Monday, March 29, 2010

Professional Tips on Preparing for Pictures

Professional photographer, Amy Pennington caught my eye recently as I was looking at her blog.  She specializes in working with children and families and has an amazing gift for creating BEAUTIFUL pictures and capturing amazing memories on film for parents.  I asked Amy some questions recently about tips on how to plan ahead and prepare for the best photography session possible, check out our interview below:

Q: When it comes to planning outfits for the pictures, do you suggest that parents dress them at home, in the studio, how many extra sets should they bring, etc…

I think this depends on the age of the child. Children under 18 months dress them at the studio. Children above 18 months, put them in picture appropriate clothing. It is a shock to some children to take them in a strange place and start removing their clothing which could make them upset. Bring as many clothing changes, fun hats, toys, etc. We will prioritize them and see how far we make it.

Q: Are there certain colors or fabrics that take better pictures than others?

Details in white or black clothing can get lost; also satin items do not photograph well. I always suggest bright fun colors for children.

Q: I always recommend that parents schedule pictures in the morning when child is awake and alert or right after nap in the afternoon… both times when they are well rested and not too hungry, would this be consistent with your advice for parents?

Absolutely, I'm always willing to wake up extra early for an early riser to get the best shots. I suggest just enough time to get up, get dressed and eat. I find that if your child is going to miss a nap it's going to be on picture day.

Q:  Are there any favorite tips you have for parents that have worked to get a great shot of their kiddo? Bring special toys or other items?

I do recommend bringing special toys, blankets, comfort items, snacks (fruit snacks work great), and a drink. If they are overstimulated giving them a little break always makes them happy.

Q:  As far as family pictures go… what tips do you have about choosing outfits, poses, etc…

I recommend wearing clothing that would be normal for your family to wear, as if you are dressing for a nice but casual outing. You wouldn't all get up and dress in exactly the same colors. I like to keep clothing simple with little pops of color here and there.

Q:  Do most parents come in with an idea of what they want or do they let you be creative?

Almost all families leave the creativity to me. I sort of get a feel for what the family is like and go from there. Some will have seen a shot that I did with another family and want a similar shot.
This is fine, but I will make sure it is personalized for them.

Q:  How long should you plan to have your child’s session last to get good picture choices.

This really depends on the child and how well they know me. With some children I've got the perfect shots within the first five minutes and the rest is just a bonus. Others will take a warming up period. At least 30-45 minutes.

Q:  Are there any big NO-NOs that you would share with parents about planning pictures?

Bringing a child in when they aren't feeling well, and scheduling close to nap time.

Q: What is your favorite time of the year to get great pictures?

Summer, morning or sunset.

Q:  Many picture sessions I have done with my children… it is like organized chaos. What tips do you have to make the session go smoother?

I would say to relax and have fun, if the children are acting up it's much easier to play along with them than discipline them. Those are the best true to life candid family shots.

I hope that these tips from the talented Amy Pennington help you and your family prepare for the best possible pictures.  If you are in the Springfield, Missouri area I highly recommend that you consider using Amy and her studio to get some amazing pictures of your family! 

Visit Amy's Website and Blog by clicking on the links.

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