.

o Select the right photographer.

There are a lot of photographers out there with varying levels of experience and prices. Do your homework! Check the portfolios and blogs of local photographers and don’t go by price alone. If quality is important, be prepared to pay anywhere from $350 to $800 for a one to two-hour session. The price usually includes a print credit or your high-resolution digital files. Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, email or call the photographers to see how responsive and accommodating they are.

o Ask the right questions.

Find out exactly what is included in the photo package. Does the price include taxes and travel fees? Is there a charge for rescheduling in case of bad weather or if baby is sick? Is there a charge for retouching photos? Email these questions so you have the response in writing. Most photographers reserve the right to use a few images for promotional purposes. If you’re uncomfortable with this, let your photographer know. Most professional photographers will honor such requests.

o Communication is key.

Once you have selected your photographer, communicate! Be clear about your style preference (candid, posed or a mixture) and communicate any special requests.

o Wear the right clothes.

Most photographers will tell you that simple, comfortable and coordinated clothing look best in photos. Avoid very bright and bold prints as they can be distracting. If it is a beach location, take a few extra outfits for the children as they tend to end up in the water.

o Take along meaningful props.

If you plan to take props, be sure to take ones that are meaningful and representative of the person being photographed. If it is a young child, take along his or her favorite teddy bear or story book.

o Snacks, hairbrush and hairspray

If you plan to take your photos on the beach, take a hairbrush, some hairspray or gel and something to tie back long hair. Remember, it’s breezy at the beach! Snacks for young children and a bottle water might also come in handy.

o The most important tip: Have fun!

If you relax and have a great time during the photo shoot, your kids will follow suit. The photos will show a happy family having a wonderful time – priceless images that will be treasured for generations.