Special Feature with Natalie Bayliff
I have a confession: My walls are filled with professional photos of my family. Ok, mostly of Jackson. Since he was 10 days old, we’ve had the same photographer taking his portrait. Since having Tanner in April, we haven’t had a family photo shoot. That changed this weekend! Michelle Robertson from Magical Memories by Michelle and 12th Year Portraits took several of both boys so that Tanner can join Jackson on the wall.
Although I know her shooting style and most of the “photography rules” she sticks to, I always have a million questions each session on how to make sure my photos make us look like we’re Gap models.
She was nice enough to give me a list of tips and advice that I can pass along to the amazing readers of Smart Happy Organized so that you can also look your best and show off your personality!
Family Photo Shoot
Choosing a photographer can seem tricky, but it doesn’t need to be! Look through a photographers “look book” and see their past work. Does it match the style you’re going for? Not all photographers have the same shooting style so choosing one that can obtain your goal is key. Photography is art, find the artist that you identify with. Also know that a good camera does not equal a good photographer. References, referrals and reviews are great to look through!
Consult your photographer on locations. They have experience with several spots so they know the lighting, distractions, busy times of the day, etc. Feel free to suggest a location, however don’t be disappointed if the lighting isn’t right or it’s too busy of an attraction to actually get your two year old to smile.
One thing Michelle touched on often was wardrobe.
- Choose complimentary tones. Match dark with darks and light with lights. Stay away from black and white.
- Always choose cream or ivory over white
- Maroon is a good alternative to a bright red to avoid shadows on the skin
Match your wardrobe to your location. Jeweled tones work great for our vibrant Colorado colors, but in Arizona’s desert, the neutral colors look amazing. Don’t choose a 3 piece suit for a photo shoot by the water. Choose clothing that shows off your personality, not what you think you should be wearing. Michelle made me laugh when she said, “I don’t shoot formal photos. I want to photograph YOU, not you at a funeral!”
For senior portraits, she said it isn’t uncommon for her clients to show up with 12+ outfits. It gives her options to mix and match pieces and get a variety of looks with different locations. She provides a clothing consult prior to the session and says a lot of other photographers do as well. Just ask!
Make sure you iron your clothes! Wrinkled clothing can break a photo so take a few minutes and press your clothes. After a few editing nightmares, Michelle now makes sure her clients do not have chipped nail polish. It can take about 20 minutes per picture to edit that out!
Know that photographs are an investment, and probably a once a year treat. Good quality photos are not cheap, but they are worth it. Look for packages if you’re looking for maternity pictures. Photographers often offer a maternity, newborn and 1st birthday package. Word of mouth incentives are also common so check for those discounts!
The product prices can vary, but know that the lab that is accessible to the professionals is not the same as printing your pictures at the local grocery store. Invest in your very favorite poses and enjoy the quality and attention to detail.
A typical family photo shoot will provide about 25-30 edited images. Mini sessions will give you about 8-10. Don’t be disappointed! Even if she clicks 100 images, about 65%-75% will automatically be thrown out due to someone’s eyes being closed, half smiles, movement or finding that a tree behind you looks like it’s growing out of your head. Photographers want to make you look good. Trust that they will give you their very best.
- Don’t be afraid of blemishes, bruises, or if your child gets a scrape the day prior. Part of hiring a professional is getting their experience and talent with editing those things out.
- Book the appointment early in the morning or late afternoon. Avoid the harsh sun light of the day. Booking on a week day will also cut down on the traffic at your location.
- Bring non messy snacks for your kiddos to keep them interested. Can I use the word “bribe”? Nothing chocolate or with bright colors. Smarties work great!
I hope these tips helped take some of the guess work out of getting amazing photos. Get out there and showcase your beautiful families!