Tips for a Successful Family Photography Session {Guest Post}

Welcome to Locally Grown! Have you met this month’s Locally Grown featured business owner Nancy Wang? Nancy is the owner of Rosy Lens Portrait Photography. She is here today with a guest post sharing 3 Tips for a successful family photography session.

tips for a successful family photo session

1) The time of day matters for finding the glow.
You might have heard about the Golden Hour, or have encountered photographers who only shoot during this time. This is the hour before sunset when mother nature cast the most beautiful warm glow of light on earth to help photographers achieve warm, fuzzy feeling images. Skin and hair magically just look amazing at this time of the day.

Unfortunately, during the long summer days, the Golden Hour often start after your kids’ normal bedtime. Now we are faced with a decision between cranky kids vs. beautiful light. If possible, I suggest parents tweak the kids normal routine leading up to the shoot. Maybe you can work in extra nap for the little ones the day of the shoot? I understand this is not always possible and simply doesn’t work for all kids.

Is the Golden Hour a must? NO. We can shoot on an overcast day or work under the shade of the tress. A good photographer will be able to produce beautiful images in a variety of light. However, the color and feel of the photos will be different. On a cloudy day, the colors will be more subdued and we won’t have as much golden backlight to highlight the hair while shooting in the shade. If you have your heart set on that warm glow, then the time of the day plays a critical role of the outcome of your photographs. Be prepared, know what to expect, and plan ahead.

Below are some examples under different light conditions:

Last 30 Minutes of Daylight. Photo Credit Nancy Wang, Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Last 30 Minutes of Daylight. Photo Credit Nancy Wang, Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken at 3 p.m. on an overcast day. Photo Credit Nancy Wang, Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken at 3:00 p.m. on an overcast day. Photo Credit Nancy Wang, Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken in the shade at 10 a.m.. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken in the shade at 10:00 a.m.. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography

2) Help your kids make a new friend.
As the car door opens, the photographer has 30 seconds to make a good impression with the kids. Photographers can be a scary stranger or someone fun they get to hang out with. Help ease the introduction by providing the photographer with some details about your kids’ interests before the shoot. What’s their favorite TV character? Name of their stuffed animal friend? Current obsessions? Favorite food? Favorite books? Events they are excited about attending? These topics will provide a bridge of trust and communication between your kids and the photographer.

Don’t be offended if the photographer starts talking to the kids first. I will keep the topics in my pocket and use them as tools to get their true expressions throughout the session. This is especially efficient for both toddlers and big kids. Always give them enough time to wake up from their car nap before having them meet the photographer, too. Give the photographer a call if you need a few minutes to sit in the car and wait.

Taken before she warmed up to me. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken before she warmed up to me. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken 10 minutes later, after I sang for her stuffed animal. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken 10 minutes later, after I sang for her stuffed animal. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken after I asked the girls to tickle each other. Photo credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken after I asked the girls to tickle each other. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken during a game of peek-a-boo. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Taken during a game of peek-a-boo. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography

3) Think about what you want and speak up.
Some families like formal portraits with everyone smiling at the camera. Some families like more candid shots and do not mind if some faces are hidden. I usually like to mix it up between “designed candid” shots and formal poses to provide a variety in one session.

What is “designed candid”? It’s a personal style where I first strategically pose the family in a flattering way then capture candid moments through their natural interactions. If the client has a strong preference on a particular style, pose, location, or even side of their face, then it is important for the photographer to know about those details. Some photographers are open to incorporating the clients’ inspirations with their personal photography style. It’s okay for the clients not to have a specific style and leave the entire creative process to the photographer. What we want to avoid is you having a vision that the photographer does not know about due to lack of communication. Communicate the style of photos you gravitate toward ahead of time with your photographer. As a collaborative photographer, I will be happy to address your preferences and concerns.

Some posing examples:

Formal Pose. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Formal Pose. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Designed candid shot. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
Designed candid shot. Photo Credit Rosy Lens Portrait Photography

Rosy Lens Locally Grown Nancy Wang

Rosy Lens Photography is offering an exclusive discount for Little Lake County Readers of $50 off of any portrait package. Contact her soon to get this special discount and a prime summer appointment.

Rosy Lens Portrait Photography
(847) 630-3959 | rosylensportrait@yahoo.com
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Disclosure: Rosy Lens Portrait Photography is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.

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About Holly Garvey 127 Articles
Stay-at-home mom who works! On again/off again work in family real estate business, babysitter, dog rescue and historical society volunteer all while chasing my new-found dream to be a writer.I live in Antioch with my husband, Jake, and kids, Cecilia (5) and Mark (3), and our dog Isabella. I'm an aspiring vegan (I cheat a lot), Jazzercise addict and runner. As a family, we love to travel and spend time outdoors. I love to go antique shopping and garage sale-ing, cook, and read in my (rare) free time.

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