This is the first post of a series I will be doing on how to create professional looking images of your kids yourself. Make sure you sign up for our e-mail list so you don’t miss out! You can find 10 Steps to Planning A Mommy Photo Shoot- Part 1 here if you missed it!
Now that we have the photo shoot in our calendar, we know the day, the time and where we will be going, lets figure out how to set ourselves up to have cooperative and photo perfect models.
6. Plan the outfits. Whether it is an outfit for one kid or many outfits that you will need to coordinate it is something you should pick out ahead of time so that you can have it clean, ironed, and matching accessories all ready to go because if you are like me there will always be a time crunch on picture day. It just happens. Every. Single. Time. So in order to find the perfect outfit I usually think about two things first.
- What type of feel do I want the shoot to have (more formal, relaxed, fun, etc)
- What would look best in the setting we will have at the location
We have done everything from button down shirts to overalls with no shirt and no shoes. Both can look great. If you are coordinating multiple kids try to keep it interesting by dressing them in coordinating (not identically matching) colors and patterns. Vibrant colors are always fun and look great in prints. A great way to achieve this coordinated look is to start by picking 3-4 colors. You will want a neutral and two or three accent colors, For example, gray, aqua and yellow. Then try to make sure that every one is wearing two of them.
Add accessories to give the shoot personality like a hat or sunglasses. Also, for girls adding in things like scarves, flowers in the hair, or chunky necklaces give great texture in the photo. Remember your kids are the star of the show in photo shoots so pick things that will not only compliment them but also make them stand out. If you need more help there are plenty of resources online that can help you figure out how to dress!
7. Make sure your kids are well rested. The night before give them a slightly earlier bedtime and if they take naps make sure they take them on schedule the day of the shoot. Since I do my shoots at the end of the day this is vital to having a chance at getting a smile. Tired kids don’t smile (at least on command), they argue, they have trouble focusing, and have melt downs. None of these are good to be captured on film to be remembered FOREVER!
8. Make sure your kids are well fed. Depending on the time of year and how early or late your shoot you may need to adjust meal schedules or give additional snacks. Just like the sleep thing, if kids are fed they will be happy, cooperative and focused rather than the opposite. Just always make sure they have something to eat and are not going out to pose for you on an empty stomach. These two steps alone can ruin a shoot after you have done all the other work to make it a success.
9. Have a bag of tricks. No I am not above bribery. It is absolutely an effective tool in getting great pictures and I will always have something up my sleeve to get that one last smile. You can use candy (just not anything messy) or just a small toy like a little figurine. I often keep a little dino in my pocket and it will not come out to play unless you smile. If the kid is really good then they can keep dino at the end. I will raid the clearance after a holiday for small trinkets and hit the dollar aisle at the store. It is better to have something little with you than promise something big later. This is especially true with littler kiddos.
By having some small toys and joking and playing with them as you shoot you can get the kind of smiles and expressions that are beautiful, joyful and best of all natural. This is also where your helper can pitch in big time. I don’t know how many times I have said “isn’t Daddy doing the chicken dance funny?” forcing daddy to dance (he is a GREAT husband) but it works every time!
10. Get your gear ready. The night before the shoot make sure you have your camera charged, your memory card cleared, and any props or accessories you want to take ready to go. Before you leave the house for the shoot double check to make sure your memory card and battery are in the camera and you have everything you need. You should plan for comfortable clothing for yourself and make sure you have shoes and pants that let you move and you don’t mind getting dirty!
Hopefully these tips helped you understand how to plan a successful shoot with your kids. I plan on writing more in this series on subjects like Do I need a DSLR?, Posing, Great Photos by Age, and Portrait Editing with PhotoShop Elements. Is there anything you are interested in learning in order to take better pictures of your kids? Leave me a comment below and I would love to address it on the blog! Now that you know what to do to plan the shoot, let’s get it done with this FREE printable Mommy Photo Shoot Planner.