Hello! I am glad you’re joining me today, whether you’re a past client, future client, or someone else’s client. I’ve had a lot of past BMP clients tell me after their session things like “We normally HATE having photos taken, but that was fun!” or upon seeing their images, “Normally I hate pictures of myself but we love these!” Part of my goal as a photographer is to make my clients look and feel their best before, during, and after a session. One of the most important aspects of my job is to make use of flattering lighting, poses that accentuate the very best parts of you and take focus away from any areas you might be self-conscious of, and preparing you prior to your session for what to expect so that you are comfortable during our time together. YOUR job, is to have fun! At least if you’re a BMP client 😉
I’ll start by saying – I totally get it. Having photographs taken of myself is definitely not one of my favorite activities, especially post baby and ESPECIALLY post baby #2. Most days I feel like I still look pregnant, my arms are bigger than I want them to be, and I don’t know how my chin gains 5 additional chins in a photograph but there they almost always are. We all have our insecurities, which is why it’s so important to book your sessions with a professional who KNOWS what is going to flatter you and what won’t. I’ve seen photographs taken of myself by a non-professional (cough*myhusband*cough) where I feel disappointed, even disgusted, with the way I look…but I’ve also had photographs taken by a professional that I LOVE, that made me feel comfortable and confident with myself.
I also understand that professional photography is an investment. The kids all need new shoes for school, clothes that fit; the mortgage and bills need paid, retirement needs saved for, and sometimes hiring a professional photographer gets pushed back another year or maybe even two. I get it. But chances are, if you’re here on my website, you are like me and you understand the long term value and utmost importance of preserving your family memories in the form of high quality photographs. So if you’re investing in professional photography (which you should!), it’s important that you are happy with your investment after it’s all said and done. It’s important that you love the outcome that you have saved for and carefully planned out!
By now you might be sitting back thinking, “you’re the photographer, isn’t it YOUR job to make me happy?” YES YES YES, it is. And I will. But there are a few things you can do to help me help you! I hope you find the following tips helpful in preparing you for your photography session; whether that’s with me or another photographer!
- Let loose! These aren’t your old school portrait studio photographs. I want to capture your genuine smile, not your “say cheese!” smile. I want to see you laughing, hugging, cuddling your babies, and being close with your loved ones. I want you to relax! Don’t worry about how your kids are behaving (or not behaving, amiright?), or how the wind is blowing your hair, or if your arms look big. Trust that I’m not judging your child’s behavior (mine probably act worse!), that I will have you stand in the right direction for the wind and lighting, and if your arm looks big I will help you re-position yourself. I want you to enjoy yourself and the experience, and be in the moment; don’t think about work, don’t think about the mountain of laundry at home, or the argument you might have had while driving to your session! Take this time to just…be.
- Be touchy-feely and close. Fill the gaps. If there is any space between you and your partner, move closer together. There should be little to no gap between bodies. Husbands, forget about me and whisper something sweet to your wife. In fact, you can all forget about me for the majority of our session! The best images are almost always the ones where you are interacting with one another, laughing, tickling, nuzzling; not looking at the camera and smiling nicely. Does your child laugh hysterically when tickled? Love being tossed in the air? Have a favorite song that you sing to them? Love reading a specific book? Do these things during your session!
- Speaking of looking at the camera and smiling nicely, not everyone has to do that. It’s okay if your baby is looking at big brother or sister, dad is looking at mom, etc. Again, these are usually the best images. This also goes back to letting loose; don’t stress if not everyone is looking at the camera at the same time.
- And on that note, I love cheese but not at a photo session. Allow me to play and interact with your kiddos and bring out their genuine smiles and laughter. Standing behind me and yelling at them to “say cheese!” is a surefire way to get uncooperative, grumpy kids. I might ask you to stand behind me to draw their attention towards the camera, but instead of asking for forced smiles try popping in and out for a game of peekaboo or make funny faces at your kids to get them laughing. As important as it is for mom and dad to be relaxed during our time together, we want the kids to be relaxed and enjoy themselves too!
- Wear something that you are comfortable in and feel confident in. If you are feeling self-conscious, it will probably show in your photographs. If you are self-conscious of your arms, wear something with a longer sleeve to slim things up (lace sleeves are perfect for warmer, tank top weather). Coordinate your outfits, but don’t match. For more on what to wear, check out this inspiration board here for ideas!
- Regarding posing, I will help you a ton with this during our session. But a few things to keep in mind for flattering images are keeping a gap between you arms and your body. Try not to let your arm ever rest directly against your torso. Lean your upper body slightly towards the camera, not away from it. Always put your weight on your back leg, with your leg closest to the camera bent at the knee. Another trick is to never let your limbs be straight. If it bends, bend it. Again, I will be helping you and guiding you through different poses and positioning throughout your session.
- Lighting is SO important for beautiful photographs, especially for my particular style. I try to always book my sessions in the 2 hours before sunset (or in rare occasions, the 2 hours following sunrise) for a very good, specific reason. This time of day is called Golden Hour, because the sun is low to the horizon creating a gorgeous soft flow of light. It has a tendency to soften facial features, hide blemishes, and flatter bodies. During the middle of the day when the sun is directly above, you will have harsh shadows (think raccoon eyes), yucky color casts on your skin, and a host of other unflattering complications. I don’t use presets; that light, airy, hazy look that you see in my photographs are the result of how I work with the sunlight, so if you can be available during this perfect time of day that’s when we should schedule our session.
- Lets get right down to it; I might ask you to do some weird stuff during our session. I might ask you to give me a big, obnoxious fake laugh. Quite possibly request that you laugh obnoxiously at a tree somewhere “over there.” I might ask you to stare at each other. I might ask you to jump up and down and spin in circles (okay, so I haven’t actually done that, but you never know!). I promise I have a very good reason for these strange requests, and I can absolutely promise that you’ll love the result. But only if you cheerfully do the request without hesitation or second-guessing. You might have to go out of your comfort zone for a second, but you’ll have an image you completely love for the rest of your life. Trust me.