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Grand Rapids, Michigan Wedding and Portrait photographer. Specializing in capturing LGBT love in Michigan and beyond. Obsessed with everything non traditional and diverse!

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Family Portraits

As Summer winds down and kids are going back to school you are probably sitting there thinking how fast time is flying by. It seems like just yesterday that your baby was born and no matter how hard you try, they just keep getting older! One of the best ways to preserve time is doing family photos. It’s one of those things that always sounds like a good idea but it’s hard to find the right photographer or the time to do it. I’ve compiled some tips to help you get the most out of your experience and create the best possible photos for you to cherish.

1: Let things go

It might be counter intuitive to let things go during a photo session that will last forever, but perfectly ironed clothes and toothy smiles might not be genuine to your family. If your family loves playing tag outside maybe think about including that in the photos. The goal as a photographer is not to force authenticity but rather capture things as they are. Your kids will only fight back if they are being prodded to pose a certain way. By allowing family interactions to happen naturally you’ll ultimately get better photos with more emotion and less bickering. It’s hard as a parent to step back and let things happen sometimes, but I promise the end product is worth it. Just relax and let your photographer guide the session.

2: Coordinate, don’t match

I can’t tell you the amount of times people ask me for outfit advice for family sessions and this is always my answer. Coordinate, don’t match. Picking a color scheme or type of material to work with helps kids when choosing clothes, and it lets them feel like part of the experience. Wearing all denim and a red bandana isn’t going to look cute, I know it might sound like it, but maybe wearing all jeans and letting your family choose pops of red would work better. It’s important not to overwhelm the image with your clothing, and just let the emotions speak for themselves. If you are looking at the photos 10 years from now the photos will turn out much better with a classic look rather than one that can be dated. That being said, if your family always wears a certain type of clothing, wear that! We want you to be comfortable in what you have on, so you can focus in the moment and not on the tag poking your neck.

3: Think of this as an investment

I get it, photos can be expensive, but when you look at it as an investment it starts to become more doable. When you think of your grandparents or even your parents they probably had tons of albums filled with photos. I know my Grandma has hoards of albums filled throughout the years. She always tells me that film was one thing she spent more money on because she wanted to remember all of the moments of her life. In the world of social media I can bet that you probably haven’t had a professional photo taken in the last year, or even printed a photo on paper. If social media disappears what is left? I want to make sure that families have tangible memories of their years together. While photography might not be in your budget right now, think of saving some extra money and investing in your family.

4: Location, location, location

I’m sure you all have heard how much location matters in real estate, but what about photos? If you are going to invest in photos we want to make sure that the location of them speaks to your values and family lifestyle. There are tons of great city locations especially here in Grand Rapids, but also super close to the beach and wooded areas. Lots of the best locations are hidden so find a photographer who has lots of experience with finding locations!

5: Have fun!!

It may seem obvious but photo sessions themselves can be super fun and can be a great bonding experience. Finding activities or locations that mean something to you an your family help you relax and just enjoy the time spent together.Let your kids be a part of the planning and get excited about being in front of the camera. If you are like most people once you get a professional family session done you’ll be coming back for years to come!

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