Holiday Family Photos: Dos & Don’ts


With that time of year rolling around people are starting to work on holiday photos. If you’re like me I love to plan for family photos so here are a few suggestions from someone who’s been on both sides of the camera, literally.

Let’s start with the Do section:

-Do Match. You do want your photos to look somewhat put together. All showing up in different outfits might not flow as well with a finished project. It is best to pick outfits that are similar yet not the same (the same blue jeans with a white polo shirt went out LONG ago..)

-Do dress up. You don’t want to look back in twenty years and see dirty stained clothing that your children played in. Every year for our family photos I will splurge and get nice outfits for us. I don’t let ANYONE wear them until after the photos. Once our photos have passed they become part of our regular clothing.

-Do talk to your photographer. Ask their advice on outfit selections. Your outfit choices could be altered due to your location of your photo shoot (if you’re doing an outside shoot, all green might not be the best choice as you will become one with the background..).

-Do interview photographers. Every photographer has their own style. Not every style photographer will be the style for you. Think about things like ‘how will these look in my home with my other photos’. Consider pricing and what your family can afford (cheap is NOT always best, but that doesn’t mean the guy charging $1000+ for family photos is the it guy either..) Remember ONE key thing with photos: They will not necessarily be cheap, but will they be worth it, absolutely. You are only this age once (as are your children) and you will cherish these memories. I promise you, tablets & cell phones don’t hang well over the fire place… Do your research for the area and ask around; word of mouth is HUGE in this sort of business.  Ask for portfolios of photographers you are considering working with. Ideally you should find a photographer that you want to build a lasting relationship with so you can have your photos done by the same person. We as humans are naturally more comfortable around someone you know.

-Do set yourself a photography budget. If you decide you can afford $300 for photos then find a photographer who can work within that budget and include prints in that budget.

-Do print your photos. Although this sounds like a no brainer I bet you’d be surprised at how many people get photos taken and then stash the lovely CD away in a desk drawer and never print their pictures.

And then for the Don’ts:

-Don’t be matchy matchy.. “But wait lady, you just said to match”.. Ding, ding, ding! Let’s pick this one apart. It is best to find outfits that have similar color pallets. (I.E girls in purples and boys in blues). But if you just make it too simple as to say that everyone wears a solid shirt it will get too matchy matchy. Try something like Mom in a purple hue with a patterned scarf, Dad in a nice plaid blue button down top with a navy or grey sweater over it. Sally can wear a cute gently patterned purple dress with white tights and cute boots. Billy would look nice in a solid blue shirt with a white sweater vest with blue argyle over. Nothing super busy, all colors working together, but not matchy matchy. Perfect combination of not matching but matching!

-Don’t book with the first photographer that comes your way, see my above statements on that one.

-Don’t be late to your appointments. Many photographers work off natural light and they have booked your time slots accordingly. By showing up late, you are only hurting your final products. You might get less photos or the lighting might not be ideal for your session. If you are not able to make your session contact your photographer and they will likely want to reschedule.

-Don’t print your photos at a department store. I know I’m going to get flack for this one. I promise you that department/drug stores DO NOT PRINT as good as professional print companies. You can tell me a thousand times how you’ve printed pictures with no problems and that might be true, however, you WILL get better quality with a professional lab. Don’t let that concept scare you away- their prints are often not as pricey as one may think AND they will absolutely out last ANY department store print. So let’s put it in these terms: $.15 for a 4×6 at your local drug store that may last a few years for you to want to reprint it but now can’t find the files or heck in a few years they won’t even take a CD that your original files are saved on and the costs keep adding up..or, $.50 for a 4×6 that doesn’t ever need to be replaced. You pick. Outside that fact, most department store/drug stores photo labs have their own form of ‘color correction’ and all the hard work your photographer spent on carefully retouching your precious photos will be ruined by their auto corrections. Please, if you’re going to invest in hundreds of dollars to have the photos taken why skimp on having them printed?

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