Preparing for your Photoshoot - April Chen Photography

Preparing for your Photo Shoot


1. Choose your clothing carefully.

Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. What do your dream family photos look like? If they are soft and elegant, choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeal, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. If going this route, I recommend at least one bright color to “pop.” Think about the colors in nature and what colors will be in your location. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy-matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents. Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.

2. Be well-rested and fed.

Be certain not to schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime. The best time for lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise. If this is a bad time for your children, talk with me about your desired location and I can recommend good places that work any time of day. We can shoot at any time of day by utilizing areas of open shade that will give your skin a beautiful hue and put a sparkle in your eyes. Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach. I meet many families who come to a photo session with dinner scheduled at the end. If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot.

3. Be sure to leave enough time to get ready—don’t be rushed.

Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. If possible, mothers should aim to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.

4. Dads—please be willing participants.

Please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own someday. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.

5. Help illicit natural smiles, laughs.

Please, leave the requests for “say cheese” at home. Saying cheese doesn’t usually illicit natural smiles. Bring a toy your child loves. Often times, a smart phone playing a song such as “Elmo’s World” (or some other song will illicit smiles in babies and toddlers). When photographing children, I often ask one parent to stand behind me and make silly faces or noises because children respond to their parents and caregivers with smiles and even if you feel goofy, please participate. This will coax out natural smiles.

6. Have FUN!

Bring an activity you love to do as a family. Do you love to read? Bring some books to keep hands and feet busy. Do your children participate in ballet or dance? Tell me about your child and if dancing or running is fun, we can capture some candid photographs that really show off your family’s personality. Other ideas include piggyback rides, races, bike rides, picnics…the ideas are endless.

7. Not everyone has to be looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.

This is especially so if you’re looking for a lifestyle shoot. If you are engaged as a family and showing love to each other, the smiles will be natural. These are the photographs my clients love the most because of their genuineness. Of course, some families do want group shots in which everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. Much of this depends on the size of your group/family.

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