Paging Bentley Waters, Professional Photographer: The Perfect Family Photo Shoot
There is nothing quite as magical as the perfect family photo. But getting even an “OK” family photo can take oodles of magic! We’ve used the fabulous Bentley Waters (www.bentleywaters.com) for our last several family portraits and I’ve always been thrilled with the results so I asked her to weigh in on how to capture some of that magic when taking shots of the kids yourself.
A Guest Post: The Perfect Family Photo Shoot…
We’ve all been there before. It’s the fall and there’s the pressure of putting together a holiday card. featuring the perfect photo of your beautiful children. You dress the kids up, head to the park, whip out your camera and big surprise, your kids won’t cooperate. Whining and tears take over. You’ve tried every bribe in the book, even promised the kids a trip to Disney. You’re threatening them and anyone else within a 20 foot radius while your husband’s yells, “I thought you were a professional!?!?” It’s a downward spiral and once again, you return home with only a few photos of teary-eyed, fake-smiling children. Bravo.
That was pretty much how my first shoot with my own children went down. Yes, even I, a professional photographer, think my children will perform on command as soon as I pull my camera out. We all know, it’s not that easy. For a candid, stress-free photo shoot of your own children I can’t remind you enough how important it is to keep things light, fun and simple. Yes, it does help to have a decent camera but more importantly, it’s about allowing kids to be themselves and following these tips below.
- Fashion first. I think it’s safe to say, white tops and denim are a big no-no. I’m not sure who started that phase but we can do better than that these days, especially now that Crewcuts exists. Dress the kids comfortably yet stylish and feel free to have fun with color and a little pattern. Try to avoid matching sibling’s outfits, a little coordination is all you need.
- Timing is everything. Tired and hungry are a really bad combo so try to shoot in the morning, or shortly after being fed. Pick a time of day when your children are typically in their best moods.
- Head outside. If your home isn’t bathed in light, outdoors is where you need to be. Even if it is, being outside on a nice day always provokes smiles.
- Have a plan. Take advantage of all the character your neighborhood has to offer and choose a photogenic area in advance. A pretty wall, bench or tree-lined block is often all it takes. You can even involve the kids. They will be more prone to cooperate when they get to take part in planning the shoot.
- No flash photography please. Once you’re outside, remember to turn off your flash, if you’re camera hasn’t already done so for you.
- Tickle their funny bone. You know what makes them giggle so have your bag of tricks ready. Children love to be silly and have fun. That’s when those natural smiles will appear.
- Eye on the prize. Bribing for a small reward at the end of the shoot like ice cream is A-OK in my book. Remember to keep your camera out when they take their first few licks, as that’s a very cute photo op!
- Short and sweet. Children lose interest pretty quickly so pick a spot, shoot for 30 minutes, and call it quits. If the kids aren’t cooperating, change the scenery or distract them by turning the shoot into a game. If all else fails just remember, you can always try another day. There’s nothing wrong with a reshoot!
▪ If you decide to call in a professional, because sometimes that’s what it takes, you know where to find me!