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DON’T SAY CHEESE

Its mid August and your kids are golden tanned, the weather is glorious, your schedule is free, your mood is relaxed. Time to take your annual family photos.

photo by Stephanie Sunderland Photgraphy

photo by Stephanie Sunderland Photography

So you book a photographer, decide on a shoot location, and start mentally going through the kids wardrobe.  BAM. Anxiety sets in. So now your mood is less relaxed. And your schedule is looking busy again.  Those golden tans are definitely fading. Is that rain in the forecast??

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photo by Dani Diamond Photography

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photo by Esther Chanie Photography

Fret not!  Fortify yourself against that  ‘photo shoot negativity monster’  with the following advice and tips,  and ensure that your photography session will capture your kids as the perfect angels they really are.

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photo by Wee Baby Photogrophy

SCHEDULING THE TIME OF DAY OF THE SESSION  

Esther of Esther Chanie Photography, talks to us about the optimal time to shoot:

“The best time to shoot is dependent on your specific photographer, as some prefer morning shoots with the early sun and others prefer late afternoon. Midday, if it’s outdoors, is always a bad idea. Golden hour is an hour or two before sunset and that’s the optimal time. However, there are photographers that can’t do that hour. So as much as there’s a preferable time, it’s dependent on quite a few factors. If sunset is late, that can be very hard on toddlers as well. Personally, if golden hour doesn’t work for either me or the client, I opt for early morning when there’s still a bit of dew around.”

MooreFamily-32

photo by Stephanie Sunderland Photography

My RECAP – Early morning or late afternoon cast the most flattering light.  Stay away from shooting outdoors midday.   Blinding sunlight causes squinting, which is not a great look on even the best looking kid.  However, factor in your kids best behavior time. Or bribe them.

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photo by Esther Chanie Photography

 

 

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photo by Dani Diamond Photography

PLANNING THE OUTFITS

Keeping in mind that you want your photos to be appealing for years to come, stay away from clothes that are too trendy.  Say it with me – CLASSIC CLOTHES.

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photo by Stephanie Sunderland Photography

Don’t choose  big,  obnoxious “in your face” prints.  Prints, in general, are particular to a certain fashion season’s trend (i.e.  last year’s mustache craze) and are known to become “been there, done that”  faster than you can say cheese.  So…….. If you do choose a print, subtle prints work best.

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photo by Toby Adler Photography

Consult with your kids regarding their outfit.  YOU know what your kid will or will not wear.  Dont fool yourself into thinking that your kid will smile for the camera if they are wearing something itchy and scratchy, something too tight or too small, or something they’ve previously deemed nerdy, gross, too babyish, too mature, too boyish, too girlish, old fashioned,  stupid, horrocious, or just plain ugly.

Unexpected accessories like an interesting flower wreath or glittery star headband for girls or suspenders or newsboy caps for boys add visual interest to your photos, but avoid decorating  your kid like a birthday cake with anything too fussy or overpowering like  layers of ruffles, exaggerated bows, or ribbons that can come undone.  Just don’t.

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photo by Wee Baby Photography

Matchy-matchy is over-over.  C’mon people, Its 2014! You can coordinate the outfits in similar colors or color block each kid in a different color.  But cloning your kids in identical outfits, down to the very last detail ………not a great look when you were a kid…not a great look now.

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Photo by Dani Diamond Photography

Chumee of Wee Baby Photography says pay special attention to shoes:

“The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit.  Slipping on a pair of distressed boots or some colored ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session.  And many times NO shoes look best, especially if you will be sitting or are in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen.”

Good point, Chumee!

AT THE SHOOT
Arrive at the shoot substantially early so that you are relaxed and not harried (and don’t antagonize the photographer by arriving late.)
Make sure your kids’ faces are clean.  Don’t use your saliva to wipe a smudge off their face.  That’s gross.
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photo by Toby Adler Photography

Don’t yell at your kids to smile. Screaming elicits frowns not smiles. Also, don’t slap them.  Because that will make them cry.  And that’s counterproductive.
Dani of Dani Diamond Photography gives us his key pointers:

“To get the best photos, a photographer often needs time to get to know your children and allow them to be comfortable. But remember, the photographer is not a babysitter. If you children won’t cooperate it’s not the photographer’s job to discipline them. Discuss what you are looking for before  hand, but at the shoot let the photographer work their magic. Often the best photos are not smiling photos, but real emotion. Find a photographer who exudes emotion through their photos and not just forced smiles.”

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photo by Stephanie Sunderland Photography

Kids natural expressions are priceless (cliche, I know).  Saying “cheese” makes for a completely unnatural, forced smile.  So if the look you’re going for is Joan Rivers’ frozen botox face, then by all means shout at your kids “say cheese”……….”.”

Stephanie Sunderland Photography says:

“Make sure you and (your husband) are relaxed and happy during the shoot, it makes a huge difference in the kids attitudes if the adults are happy, cooperative and having fun. When I start doing individual photos of the children, please hang back with the other children, they tend to do better when their family isn’t watching them. If I am having a hard time getting them to smile or laugh I will call you over to help me– please be ready to dance like a weirdo! It usually makes any kid laugh when there parents start acting silly behind me.”

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photo by Wee Baby Photography

Toby of Toby Adler Photography is in favor of  using props:

“Getting your kids to cooperate is sometimes challenging.  Just because your in the mood of having them photographed, they may feel otherwise.  Besides for adding a beautiful visual element to your photo, props engage your kids in the photo session.  I  try to bring props such as  flutes, fishing rods, toy trucks, wands and crowns, things that gets the kids smiling and participating. It works wonders.”

Thanks Toby, can we keep the prizes??

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Photo by Toby Adler Photography

Ok people,  I hope you are now equipped with enough knowledge for a successful and productive photo shoot.  SMILE…and don’t say cheese!