Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Homestead: Family Portrait Prep


This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. Thanks for supporting this partnership! All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

It's beginning to look a lot like fall, which really means that the holidays are right around the corner! If you are a fan of the photo holiday greeting card, your family is probably about to check the annual family portrait session off the to do list. October is a great time to schedule a family portrait. The weather is mild and the time line allows you to order holiday cards and custom prints and gifts from your photos just in time for the holidays.  Our favorite custom cards this year are from Tiny Prints. The hardest part was choosing just one, so we went with four! 

We scheduled our family portrait on the early side this year with friend and photographer Sarah Deragon of Portraits To The People. She snagged some great shots of all of us that will make perfect gifts for family and friends who we don't get to see as often as we would like. It's always a great time with Sarah and it certainly helps when your friend is a professional portrait photographer. But hey, let's be real, the time leading up to your family portrait session, no matter who is standing behind the camera, can be kind of intense. With little ones, there are inevitably wardrobe malfunctions, colds, and unexpected protests. Add in getting everyone in the same place at the same time and it's kind of magic that it even happens! 

To help you get it done and get it right, I pulled together some tips for perfecting your family portrait this year! First things first, it all begins with the PHOTOGRAPHER. When you set out to hire a pro to shoot your family portrait, do your research. Word of mouth is really best. Ask around and think about your family's specific needs. Who is great with babies? Toddlers? Who can get your moody teenagers to put down the phone for more than 2 minutes? What photographers specialize in working with pets? All important questions to ask. Conjure up your inner critic and scout around at portfolios. Some portrait photographers specialize in posed portraits, others, like Sarah, specialize in a more journalistic style. Decide what style speaks to you and can best represent your family. 

Let's talk LOCATION! If you live in a more mild climate like California, you can most likely schedule an outdoor session, but in other places where temperatures might drop a little sooner than they do here, shooting outside can be a risk. Don't rule out a studio session. I know what you are thinking but studio photography has changed a lot since you were in high school and having the promise of perfect lighting and climate can be a good thing especially with small children. That being said, smart pros will offer a few ideas for an outdoor shoot and be flexible if the weather is inclement, knowing nearby places to take it indoors. For our shoot, we chose Fort Point and The Headlands, located on either side of the Golden Gate Bridge for our locales, because really, what could be better?! Yeah I'm a little biased but in all seriousness, They are both special places for us and choosing a grand location also enabled us to create some location based cards and gifts as well. 

When it comes to STYLE think classic and basic. Dressing everyone head to toe in the same exact outfit is good for a gag, but might not be the best way to create a memorable moment. Neutrals, denim, and mild patterns work best. Your photographer will be able to tell you what patterns to stay away from and what colors will get washed out. We kept it basic in denim and grays allowing for our location and emotion to be the focus of the portraits. 

Last but not least have some FUN! No matter the drama leading up to the moment, let it go. Remember why it is important to have this moment frozen in time and have some fun with it. Opt for some serious, funny and heartfelt shots to make everyone in your tribe happy. And worse comes to worst, Photoshop can edit out last minute stains, holes, and rashes!



Original photography, art direction + styling for Zelma Rose by Lisa Anderson Shaffer.Portrait photography by Sarah Deragon.

This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. Thanks for supporting this partnership! All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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