You've had this idea to do family portraits and you've finally found the photographer who's going to do it. You've booked me as your photographer. Now what?
You could go straight into it not knowing what to do (but if you're with me, you won't go in blind *pinky promise*), or you could keep reading and see how you can prepare yourself and your family what to look into before your spring session day.
Here are some tips on how to prepare for your planned spring session...
1. Pick a Theme
This part tends to sometimes be overlooked, and often underestimated--picking a theme for your session.
The theme can be anything from "Happy Birthday", "Beach Vibes", or "Vintage" theme (you get the picture!--pun intended. lol). Also, there's nothing wrong with just coming up with a simple theme like "Fun Day with Grandma" or "Baby's First Session" where your baby is the focus of your session. These little theme (as silly as you may think it is) can be very helpful to share with your photographer. It helps to know what my clients' intent with the session is so we can both be on the same page with our visions and have a successful session.
2. Choose A Location
Going along with your theme, you want to find a location that best fits this theme. For example, if you're thinking you want to have a spring in LA at the beach as your theme of course you're going to need to by the beach. But also, your session to be in the city of Venice beach having fish tacos while shopping by the boardwalk. You see what I mean? It doesn't have to 100% on the beach and in the water to be "Beach-themed".
If you're not sure about locations or have a few ideas, run it by your photographer. As your photographer, we tend to have a clear vision of what a potential location can serve for your session. Maybe it's a spring time flowers type of theme, and your photographer once drove down this really pretty park that has tons of pink and red bougainvilleas that would be perfect for this theme!
Locations are always a great way to set the mood to your photos and get you thinking of the next step...wardrobe!
3. What to Wear
Once you have your theme and your location, you now have to think about what to wear. For some this might be the easiest and funnest part, while for some its the most daunting. I always advise my clients to wear comfortable clothing.
I've done it..we've all done it. You have a shoot (or remember school pictures??) and you bought new clothes that are either too tight, or just not your style. So you're smiling and saying cheese but inside you're thinking "Ugh, I hope I look okay in this." Yeah, you know what I mean..
Don't go out and buy new clothes that you've never worn before or worse--buying clothes you never would ever wear to begin with. If it's not your style, and you just bought it for the shoot, don't wear it. The reason behind this is that if you're not comfortable in the style or the way your clothes fit you, I can promise you that our camera will 100% be able to pick up on that awkwardness and uncomfortable feeling you're feeling.
Instead, find clothes that flatter your body and depending on your theme and location, you want to wear clothes that match that location and feel.
When choosing the beach, you want to dress like you're going to the beach. Think: light, flowy, airy, sandals, shades, white or black colored clothing, minimal jewelry, natural make-up, etc. Or if you're planning a session in the city: a cool leather jacket, your washed jeans, hair up and some nice pair of earrings. Keeping the location in mind when planning your shoot will make deciding much easier. :)
You also want to be sure that you're choosing outfits as a family if this is a family session. Staying somewhat cohesive with a color-scheme and not too matchy-matchy works nicely. Solid colors are always best, and no logos and graphics to avoid distractions in your photos.
If you're stuck, select a few wardrobe options and try them on. Have your closest friend or family member help you decide if it's a good match. Or bring them along with you to the shoot, your photographer can help you decide depending on the location.
To help you coordinate your family's session wardrobe, I've put together a Pinterest board you can go over and check out here.
4. Check the Weather Forecast
Check your weather forecast a week in advance and then again the day before. This is so crucial.
If it's just an overcast day, then there isn't really much to worry about. (I've written about overcast days over here.)
If it's time for April showers, then depending on the location and theme, perhaps it will enhance the theme even more! Or it might just mean a simple rescheduling will be needed.
5. Don't Forget to Have Fun!
Spring sessions are supposed to be light and fun! It's all about being outdoors and enjoying the sun (especially here in SoCal). Don't let yourself get too caught up with the looking too perfect all the time, and you forget your own personality. You want to be yourself and let the real you shine right through these images.
If you're not having fun while doing a session, you're not doing it right. Stay hydrated, eat something light, and think happy thoughts. It's going to be one for the books!