Gathering everyone up to get them dressed in their adorable matching outfits and driving to a location picked by your photographer for a few minutes to try and capture the perfect picture is a lot to deal with for everyone involved. Pouring through Pinterest to find the right color scheme and patterns then actually going through closets and dressers or shopping to get the pieces is a job in itself. Getting everyone to wear what you’ve chosen can also be a feat. My kids are usually pretty cooperative with me but sometimes it’s a struggle to get them to wear “fancy” clothes. As you’re reconsidering this whole idea, maybe you’re starting to think you could just do this yourself. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if someone just came to your house to do all this? Can’t you just take the kids outside and snap some pictures? Well you can! Here are some tips to help you make it as successful as possible.
Yes you can still do cute outfits. If you need some ideas for picking outfits, check out this post that’s full of ideas of what to wear and where you can get things. Since you’re at home, you can get dressed at the last second so there’s no spills or stains on any of the clothes. You can also do a couple of different outfit options if you think one isn’t working out.
Pick a spot in your yard that gets some good sunlight. You don’t want to be blinded by the light, but if it’s too dark, no one will be able to see your beautiful family. Most photographers will take pictures earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when you’ve got the light but it’s not beating down directly on you so that’s something else to keep in mind.
If you think your yard is just a little too bland alone, consider gathering up a few props to use. Don’t go to a lot of trouble. A little bit goes a long way sometimes and everyone wants to see your family so focus on that. For Christmas, think about wrapping some empty boxes in holiday paper you can pick up from a dollar store. Pick a paper that compliments the outfits your chosen and has a simple pattern. Easter pictures could include some inexpensive plastic eggs hanging from a tree in your yard like an ornament on a Christmas tree.
Taking the Picture
You’ve already got what you need to take these pictures and you might be reading on it right now. Yup – your smartphone is perfect! Take a little bit of time getting familiar with the different picture options if you’re not already. When you’re taking a picture of your entire family, consider asking a friend to come over and snap the pictures for you. Another option is using the timer feature on your cell phone. Having your pictures on your phone also allows you to take advantage of editing apps or filters you already have on your phone. I’m not big on editing my pictures, but being able to quickly make my picture black and white can be helpful. For nicer professional looking pictures, I’m in love with the Portrait mode on my iPhone. Instantly, with zero editing, I’ve got a nice portrait without having to remember what settings to use on my camera or lots of adjustment to make it look right. Make sure before you start your photo session that you’ve made space on your phone for the pictures you’re going to be taking. You don’t want to get stopped mid-way through because you’re out of memory (or battery life!).
Posing and Tips
- Spend some time looking on Pinterest for some ideas. Think about how many people you’ll be taking a picture of and the space you’re planning to use.
- Remind everyone to sit up straight and tall. You don’t want anyone to look uncomfortable, but you want to be sure everyone looks their best.
- A straight on shot is great but consider taking some a little off center as well to give you several options. That will give you a little bit of a different visual appeal and give you space to add things in later if you choose to edit your pictures.
- Look at the big picture. You’re probably focused on your family and making sure the kids are smiling and you won’t notice the tree branch in the background that looks like it’s growing out of someone’s head until it’s too late.
- Genuine laughs are the best. Have a few funny jokes or words that you know will get a laugh.
- Be ready. If you’re the one taking the pictures, be sure to always have your camera ready to go. The beauty of taking pictures digitally is that you can just delete the ones that don’t work. Don’t miss out on what might be the perfect picture because you didn’t think someone was looking or smiling.
Picking “The One”
Taking your own pictures gives you the ability to look at the pictures as you go to see if you have a “good one” or if you’ll need to try again. It’s better to take more than what you’ll need. As you’re taking the picture, it might seem like “the one” but later looking through them you might notice someone’s eyes are closed or a facial expression you don’t care for. Swipe through your pictures briefly during your photo shoot to make sure you’ve got a couple different options to choose from before you let everyone go back to their regular plans.