Everyone wants a beautiful family portrait, but getting each family member to cooperate sometimes seems impossible. Anyone who’s ever had small children knows how difficult it is to keep them clean and sitting still, even for a few minutes. If you have older children, the difficulty may be in getting them to look happy and peaceful, or in getting their clothes to coordinate with the rest of the family’s. The bigger the group, the more hassle all of this may seem. But a yearly portrait to document your family’s growth really is worth having, and here are a few simple tips to help minimize the struggle and maximize the beautiful.
- Timing. There are two important issues here, and it’s best to be aware of them so that you can reconcile them to the best of your ability. One is your child’s routine: it’s best, if at all possible, to schedule the photo shoot for a time of day that is good for your kids, not a time when they’re liable to be grumpy, sleepy or hungry. With that in mind, also remember that if you’re planning on doing an outdoor shoot, your photographer will probably prefer the lighting in the morning or early evening, as opposed to that at high noon. If your kids are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning, go with that. If their best time of day is early afternoon and they happen to be really sensitive to routine disruptions, you may want to consider an indoor setting.
- Clothing. Try to coordinate, instead of matching. You don’t want people to look at your photo and see a bunch of the same clothes; you want them to see your family. Opt for solid colors that complement one another. One person wearing a simple stripe or patterned shirt may offset the solids nicely, but too many complicated patterns are dizzying and draw attention away from the important part: your faces.
- Be yourselves. Try out casual, relaxed poses that reflect what your family is really like on a daily basis. Have fun with it. After all, it’s not like standing around stiffly in one place is normal for your family, right? Why take a picture that portrays you that way? If you have preschoolers, you know that getting them to sit still for any length of time can be a battle that nobody really wins, so don’t fight it. Get pictures of them doing their thing, being happy and having fun. It will look real and unforced.
- Ask for a copyright release. If you are using a professional photographer, you can ask to purchase a copyright release if you want to use the photos to create gifts for family members, such as mugs or wall calendars. Use a site like VistaPrint to save your portraits in ways that you’ll use every day. You can even save some money buy using one of our VistaPrint coupons!
With a good photographer, an open mind and a good sense of humor, the family portrait doesn’t have to be a struggle. Hopefully, you’ll be able to look at the picture and remember the portrait session as another fun family moment, not a hassle. And remember, even if it’s not perfect, these sort of experiences are what memories are made of!