When you love people and photography, how could you not do family portraits? I would love to share 10 tips to help you prepare for your family portrait session!
#1 Questionnaire: First, I will share a pre-session family questionnaire. It’s an integral part of my booking process. Your answers will help us both to get a better sense of what kind of session we are looking to create.
#2 Date and Time: We highly recommend booking your session towards the beginning of your stay so we have wiggle room in case of rain or other challenges. Two or three hours leading up to sunset provides gorgeous light and atmosphere. There are also fewer people and more parking spots (joking) In summer. Always plan on sunset to avoid the heat of the day (and to capture the best light). I don't schedule sessions in midday because the light is too harsh.
#3 Arrive on time: It is quite essential to arrive on time and be ready to start your session. I am a natural light photographer and all sessions are scheduled according to the golden hour of light. Please keep traffic and parking constraints in mind, especially if your session is scheduled in Menemsha or Edgartown. It's best to arrive a bit early, find a parking spot, and not feel rushed or late, etc.
#4 Location:I suggest a couple of my favorite locations on Martha’s Vineyard. We can go with your choice or decide together on the best place. We can shoot outdoor or at your home/summer rental. I have many outdoor locations with authentic Vineyard landscapes where I love to photograph regularly, but I am always open to any new places which you have in mind. I recommend choosing a location that fits your style and personality. I am here to help you make your own decisions.
#5 What To Wear: Wardrobe should be comfortable and reflect who you are. I do not recommend matching but rather coordinating. See the family portrait portfolio for a slight guide for what to wear and for an idea of what I am talking about. I am happy to share my suggestions on wardrobe or recommend a local personal stylist if you are interested. I do not generally use props during my family sessions, but if you have a toy or object which is meaningful to you, please bring it!
#6 Your Children: Let your children have fun, relax, run and be active! Most of the images you see on my site were photographed while the kids were playing, exploring or having a conversation with you or me.
#7 Snacks, water, nap: To get the most out of your session make sure that your little ones have rested and have had adequate snacks and water. Bring non-messy snacks with you as well. Children should arrive with full bellies! Hungry children can be unhappy children. If they still nap, make sure they get their full nap on the day of the shoot. You can tell your kids that a friend will be taking some photos of them, it's best not to completely surprise them. Make it a “BIG” event for the day.
#8 Meeting: When I first meet your family for a shoot expect me to spend five to ten minutes getting to know you and your kids. I'll ask simple questions like What's your name? Do you have a hobby? What's your favorite game? We all will introduce each other and maybe share a couple of fun stories.
#9 Bribes and rewards: I don't recommend bribing your child before a portrait session. It almost never works because by offering a reward before a portrait session you send the message that this is going to be hard. The idea that, "If you behave well", they will get a toy or candy or time to play video games rarely fully works. I believe that children under the age of 5 don’t understand delayed gratification, and they feel like these promises have been turned into threats. The best you can do is say, “We’re going to go see Mila today. She’s going to play some games with us, and join us for a couple of pictures while we are hugging and telling each other stories. It’s going to be so much fun!
#10 Bring a hair tie, bobby pins or make a french brai if your session is scheduled by the water. It can get very windy! The Edgartown Lighthouse area is very windy. It's a open harbor. It will be breezy.
Relax! Family portraiture can be artistic and intimate. I encourage you to relax and enjoy your family sessions. Explore the deep love and connection that is present in your family, and discover the beauty of these emotions.
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