When I was a full-time photographer, this time of year was always my busiest season. All the family “mini” and full sessions filled my nights and weekends from November through early December. Since I have the perspective of mother and photographer, sharing some of my holiday family photography wisdom with you all may enhance your experiences and encourage you to document this 2018 holiday season.
- Consider a full session: Mini sessions are great and affordable, BUT they are limited and sometimes can be a little too “holiday themed.”So consider spending the extra time and money for a full session. This way you can have a variety of images to choose from and end up with canvas-worthy photos to decorate your home and others to choose for a fabulous Christmas 2018 card. You will not regret the decision, I promise. The other thing to consider is mini sessions with kids are sometimes not long enough to get a photo of your family with everyone happy and looking in the direction of the camera.
- Take your family photos while you’re traveling: If your family plans on taking a holiday trip or visiting family in a new city or town this November or December, consider hiring a local photographer and taking your family photos during your trip. This will be different from your typical family photos and at the same time help preserve the good memories you make on the trip. Read more about taking photos when you travel here: Take Your Family Photos When You Travel
- Book ASAP: This is kind of a no brainer but if you want to use the photos for Christmas cards, book a sitting as soon as you can so you are not waiting on pins and needles for your photos to be edited and returned to you. Photographers are busy this time of year and while we understand you need these photos, we also have 20+ other shoots we are trying to edit and get out the door in time for Christmas cards. Also, on a side note, just asking for one is never as easy as it seems, so book in advance, and wait for your photos to be finished and delivered to you in the time frame you and your photographer decide on.
- Be Prepared with bribes: Before you arrive tell your children what they will get for doing a good job at the photo shoot. This can be anything you want — big, small — but be prepared! Even if you think it will go, well plan on rewarding them for their good behavior. Photo shoots are not easy and if they know good behavior once a year gets them a new toy or a meal at their favorite restaurant, why not do it? Make sure to tell the photographer what the reward will be so the photographer can play along with the game.
- Try to enjoy yourself: I know this can be hard believe me, but try to have fun with the process. The best images I ever capture are the fun moments in between. Same goes for my own family photos, I always love the candid moments versus the posed images. Not many people are comfortable in front of the camera but know that if you just relax and be yourself it will show in the images.
- Make sure to take holiday photos every year: If you can swing a mini and full session of family members, make sure to take photos every year. You will be able to look back at how your family changes from year to year, and have those precious memories documented for a lifetime.