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How to Prepare for your Family Photo Shoot with ABL Photography

This blog post is to give your some tips on how to prepare your family photo shoot with me. Preparation for a family portrait session is very important. I always have a telephone consultation with my clients before they come in, but here is some information that could help you answer some of the most “burning” questions.

What to wear?

Keeping your attire simple allows for the focus to stay on you and not draw the eyes to patterns and colours in fabrics. Your wardrobe should be free of logos, pictures and writing. If possible, avoid stripes and bold patterns. For black & white photos – black, white and mid- toned pastels photograph beautifully.

If you are planning to hang your family portraits in a specific spot in your home, you can incorporate the colour scheme in that room into your clothing. Colour makes photographs alive and vibrant, so it’s always good to have one set of colourful outfits for the shoot. Primary colours like red, blue and green work particularly well, but most other colours (like pink, yellow, purple, brown etc., work very well too).

Otherwise, you can think about matching outfits. Coordination is key. If you want to be smart, you can all wear shirts. You can’t go wrong with T-shirts, just get either coordinated colours (i.e. blue for boys and pink for girls), or all different colours.

Remember, your portrait should reflect how you are as a family. So go for what you feel comfortable with. Here are some examples:

  • White tops and blue/black/beige jeans
  • Colour tone coordinated tops (shades of blue, green or reds) and matching colour trousers
  • Plain colourful T-shirts and tops
  • Cute matching dresses for girls

If not sure, bring a few different options and I’ll advise what will work best. I recommend having at least one change of outfits during the shoot. I also recommend everyone to be barefoot, as sock could look a bit odd. Also make sure you are all very comfortable, as you would want your clothes to allow you freedom of movement and poses.

What to bring?

You are most welcome to bring whatever you like! Your kids’ favourite toys, teddies, own props, accessories (like hats, sunglasses), or anything that would tell a story of your child (i.e. musical instruments, objects representing their hobbies, etc.). If you are not sure, we can discuss and re-confirm what do bring during the phone consultation prior to the shoot.

Tips for Children
  • Clean, clean, clean–clean nails,clean hair,wipe away eye boogers, clean feet, wipe snotty noses, brushed teeth. The cleaner the kid, the better their photos will turn out.
  • If your child is still of napping age, make sure they nap before the shoot.
  •  It is perfectly okay to bring bribes to a photoshoot. Some snacks that won’t stain teeth can help a short photo shoot go by smoothly. However I do not allow food or drink in the studio, so we would need to go into the living room downstairs for a snack & drink break.
  • Avoid colourful drinks/snacks within 24 hours of your shoot, don’t let them eat or drink anything that will stain their face, teeth or mouths.
  • Wardrobe – For girls, you can’t go wrong with cute dresses, dainty hats or headbands. For boys, jeans and polos or a button-up shirt, or a T-shirt with a button-up over it can be very cute, as well as overalls on the right age and personality. For siblings, the children don’t have to match perfectly, just coordinate. You can’t go wrong with dark, rich monotones, which drive the attention in photos to sweet faces and darling expressions instead of loud prints or colours. If nothing else, pick a colour that compliments your child’s eye colour.
Tips for Parents
  • Dad–Have a fresh shave or trim. Make sure nails are clean and trimmed. For wardrobe,go for jeans or trousers of coordinated colours, tucked polo or T-shirt with a belt, or go casual with just a T-shirt or polo, button-up short sleeve, etc. In general, whatever your wife tells you to wear. Again you don’t have to perfectly match the rest of the family, just wear something that coordinates.
  • Mum–Women know what to wear, but in general, unless you are extremely thin you may want to wear something that covers your upper-arms. Long- or 3/4-sleeve tops are very flattering. If you wear jewellery, aim for subtlety, and be aware of it twisting or turning. It’s best if your hair is not falling down onto the sides of the face.
    I can recommend a hair &makeup artist who would meet you 45 minutes prior to the shoot (make-up artists prices are from £35).
  • I also highly recommend drinking lots of extra water for the prior two days…it will make your skin look particularly beautiful. And, of course, a good sleep does wonders too!
  • Wearing Glasses for the shoot? If you normally wear glasses, it’s absolutely fine to wear glasses in your shoot – however; the glare on glasses can detract from your eyes in photos. You can have your lenses removed from your frames for your shoot (that’s what Hollywood does to avoid glare in movies). But if you are not able to do it, don’t worry about it.
Last but not least

Relax and be ready to have lots of fun! this day will become part of your family history captured on photographs forever… Even if not everything looks perfect, if you look happy, the photographs will bring you joy for many years to come.

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