Things to know
1. Selecting a family & children portrait photographer
The images created by professional NYC family photographers touch every aspect of your life and give you a beautiful way to preserve those memories. A portrait can be enjoyed in many ways, whether you incorporate it as a wall portrait in your home decor or purchase copies of the final print for the entire family.
Consider the following tips on selecting and working with a photographer for your family’s portrait needs:
- Interview several photographers. They should be willing to take the time to listen to what you want and ask questions about you and/or your family. A photographer needs this information to create images that tell the story of who you are, or who you would like to be. Keep in mind that you are not hiring someone to simply take a picture, but to tell your story.
- Ask about style. Do you like photojournalistic images? Or is your style more classical, whimsical or romantic? Let the photographer know what you have in mind, and ask if he or she has experience in that area. You want them to use the style that best captures your personality.
- Look at samples. Ask to see some of the photographer’s work. This will give you an idea of both the style and quality each photographer provides.
- Communicate. Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to discuss the services and fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings.
Once you’ve hired a family photographer, he or she should take the time to talk to you about your family and their favorite activities, as well as offer suggestions on location and coordinating clothing and colors. The photographer will use this information to create a photograph that tells your family’s unique story.
In fact, many families make their portraits more memorable by turning them into an event. One way of accomplishing this is traveling to your favorite location, like local parks, your family’s place of worship, or a family member’s home.
2. Preparing for a family portrait session
Preparation is an important component to creating a successful photography session.
- Get plenty of rest the night before your session. If you are exhausted, you will look exhausted. Go to bed at a reasonable time so you wake up refreshed and ready.
- Watch out for sunburn! Make sure to apply sunscreen. A little pink in the cheeks looks good in photos but beet-red faces are not very photogenic!
- Avoid fresh haircuts. For best portrait results, schedule your haircut one to two weeks before your photo shoot.
- Children: Consider nap times when booking your portrait session. Little guys usually have a window when they are in a good mood after a nap. If your little ones have a regular nap schedule, try to schedule your session when you know your child is typically in a happy, cooperative mood.
- Take favorite toys for small kids.
- Children will often get tired and hungry. Have some snacks and something to drink ready to go for when they need a little break.
- Avoid colorful drinks or lollypops within 24 hours of your shoot, don’t let them eat or drink anything that will stain their face, teeth or mouths.
- Please try to feed your children before the session.
- Make-up: You want to achieve a natural even skin tone, and be sure to cover blemishes.
- Come hair-ready and bring a brush, comb, etc for touching up during the shoot. Hair and Make-up professionals are recommended for best results and are available for an additional cost.
- Wardrobe: A good rule-of-thumb is to try and wear clothing that doesn't detract from your face: Your clothes should be free of logos. You would also want to stay away from large busy prints and loud vibrant colors. Similar to nails, loud colors usually command the viewer's attention, etc. You should discuss wardrobe with your photographer before the shoot.
- All you intend to wear should be laid out, clean and ironed the night before. Wrinkle-free clothing will help make your image much more professional.
- Arrive early for your session. You don't want to miss your photo session so please arrive to the location ten minutes ahead of schedule.
3. What should I wear in family photos?
What to wear has a lot to do with your own style. No matter the type of photography session planned, it’s important to LOVE what you are going to wear. If you don’t LOVE it, don’t bring it. If you’re comfortable with what you’re wearing, it’ll shine through the picture.
- wear solid coloured clothing
- Avoid stripes, patterns, and logos.
- choose muted tones that are a bit subdued
- choose similar tones for your top and bottom (both dark or both light)
- choose 1-3 colours for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that colour palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones. OR tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.
- choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow
- choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies
- choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach)
- keep jewellery simple and minimalistic
We hope this helps you decide on your outfits for your beach portrait session!
4. What's the best time of day to schedule your family portrait?
The best time of day depends on your setting and the best time is really any time that your family can spend this time together without stress.
Most families choose to use the beautiful places of New York City as their backdrop and have a location setting. For these, the best time of day to shoot are the hours closest to sunrise, sunset or mid-day (which is nice for the blue sky and shimmering water but people squinting and sweating becomes major problems for portrait subjects in the middle of the day.)
When you’re planning your family portrait, you need to consider the best time of day to schedule your photo session. Lots of families book them over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday when everyone is together. When scheduling a family session remember that weekends are much busier on the parks so we recommend a Monday to Friday for your family session.
Sunrise, Mid-day or Sunset?
Sunrise: If you are an early bird, consider taking advantage of the beautiful early morning light. The sunrise is not as dramatic as the sunset, but it still makes for ideal family portrait lighting.
Mid-day: The light during mid-day is far too bright and harsh and there is little or shade on the parks. However, it is great for your amazing backdrop (blue sky and blue ocean). Shadows, squinting, and sweating become major problems for portrait subjects in the middle of the day.
Sunset: As expected, sunset is the most popular time for family portraits. However, for the best possible outdoor portrait lighting and to ensure everyone arrives on time and is ready to go, we recommend scheduling your sessions 90 minutes to an hour before the sun goes down. Remember to consider naptime or dinnertime if younger children are to be included in the sunset portrait.
5. Weather – rain, overcast?
Unfortunately, the weather in New York City is often unpredictable in winter (November to March) and not always idyllic - it may very well be overcast, drizzling, or extremely windy. Fortunately, New York Family Photographers have the professional experience necessary to capitalize on these types of weather scenarios and they have achieved some of our most dramatic results in these situations. But, in the event it is raining hard or the weather is just not cooperating, photographers will work with you to reschedule for another convenient time.
What if it rains? Unfortunately, we can’t control Mother Nature. However, if weather conditions are not favorable due to rain or high wind photographers will reschedule your session.
Overcast conditions actually provide excellent lighting for portraits. Think about it … you won’t have to squint from the bright sun and there won’t be any harsh shadows on faces or elsewhere. Clouds act as a natural diffuser to give photographers nice soft lighting. So . . . DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE CLOUDS!
6. Should I bring props for my family photo shoot?
Props are a great idea for adults and kids. Any prop you would like to bring is always welcome. Some examples would be fun hats and sunglasses, bubble wands, balloons, pinwheels, kite, toys, picnic basket set or colorful beach balls are perfect park-themed activities.
You may also visit Etsy.com and bring your own props to your session.
TIP: when purchasing from Etsy.com. Make your purchase 4-6 weeks before your session so you receive it in time.
7. Do I need to wear make-up?
Makeup is important to consider as well. We recommend using a matte finish makeup that is free from any sparkles or shine. While you may want to apply a little more than usual, do keep your makeup as natural as possible. You might want to emphasis your lips and eyes.
8. What is the the golden hour - "Magic Hour"?
The golden hour, sometimes called the "magic hour", is roughly the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset, although the exact duration varies between seasons. During these times the sun is low in the sky, producing a soft, diffused light which is much moreflattering than the harsh midday sun that so many of photographers are used to shooting in.
9. Can we bring our family dog or cat?
Yes! Of course, so long as they are willing and able to participate! Please be sure to have a leash.
10. Where should we take our pictures?
Locations can be natural settings, city landmarks, college campuses, your home, corporate office or just about anywhere. NYC Photographers can suggest convenient locations to you, or they can provide professional studio lighting and backdrops.