Take advantage of your next family vacation by announcing that a photo shoot will take place. Immediately follow it up that you will do it the DIY way! That’s how I did it with our recent family portrait. Yes, there were hitches but it’s easier than it looks and definitely way cheeper than going to a studio or hiring a professional. Just bear in mind that there will be challenges along the way and not all images will be as perfect as you want it to be , but just the same its worth the shot. I say be a sport, take the challenge and try at least once.
Here the 6 steps to make your family photo session worthwhile.
1. Plan. Plan Plan. That’s always my first MUST DO in every project I tackle. In this case I planned the…
- WHEN. I set a time and day, even before the actual trip, when the photo session should happen. To avoid conflicts or discussions, don’t ask for their opinions. Just set a reasonable time within the vacation and I’m sure they will take your lead.
- I also planned the Where and did an ocular as soon as we arrived the destination.
- For WHAT to wear , which I will elaborate more in item no. 2, this should be planned like a week prior. I am sure you will need to a lot time for consolidating what everyone has and time to buy if they don’t. Ask help from a family member who knows a bit of fashion or styling . In this case I consulted with my eldest daughter. It was a good excuse for shopping too.
- As for the HOW, I made sure I had the gadgets I needed that will make this portrait happen — will elaborate more in item no. 3
2. Style Your Outfits. This was the part I (or we , my daughter and I) enjoyed the most. First I took into consideration the area and venue. And since we were heading for the beach, I chose a theme appropriate for the location. Concept is Beach = airy , sunny, relaxed. I then zeroed in on a theme and chose floral or garden with the palettes and hues of green, blue, aqua. Next, I gathered who has what that fit my vision then set out a shopping day to complete the rest.
Important when planning or styling the outfits:
- Enough with the cliches, please. Don’t attempt another Blue-White or Black-Jeans ensemble
- Do not be too literal when you finally choose a theme and colour .
- Be open and be adjustable to what is available.
- Don’t be afraid to mix colours and patterns.
- Always put things side by side to assess if they clash or go well with one another
- Play with the theme mixing both tops and bottoms.
- Play with layers. Assign some to wear short , some long, some one piece and some two pieces.
- There are no rules. Just make sure the outfits are cohesive. I believe that good styling makes a good photo look even better:-)
3. Set Up Way Ahead Of Call Time. I went to the chosen spot at least 30 min before the shoot time. Remember, best time to take an outdoor photo in the morning is as early as 6am (or when the sun has risen) to around 10am. 10:30 onwards, sun is a bit harsh and shadows are very prominent. If the sun is too strong and you are not yet done, choose a shaded spot where light is even and well distributed. This was what happened to us. The sun caught up with us and in some photos you will notice glaring and shadows. I’d say it’s okay, work with the condition and just go to a good shaded area where light is even.
- Wireless Remote (compatible with your camera)
- Flash (optional if needed)
4. Take Numerous Test Shots and Multiple Actual Shots. As soon as everyone is in place and gadgets are working, take a test shot or two or three. If all are good to go, take several shots, and several more! Remember we are in the digital age and unless you are using film, you can take as many shots are you wish. This way you will have a lot of images to choose from.
5. Move Around. Exchange positions and vary those poses. You can even move one or two steps within your chosen location just to shift things around. In our mini portrait session, we backed up a few steps behind and included an umbrella to add to the beach and outdoor feel. We also did two to three variation poses within those two spots. Oh, to keep those smiles fresh, take a break in between 10 shots or so then regroup.
6. Make It Fun. Did you know that photo shoots are tiring (unless you are a model)? I am also sure that everyone will feel spent just after an hour. So, be creative and inject some craziness. In our case since we were the photographers, we took turns hitting that remote and called the shots. We invented our own call to action words (i.e. Now! Smile!, Cheese! Groovy!) as soon as we hit the shutter. This caused some not to be ready, some eyes were closed, some not looking, but hey it was all fun!
With all its worth and the hundreds of frames we took, I was sure there were at least a 6 photos decent for a family portrait. True enough I was able to process about 12 — yay— more photos than expected. Here are the best two (or three counting the first photo above) among the collection.
What do you think? I’d say not perfect but, not bad either.
Game! Plan that DIY Family Portrait soon and share how it goes. If you need more tips or have questions , just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) Will be happy to help.
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