How to get the best from a Family Photoshoot.

How to get a lovely family picture from a professional photoshoot.

One thing we all want once we become parents is amazing photos to have around the home. One way we can get these amazing photos is by having a professional family photoshoot.

A lovely family photo from a professional photoshoot.

This post has been written for Yorkie not just for Dads by Emeka Ikechi, Director, Vanity Studios.

How to get the best from a Family Photoshoot.

A professional family photoshoot will create pictures you will treasure. Perhaps you would like a group shot or individual family portraits.  You may also want to capture your tiny baby, your toddler or your blossoming teenager at this time.

So, what should you do to get the very best from your photoshoot?

1. In advance

You are probably paying a lot of money for your family photoshoot, so make sure that in advance of your appointment, you think about what you want the resulting shots to look like.

A professional photoshoot is expensive but the quality family photos you get from the family photoshoot is worth it.
Family Photoshoots can cost a lot of money but are worth every penny – pic source Unsplash.

When having a family shoot done how do you want your pictures to look when you have them on the wall of your living room? What do you have in mind to give to your parents at Easter? Do you want a formal shot or one where you are all having a good time together? Or you may just want a really great picture of yourself looking your absolute best or perhaps something a little risqué to share with your partner.

And you can really mix and match. Get your shots with the kids, followed by a shot of you emulating an album cover for fun, indulge yourself in a picture where you’re dressed to the nines. The decision is yours.

If you have a particular look or looks in mind, bring a photo from a magazine to illustrate it so the studio can get it right.

2. Bring a section of clothes

Now you have in mind the kind of shots you want for your family photoshoot, pick a selection of clothes and some accessories that will help you achieve that look. We recommend bringing several changes of clothes and ones you can mix and match to create different looks. Four “looks” is a good number to work towards.

It is always a good idea to bring a selection of clothes to your professional photoshoot, more so for a family photoshoot as you can have your whole family's style matching for the photos.
Bring a selection of clothes to your photoshoot. Pic source Unsplash.

On a very practical level, particularly if you’ll want to include headshots, try not to wear anything that is too similar to your skin tone, as you are in danger of blending into your outfit and, conversely, don’t wear anything too patterned as it’s distracting.

For family shots, co-ordinate to make sure your outfits work together. I don’t mean you all wear the same things – unless you really want to. And avoid wearing the same colours.

But if you are planning a dressy shot, make sure you all have smart clothes and similarly-styled outfits. You don’t want to have the whole family formal, apart from the one person who only brought jeans!

Remember if everyone is comfortable and confident in the clothes you’ve chosen you’ll all be much more likely to enjoy the experience.

3. Favourite toys and other props

Props work really well for a family photoshoot, particularly if you share a common interest; rugby shirts and a ball, for example. Or if you’re a family of bookworms, perhaps you could all bring your favourite book for a casually-styled photo.

In fact, with smaller children, props are a really great idea. It’s always good to bring things they can play with and if they have a particular favourite toy, perhaps their favourite cuddly toy or a doll or train that they can’t leave the house without.

Bring your child's favourite toy to your family photoshoot, this will add a welcome distraction but also make for good props in your photos.
Bring favourite toys or a selection of toys for distraction and props. Pic source Unsplash.

You – and they – won’t regret having them included in shots as a reminder of just how much they loved that toy. If your toddler is cake-obsessed, a delicious-looking cupcake could be fun (if not too messy) or if your older child would happily spend their entire life on the X Box or PlayStation, perhaps bring a controller along.

Also really cute are adult props for smaller children. Think your tiny daughter in Mummy’s best heels or Granny’s string of pearls, or your little boy in Daddy’s hat – cowboy or hard hat, perhaps – or sporting his favourite tie or his glasses.

4. Bring your glasses

Speaking of glasses, these are far less of an issue than people tend to assume so, if you are a wearer of glasses, do bring them along. Glare is seldom an issue – remember these are professional photographers who know how to get the angle and lighting right.

