Getting Photos & Portraits Taken: Tips for a Successful Photo Shoot
Here are some of our favourite tips for a successful portrait photo shoot. These are guidelines only, so you don’t need to follow them to the letter, but we hope they help you have a little fun with your session. Mix it up a little and see what happens!
What will my final photos look like?
Share your vision with us! If you’ve seen any pictures online that you like the look or style of, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can see what you’d like to achieve from the shoot. Or add us on Pinterest, we are: fotomakiphoto. We’d love to start a mood board with you that we can all pin our ideas to. Once we have these ideas we can start scouting locations and coming up with ideas that match your vision.
Before we begin, consider these questions:
Do you want formal, posed (looking-at-the-camera) portraits?
Do you want informal, candid photos with natural interaction?
Tell us what you want your portraits to portray; when people look at your pictures, do you want them to see a family that is easy-going? Fun? Energetic? Warm? Serious? Think of some descriptive words you’d like people to use when they see your images. This will help us choose poses, looks and styles that will suit the overall impression you want to display with your finished portraits.
What should I wear?
Plain, solid colours are almost always best. The point of a great portrait is to see, appreciate and cherish the faces in the photograph. So we don’t want anything in the photograph that distracts the eye from going right to the expressions of you and your loved ones. This means avoiding extremely bright colours, prints and logos. You don’t have to colour-coordinate everyone, but it can be fun to pick an accent colour for everyone to wear. It could be scarf, a hat, a tie or a pendant. We don’t want everyone to be too matchy-matchy though, as that can be a little cheesy! But why not tie-in a colour theme in your portraits to make them pop a little more?
Avoid patterns. It’s okay if one family member has a simple stripe or a basic design, but too many intricate patterns detract from faces. If in doubt about what to wear, go with a simple, solid coloured shirt. Loads of different patterns can be jarring to look at, so simple is always better.
Go casual, especially if you have little ones. We love photos that look like the family is relaxed, having fun with each other, and essentially like they do on any other day of the year. So jeans and t-shirts are great for casual portraits.
Wear layers to add dimension and accessories for splashes of colour. Consider rich textures, simple patterns, chunky jewellery, belts, scarves, hats and buckles. But don’t overdo it! And let’s be honest – this is Scotland – chances are we’ll be outside, and it will be chilly. A cute hat or scarf can really liven up an outfit, so it’s definitely something to bear in mind.
If the shoot is going to be in a park setting and there is a lot of green, choose colours that will go nicely with green to help make your photos come alive! We would suggest a bold contrasting colour like red, or perhaps a lovely pastel peach, if that’s more your style.
If you prefer more neutral colours, it’s still a good rule of thumb for someone to wear a colour that will really stand out. Even if it’s your shoes, add a pop of colour somewhere. Wear simple, classic apparel that reflects your style. For a timeless family portrait, avoid clothing that is too trendy. You don’t want to look back at your portraits in five years’ time and cringe at what you’re wearing in the photos!
Where will we go to take the photos?
Please let us know if there’s anywhere in particular you’d like to go for the photos – we have lots of ideas and can help with suggestions if you’re struggling.
The outdoors can make a great backdrop for family poses, and most kids are happier outside than in. Let kids be wild in the grass, run through a field or dance in an alleyway. You could engage them in their favourite outdoor activities, such as playing in the park, having a tea party or doing hand-stands in the back garden.
We’ll most likely take your family on a walk and stop when we see something interesting that’ll make a good background – trees, a flowery meadow, a location with a stunning vista behind it. We’ll take it from there.
Will we need to pose ourselves?
Don’t worry about posing, we prefer to be informal, and we’ll direct you on the day. Natural poses and natural images look best, so don’t worry too much about structured poses or doing anything too fancy.
Should I bring anything with me?
If we’re shooting in an outdoor location, then take accessories with you. Hats, umbrellas, favourite toys, bikes or balls will all add to the amount of shots we can create, as well as help to keep your little ones’ attention for just a bit longer.
If the weather is inclement, please bring wellies and umbrellas (bright ones if possible!). We wouldn’t suggest rescheduling if it’s just a light rain shower, sometimes this can make for even more interesting pictures – think raindrops on leaves and your kids splashing in the puddles! But if it’s a horrible day we can, of course, reschedule to another time that suits you.
And remember, we’re here to help. If you have any other questions, please just ask!