Planning a photo session involves a lot more than simply contacting a photographer. A great photo session is equal parts effort from photographer and clients on wardrobe, location, and attitude. The more you give a good photographer to work with, the better your photos will turn out! Here are 5 ways to help ensure your photos are hang-on-the-wall worthy:
1. Lighting, lighting, lighting.
Time of day and the weather are enormous factors in your photo session results. For my particular style, I prefer golden hour or early morning light. I encourage all of my clients to book during these hours, almost without exclusion. I also work with them on a backup plan should the weather (looking at you Grays Harbor!) refuse to cooperate. I don't charge my clients a fee for rescheduling due to rain or gross weather. It's in my best interest to have great lighting during a photo session as well!
2. Location, location, location.
The location of your session sets the backdrop in every photo. I work with my clients to decide what that backdrop should be. In the city? By the water? In the woods? At the park? Much will depend on each family's hobbies and preferences. I am most comfortable in a more natural setting where there are trees to help filter the light. Though shooting in the city or at the ocean is always a fun change of pace!
The photos you see on my instagram are often candids or "posed candids". Which means either entirely natural or styled so that the clients can interact in a way that feels comfortable to them. This cannot happen if mom and dad are totally stressed out. I can work with grouchy, uncooperative kids (within reason), but grouchy, stiff parents are far more complicated. If you stay relaxed, I'll chip away at becoming friends with your kids and before long, we will all be having fun! Genuine play and laughter go a long way and looking at the camera isn't necessary to create a great photo.
4. No rush.
A good session will likely last 1-2 hours. I very rarely offer mini-sessions because it doesn't allow for time to become comfortable with one another. The first 15 minutes or so of a session are a warm up as we get to know each other and I discover the best angles, lighting, and poses for you and your family. The last 20 minutes of my sessions are usually what yield the "wow" images with which I and the clients are most happy. So show up, relax, and enjoy yourself! Maybe plan an ice cream date afterwards and enjoy a day you all will remember.
5. Find the right photographer.
Do not, do not, do not hire a photographer simply because the price is right. Sure, everyone has a budget, but make sure within that budget is a photographer whose photos you just LOVE to look at. Follow them for a month or two on social media. If possible, talk to people who have had their photos taken by him or her. Appreciate their artistry and style and be an admirer. If you come to a photographer based strictly on budget and with a Pinterest board full of posing you want to imitate, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. It is better to have your photos taken less frequently by someone more expensive who you love and admire than by someone who is less expensive and makes you go, "meh". Not every photographer is for everyone. Find someone who will capture who you truly are in a beautiful way.