With my kids being age 5 and 7, I have literally taken thousands of photos of them with my camera. But how many photos do I have of them with me in it? How many pretty photos do we have of the whole family together that is not a phone selfie? The short answer: barely any and definitely not enough! The solution? We finally invested in a family photoshoot for ourselves!! I had been having this overwhelming feeling like my kids are growing older so fast, too fast. With my youngest almost turning 6, it's almost like everything is changing. We will soon no longer be a young family with young kids. We'll just be a family...with kids. Not that anything is wrong with that and I do look forward to all that lies ahead with the kiddos, but I just knew that I had to have our family documented where we are now, at this stage in life. I wish I'd done it sooner, of course, but with photos, late is ALWAYS better than never.
The one big hiccup though? This stage in our life is right smack in the middle of a worldwide pandemic! Therefore, we faced a few difficulties while getting ready for our big shoot. I decided to write up this blog post for other families that also don't want to miss out on documenting their family beautifully as they are now, but are not ready or don't want to go to all the stores, malls and hair salons to get what they need for the shoot.
Before you read on, please do not think that you have to order brand new outfits for everyone in your family just because you're doing a photoshoot. I'm sure there are options at home that would look great for at least one or more family members! These first few tips are for any pieces of outfits that you might want to order online.
Alright, here are 8 tips for you from my recent experience...!
TIP #1: Order outfits or parts of outfits as soon as you can.
Online shopping is so convenient! You can visit a handful of stores and peruse their offerings all from the comfort of your desk or sofa or bed. However, with the pandemic, shipping is not as fast as it normally is. Some stores are still getting their products to you within a week, but others are taking 2-3 weeks and even worst, longer than they initially write as their expected delivery time frame. Now, normally, if it's just a regular blouse or pair of shoes, this slowness wouldn't be a big deal at all. However, with a photoshoot on a specific date that was booked ahead of time, when your items get to you matters a LOT! Therefore, don't procrastinate, and try finding your outfits online at least 5-6 weeks ahead of time.
The other thing to note is that with online orders, you just don't know for sure if what you ordered will fit well or be flattering. Therefore, order early enough so that if you need a different size, colour or outfit altogether, you'll have time to wait for that to ship to you. Of course, alterations are also an option if you order early enough!
TIP #2: Be prepared to pickup a backup outfit in person.
From one particular store, I had ordered a dress for my daughter and a shirt for my son about 2 weeks ahead of our shoot date. The quoted delivery time frame was that it would be tight, but it should get to me in time for our shoot. Well, in hindsight, the package never even made it to me! It was quite shocking because I have never had a package get lost in the mail and now it was happening before an important, time-sensitive event! (Side note: my husband ordered from the same store 2 days after me and his package came just fine!) So, in the end, I had to do a bit of in person shopping at Town Square a couple of days before our shoot at two stores.
Remember, it's also a good idea to look through what's already in your family's closet and use that to pick out backup outfits!
TIP #3: Try curbside pickup.
If you don't want to go into stores, but are able to find your desired item online, try the store's curbside pickup option if they have it. Many do! Usually you just have to park in their designated spots, call their number on the sign and a store associate will come out and give you your order through the window or in your trunk.
TIP #4: Don't be afraid to ask your photographer to reschedule.
Right now with the pandemic, we photographers understand that everyone's comfort level with being around other people is different. Maybe you really would prefer if your shoot was a month or two later when new Covid-19 cases hopefully stabilize. Well, if you're nervous to ask your photographer for a later date, don't be. I personally want you to feel safe and comfortable during a shoot and will gladly do my best to accommodate another date.
The other thing is, if your online orders for the shoot are just not arriving on time, talk to your photographer and I'm sure that they can work out another shoot date with you. This happened to me and our photographer was more than understanding. Out of consideration for her when we rescheduled, I chose a weekday date, so that we wouldn't take up any potential weekend slots that she can fill up with other clients or just regular downtime with her own family.
TIP #5: Regarding haircuts and hairstyles.
If you're like us and doing quarantine haircuts, and will be doing one ahead of your photoshoot, practice and prepare! By practicing, I mean for short haircuts, try the cut out a few months beforehand, so that the final cut is as professional and stylish as possible in time for the shoot. My husband has cut my son's hair probably 6 times during this pandemic so far (and a bunch of times when he was a baby and toddler), and now he's actually pretty decent at it! And by prepare, I mean watch YouTube videos for tutorials, whether it's for a boy's short haircut, for cutting layers or for cutting your own bangs. Remember, go slow and cut a little bit at a time!! :)
About a week or more before the shoot, try playing with your hair, so that you can decide how you want it to look on the day of the shoot. Do you want it up? Down? Half up, half down? Hair accessories in? Straightened? Curled? And so forth. Save yourself the stress of figuring it out last minute or on the day of and, if you need to, research ideas or tutorials. Same goes for your family members!
To my clients, please feel free to send me outfit ideas and I would love to help you pick out what I think would look best in photos! Your shoot comes with a session guide with tips to prepare for your session and I'm here to help you if you encounter any challenges, while getting ready for your shoot!
TIP #6: Check out the precautions that your photographer is taking.
Make sure that you are on the same page and, if not, talk to him or her about anything specific that you would like to be done.
TIP #7: Choose a time or location without crowds.
This is a good idea in general, but especially this year with the coronavirus. This way, you also won't have to wait for other people to pass by and get out of the shot. Photographers typically shoot during sunrise and sunset.
TIP #8: Bring your own blanket.
Sitting pictures are nice because parents are on the same level as their kids. While blankets are optional, they can add a bit of texture to the photo and are just practical for sitting on. During this time, it is best for you to bring your own blanket - one that is neutral in color or that coordinates with your family's outfits.
Here is a LINK to what I'm doing to keep everyone safe and comfortable during a photoshoot, while we're experiencing this pandemic.
And here are some mobile photos from the day of the shoot!