You've booked your photographer...you've convinced your husband, now what?!
You're determined to not let another year pass by without family portraits, but the thought of wrangling your wild animal toddler and your less-than-enthused 7 going on 17 year old makes you want to just throw in the towel on the whole idea. You desperately want family photos in Telluride, Crested Butte or Ouray- it's the trip of a lifetime...but how on earth are you or anyone else for that matter going to get them to stand still for one photo, nevermind an HOUR of photos?
Family portraits have come a long way since the days of studio-only photography. There's a whole new market of lifestyle & documentary photographers (like me) out there to document real life moments. There are only a few things you need to do to prepare, and I have GOT YOU on the rest of it. It's literally my job.
Okay, you've taken a deep breath, decided capturing you babies chubby cheeks and your toddlers goofy grin is worth it, and booked your photographer. Now what?
Location is one of the most important aspects of outdoor family photography. You don't want your 2 year old wandering off a cliff, you don't want your baby to land face down in a cactus, and you don't necessarily want to hike your family of 6 up a mountain (or maybe you do). That's where I come in. I provide you with an extensive location guide filled with incredible spots to choose from. From the Black Canyon in Montrose, to a sparkling alpine lake in Ouray, to mountain overlooks in Telluride, I have personally scouted and selected locations for every need. Want a big field for your kiddos to run around in? I've got you. Want an epic overlook with 360 views? I've got you. When I send you my location guide I will make recommendations based on the age of your kiddos, what you are looking for, and the personality of your family! See? Taking the stress out already.
Styling is next, and I don't want to say it will make or break your photos, but it is important. I always send a styling guide to all my clients, and I provide custom wardrobe assistance, but here are a couple of things to consider:
Right at the top of my list is COMFORT. You need to be able to move around, comfortably pick up littles, breastfeed if you need to...you get it. Your kids also need to be comfortable. You don't want your littles to be restricted with movement, complaining about itchy sleeves or blistered feet. Soft & stretchy go a long way. Extra layers also help, here in Colorado the weather can change at the drop of a hat! Are your family photos in Telluride in the summer? Or Ouray in the winter? It is crucial to consider location & weather when selecting outfits.
Color scheme is also a very important factor. Mixing and matching within a certain color family always looks fabulous. Earth tones & neutrals are my personal go to, but I have done some stunning sessions with pops of color!
It's the day of the shoot, you've already fielded 3 meltdowns and a giant stain. Maybe no one is in the mood, including you. I have a tried and true trick that works, oh, 99.9% of the time. EAT. Feed every single person in your house, including yourself right before you walk out the door or snack in the car. Pro tip: bring a few snacks with you. They make great bribes and can pick up the energy of the kiddos if they start to tucker out. This is a mood changer, seriously.
I know there are a lot of things us mammas worry about, especially if we have littles. Will they behave? What if they melt down? How am I going to make them sit and smile?
You have convinced your family, planned the vacation to Telluride (or wherever), found & booked the photographer, selected the outfits, fed the kidddos...you've done enough mama. Time for me to take over.
I love to start with one formal family portrait because kiddos are usually most cooperative right at the beginning. Then, we just have fun! I let the kids take the lead. Do they want to play some games? Do they want to run around and get some energy out while I get photos of you and your partner? Do they feel snuggly? What part of the landscape are they curious about? These are all of the things guiding me during the shoot. I will make sure we get some great posed shots and some great candids. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed the kiddos are. Plus, I have bribes ;) If I need to pull out the treasure box card I certainly will. (Spoiler alert...they always get treasure box at the end).