Your photo session is booked and your wondering how to prepare for the day. Well, here are some tips, tricks and considerations for making your session awesome.
Photo sessions usually run a bit over an hour from start to finish. This gives plenty of time for various location options, poses, and wardrobe changes. If there are children in the group then they will usually drive the session. Expression trumps everything when it come to photographing people. Therefore when there will be small children in the group it’s best to pick a time when they will be at their best. Well rested and full bellies are the way to go. Feel free to bring some snacks and a favorite toy to the session too!
Choosing a location
I choose a location more for the quality of the light than the background elements that will be in the frame. That said, most any locations can work well if approached properly with the lighting in mind. Sometimes what looks like an ideal place for a photograph may not work well and conversely, what looks like a horrible location can yield the most fantastic images all due to the quality of light. I prefer to schedule most outdoor sessions in the later evening or very early morning for the best quality of light. If the location has buildings, trees, or any other shade casting elements than earlier in the day will also work well. Popular locations in the Portland area include Fort Williams park, any of the various lighthouses, the Old Port, Kettle Cove, Ferry Beach, and any field, forest or farm in the area. You can also choose your home or any other special place to have your photos done.
Selecting a Wardrobe (for you and your family)
Wardrobe selection is essential for creating wonderful family images. When considering your wardrobe start with what compliments you and your style as well as the group you will be with. The clothing should be flattering, well fitting, and bring the attention to the subjects being photographed rather than to the clothing itself. Colors that photograph well include soft earth tones as well as the primary colors such as reds, blues (navy) and yellows. Try to stay clear of fluorescence’s, busy designs, logos, or anything that will compete for your eyes attention. Also avoid incorporating too much white clothing. While is very reflective and can wash out the existing colors and shadows in an image. Sprinkle in a bit of white here and there but not one for the entire family.
A very useful too to help find colors that work is to incorporate a Color Wheel into you planning. Be sure to take into consideration where your photos will be taken and pick colors and tones that will compliment the scene. Complementary or Triad color sets are a good starting point. For groups, coordinating colors is the way to go rather than trying to match each other perfectly. Having two or three coordinating colors (Triad) of various shades and tones adds interest and depth to the image.
Whatever your style is be sure to show it off! If you have a flare for color be sure to inject something punchy into your wardrobe. Build on your wardrobe and (weather depending) have multiple layers for variety. Add on some spice with the addition of scarves, vests, ribbons (in the hair), hats, blazers, neck ties, belts, tights, boots, or a cardigan. Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of flare into your photos! Shoes matter too and they help to make a cohesive look to the image. Try to avoid themed kids shoes, flip flops, Crocs and the like and shoot for leather options, All-Stars, Toms, cowboy boots, Vans or ditch the shoes entirely and go with bare feet. For the gentlemen I recommend avoiding shorts and always choose darker socks if you have the choice. Please feel free to bring additional wardrobes.
These are some of the online tools I use to plan where and when my photo sessions will take place.
You can check sunset and sunrise times here: Sunset and Sunrise Time Table
Having a beach session? Remember to check the tides here: Southern Maine Tide Chart
Where will that sun be: SunCalc