Have you ever had professional photos taken of you or your family? When those pictures came back, were you happy with them or did you look at them and wonder who those people are? It happens, believe me. As a photographer, I certainly try to avoid it, but sometimes it can be difficult to really capture what people are really like. Don’t let it happen to you. You want a couple of tips on how to avoid it? Here’s what I have found.
The best way to be sure you get great photographs is to be clear with the photographer. If you want silly photographs, serious portraits, or candid shots, it is always better if you talk about that before we start shooting. There are plenty of ways we can go about your photo shoot, and we can do any combination of styles to get the most out of your shoot. As long as you talk to us honestly about what you want, we will do our best to get it for you. If you are unsure of the different types of photo styles your photographer has experience with, ask to see a portfolio and point out the shots you like. It helps, trust me!
Something else to think about: if you are a fan of props, bring them! They can be a fun way to really capture your personality, so unless you’re getting a passport photo or something, consider it. As a photographer, I have some tried-and-true props, but they may not really be your thing. I don’t really mind it if you bring along some stuff of your own. A special blanket, blocks or balloons, a meaningful object – if you can move it and/or it can fit in the shot, most photographers will be totally willing to work with you on that. If you want your baby to smash a cake, I might recommend doing the shoot at your house and not my studio, but I’ll find a way to make it work if it is important to you.
If you want extended family in group portraits, that’s a great idea! Know that the more people involved, the more difficult the shoot might be (just think how hard it is to get everyone to look at the camera, smile, and not have their eyes closed the second the shutter clicks). Also, kids don’t usually want to sit still for extended periods, so the pace might have to be faster than you’d like. Here is a pro tip: if your kids are dressed nicely, get full-body pictures out of the way first – that way, if there are any accidents or mishaps, we can crop it out of the shots. If you want to add animals to the mix, that’s something else you need to check with the photographer first. For one, they can be difficult to wrangle even under the best of circumstances. When you add a lot of expensive equipment to the equation, things can be even more challenging. Also, the photographer might be allergic, so you should really be honest if you’re even considering bringing the family pet along.
Finally, when you get the proofs, be honest. If you don’t like them for whatever reason, let the photographer know. There are things we can do editorially that might make the pictures more appealing, or we can offer to do a reshoot. Give photographers the chance to make it right before going online and complaining about our work – remember, we’re just people too, and we’re trying to make a living!