today’s love story:
THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS TO PLANNING FAMILY PORTRAITS
and all the magical moments that made it
THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONSto planning family portraits
You can already imagine the best picture of your loves hanging in the living room.
But wait. How do you make it all happen? There are so many details…
What should we wear?
Where should we have the session?
Will the kids behave? (or really, what can I bribe them with?)
Who should we hire?
What should we do with the pictures afterwards?
Even I’ve felt the nervousness of planning for professional photographs.
There should be a support group.
"Hi, I'm Erica, and I'm trying to plan a portrait session."
"Hi Erica," the moms reply in that knowing 'we too spent 1,000 hours online trying to figure it out' kind of way.
So let's break it down...it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Here are the THREE decisions you have to make:
1. Why are pictures of my family important right now?
Simple question. What brought you here, to a portrait artist’s website, at this specific moment?
Are you celebrating an important milestone in your life? Welcoming home a new baby, or hitting a big birthday/anniversary? Or is it that your kids are at such fun ages and you never want to forget this moment…or maybe your “baby” isn’t such a baby anymore and you’ve never done this.
Maybe as your littles grow older together, they just love each other so much…in between the wrestling & arguing, you catch them giggling together over a book and THAT’S what you want to hold onto forever.
When you focus on why pictures are important, it will help guide your decisions and will also help you realize that concerns you’re stuck on might not actually be that important.
2. What should we wear?
Outfits are usually the first thing mommas think (aka stress!) about when it comes to family pictures.
This little trick is going to make it super simple – ready for it? Walk through your home! You’ve already chosen your favorite colors and your style, so leverage that work:
– what color are your walls?
– what are your accent colors, found on your throw pillows, or any art you have on the walls?
– what color is your couch, comforter, rugs?
Pull the 2-3 colors from your home decor and you’ve got the colors for your outfits!
Playful colors for the playroom, and neutrals with pops of blue & green for the living room! AND when you fall in love with your portraits, you’ll know they will complement your home perfectly.
MOM TIP: don’t overthink it. Simple is good so your family shines through!
3. Where do we want to enjoy our portraits?
Often overlooked when planning is where you’ll want to enjoy your pictures, but this is something you should be thinking about from the start. It makes decisions later so much easier & fun!
– Which rooms are you in the most?
– Where might you want to see a picture of your favorite people every day?
– How might your kids enjoy looking at these pictures?
There are so many options, each with different benefits! Large prints for the wall turn a house into a home, albums tell stories and bring personality to life, and gift prints light up the lives of the people you love most. And then of course, digital files for social media & late night photo scrolls on your phone!
BONUS: Avoid the mistake we made.
There are lots of decisions that happen after the session ends: where to hang, sizing, finish, etc. But I’m going to tell you, the most difficult is deciding WHICH of your family pictures deserves to be brought to life in print.
Here’s our story, and the mistake you want to avoid.
We commissioned a high-end family photographer for our own portraits a few years ago. The session with our 2 boys was magic. We played at the beach, and the boys were loving and snuggling and so happy!
We went to the photographer’s studio a couple of weeks later to see the proofs, SO excited! We loved them ALL. They had us choose our products (all of ’em, of course!) while we were there, and then they
sent us home to make our selections from an online gallery.
ONE YEAR LATER, WE RECEIVED OUR PRINTS.
I wish I was kidding. It took a full year to make the decision. We loved the pictures, and had already paid for the products. All we had to do what pick the one we wanted big. If you think a photographer is doing you a favor by providing an online gallery, think again. After spending what felt like one million hours in front of the computer debating between picture A and picture B, you’ll realize that it was no favor at all. I started and stopped the process so many times without making a decision, which made it really stressful…and I missed out on a year of enjoying that gorgeous 20×30 portrait of my beautiful family. I just couldn’t decide! Please, for the love of all things joyful, don’t choose a photographer who sends you off with just the digitals.
These moments are so fleeting + life is so busy. Choose an expert to create something worthy of the moment.
As a fellow mom, I recommend an expert's help.
I’ve hired photographers who – like us – provide the full printing service (including help choosing favorites) and I’ve hired photographers who simply sold us a flash drive of the digital files.
For me, done is best.
I value a someone who will guide us through the entire process, help us with sizing, make suggestions on how to print, and help us select our best images. I’d hire the expert every day of the week.