Certainly don't suggest that they should all wear the same outfit, or the same patterns- it makes families look like a singing group. Something that is coordinated, but not matching is great- and solid colors.
About shooting the kids- I have been a professional on-site child photographer for nearly a decade... TRUST ME- get the traditional family shots first- then play around with some extra stuff- with a one year old and a two year old, you are not going to have much time that they will give you the best smiles, etc. They have only so many minutes- yes minutes- of good portraiture in them especially with that age combination. Then they will get distracted, or cranky, or want to do something else. You can't blame them- they are 2 toddlers;)
With the parents- they will try to help- they will try to get the kids to smile. You must lay down ground rules- their job is to look at the camera and smile. That way, you don't have a great shot of the kids, but Mom & Dad are not paying attention because they are also looking at the kids. Let them know that you need to shoot the second that the kids are making nice smiles- and you need to be able to NOT have to take the extra second to make sure the parents are looking nice, too. The parents are, hands down, 50x more difficult to work with then the kids.
If the kids know you, it can work to you favor (they will be more comfortable, etc). But if they know you as the "fun aunt" who is generally playing around & chasing them, etc- you may be in for a rough shoot... it can be tough to get them settled.
Another good idea is to go scout the location alone- and take your cameras to shoot a couple of test shots. Try to go at the same time of day that you will be shooting the photos of the family- that way, if there is any issue with odd shadows, or anything else, you can figure out a way to deal with it before you have two young children who are losing their patience while you mess around with F-Stops. Take notes- they will only make the actual shoot easier.
But remember- do the best that you can, and learn all that you can- it is your family, and the are very good practice for the paying customers- plus, if the shoot goes down the tubes (worst case scenario), you can always try again.
Professional Portrait photographer for almost 10 years
· 1 decade ago