5 tips for your best photo session
Updated: Jul 24
In this article we will explore some of the things to do prior to and during a photo session to ensure that you and your loved ones have a safe and enjoyable photo session and select the right photographer for you! Everyone gets excited when it's time to start planning for pictures! Well, almost everyone. There is almost always that one person who dreads picture time for whatever reason. So, maybe these tips can help that person to get through it a little easier (or at least a little less irritated.)
#1 Have an idea of what you want.
This is usually a lot easier said than done. But, in this day and age of technology and connecting remotely and abundance of information, starting to put together an idea of what you would like your portrait session to look like has become a lot easier. Google is your friend. A simple search of family portraits can garner a host of images to start your creative juices flowing. Do you want a studio setting? Do you want something in a field or by a stream? What types of images are out there that start to capture your interest? Can you see your family in that setting and those poses? I know personally that when my family was younger, and my kids were smaller there were just certain things that there was no way we would be able to carry out. For example, when both of my children were small, we took a trip to Rock City in Tennessee. There is a rope bridge there that being out in the middle of the span with outcrops on either side the scenic view behind me would have made an awesome picture. But my wife has a little less than perfect balance, I am six foot four and my son was a wiggle worm to say the least. All factors that led to a profound, “getting that shot would likely kill us all,” conclusion! So, we opted for some less dramatic, but more achievable images from more stable platforms.
#2 Know what you need in a photographer.
In an earlier blog post https://www.abovethefrayimaging.com/post/what-makes-a-great-photographer I discuss things can make a great photographer. A friend or relative with a camera may get you some pictures, but will they be the type of pictures that you can display proudly in an area that you want everyone to see and take notice? Do not be afraid to ask some of your prospective choices for examples of their work in a setting that you are looking for. See what their editing style is like. Look up their reviews. See what they will and will not do regarding getting the shots you want!
Remember, you are hiring this person to capture something special. The process of seeking out a photographer that meets your needs is just like a job interview. Have questions ready. Don’t be afraid to say no. Do not fall for the cheapest bid, but do not overpay for someone who will under-deliver! This is your purchase. Make it a worthwhile investment.
#3 Find a location.
Just like looking for a photographer is a matter of doing some simple research, so can find the perfect location come down to due diligence in research. Again, Google can be your friend here. You can research portrait locations in your surrounding area quite easily. When looking for that photographer that meets your criteria, they may also have some “secret spots” they love and would be able to let you know whether they are available for your type of shoot.
Again, in earlier blog post, https://www.abovethefrayimaging.com/post/a-photographer-with-no-subject, I discuss that we as photographers many times have places that have caught our eye and we are simply looking for the next puzzle piece to fall into place...the right subject to fill that scenery! And don’t be afraid to ask your prospective photographer for location pics to plan your day! In our next tip we will look at how this can sometimes be a key factor in the result being the best images you have ever seen in your life, or just another blah moment taken in basic snapshot.
#4 Prepare your look.
Capturing the essence of who you are is a lot of preparation both for the photographer...and for you! As photographers, we practice, practice, practice our trade to get consistent, fast, high-quality results. But that is only part of the equation. The subject (you and your family) have some preparation to do as well. Hair, makeup, clothing, etc., all play a role in the outcome of the portrait session, and a lot of that can be prepared beforehand. Knowing where you will be going, what time of day, how long you will be there, what the temperature will be, what the forecast looks like and using all of that to help shape the wardrobe you will have that day all plays a part.
I’m not necessarily talking matching shirts and pants or whatever for the whole family but knowing that you will not clash with the surrounding colors in the location can play a huge role in the results. Dressing appropriately for the weather can also make your session go much smoother...or much worse. If the meteorologist is calling for 90 degrees and 100% humidity and you decide today is the day that I want a picture in my favorite cashmere sweater...I would venture to say it will probably not be a pleasant experience for ANYONE during that shoot! So, plan accordingly. And once again, if you are not sure, ask.
#5 Be prepared for your session.
The last thing you want on your special day is to be running around and scrambling for things that you forgot, left behind, or did not plan for.
These tips can help you to make the best possible outcome for your vision as you look to work your way through the world of the family portrait, senior pictures, or whatever session you are looking to bring to realization. The basics do not change when it comes to a good photo session. But knowing the fundamentals puts you a step ahead of the game when it comes to ensuring that you have the best person for the job and that you and your family are prepared for the session overall. A little work goes a long way and the end results show that you cared enough to do your research, hire a quality photographer, and make the most of your day to turn moments in to memories that last a lifetime!
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below!