Bring your glasses to your photoshoot then you can have photos with or without them and can decide later which you prefer.
Bring your glasses. Pic source Unsplash.

For some people, glasses are very much part of their identity and others may need them but prefer how they look without, so it’s very much a personal choice. What we tend to do is take poses both with and without glasses and when the family photoshoot is over you can choose which pictures you prefer.

5. Check if the studio does hair and makeup

So, now you have thought about what you want and got your outfits together, what should you do about hair and makeup?

Check if the studio offer hair and make up as part of the package if that is what you are wanting for the photos in your family photoshoot.
Check if the studio off hair and makeup as part of the package. Pic source Unsplash.

Firstly, make sure you check with the studio whether or not hair and makeup is part of the package. I would highly recommend that you choose a studio that includes this, but a lot of family and corporate photographers don’t, so make sure you check. And if they don’t include hair and makeup, ask them for guidance as to how you should prepare before you arrive.

If you come to a studio where these are part of the package, we advise arriving with clean hair that has no styling products in and no makeup. That way the stylists can start with a blank canvas and create the look you want.

We do suggest you have makeup applied for the shoot, as the lighting is pretty strong, so you could look washed out without any. However, you can choose to look very natural or have heavy makeup or anything in between.

If you have a particular look you want to create for your family photoshoot, again, bring along a picture or magazine cutting to illustrate what you want – your idea of “smoky eyes”, for example, may not be what the makeup artist has in mind so it’s best to be clear. If you’re not 100% sure what you want, the artists can advise you and work with you to get you looking just perfect!

Men should also arrive with clean, non-styled hair and, for the shoot, we do suggest at least having some powder applied because of the lighting and to mask blemishes.

Some men will want more than others, again depending on who you are and what you want to achieve, but it is completely optional and the makeup artists will work with you to ensure you get the look you really want.

6. When choosing your pictures…

The photographer will take a lot – and I mean a lot – of pictures. So, at the end of the shoot, there will be an enormous number of images to choose from. Generally, studios will have a “viewer”; someone specifically assigned to go through the shots with you and help you choose the right ones.

A professional photographer will take a lot of photos during your family photoshoot. You will have lots to look through.
The photographer will take a lot of pictures. Pic source Unsplash.

Remember what it is was you wanted in the first place and be sure you have those shots ordered – it’s crucial you leave with what you wanted in the first place. You may also find there are other shots that you really love – which is a bonus!

Having a professional family photoshoot should be fun for all the family. I can’t stress this enough! We have a lot of clients who are very nervous when they arrive, often they hate having their photo taken.

For example, the parent who is always behind the camera and never in front of it. The preconception is often that you will feel awkward and that it’s a bit scary or a chore but if you choose the right studio, it will be far from that.

Try choose what you think is the right studio for your family photoshoot to get the best photos.

We make the whole process very comfortable and will help you relax so you get the best shots. Good studios will have great makeup artists and hair stylists so you can relax while they get to work.

The photographers are highly experienced and give a lot of direction; they will advise you on where to stand, how to sit, which angle to put your head at, where to look, etc. There’s lots of chat and direction and we find that even those who are not used to taking instruction enjoy being guided by the professionals.

Finally… trust is key. You need to trust your makeup artists and the photographer that way you will achieve pictures from your professional family photoshoot you will love and treasure forever. Perhaps now is the time to book a session!

About the Author – Emeka Ikechi.

Emeka Ikechi is Director of Vanity Studios, a contemporary studio for photoshoots in the centre of Shoreditch in London.

Emeka Ikechi is a professional photographer and director of vanity studios.
Emeka Ikechi, director of Vanity Studios.

Since 2009 Vanity Studios has been providing clients with high quality professional photos and an excellent photoshoot experience. The team of photographers and make-up artists ensure each client receives bespoke photography that meets their requirements.


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