(BPT) - If you're like most people, images of your family are probably languishing on your smartphone or tucked away in the closet on an old computer. If you take a break from the selfies and invest in the time to hire a professional photographer, you'll end up with beautiful family portraits that capture and preserve the love, affection and expressions that are unique to your family. These photographs are your gift to yourself, your children and generations to come.
Here are some tips from Professional Photographers of America (PPA) on how to get memorable family photos that stand the test of time.
Choose a style that reflects your family
Sounds obvious? Not that simple. Think about your family's unique personality, then find a photographer who has experience taking pictures similar to what you would like to display in your home. What environment brings out your family's unique personality? Is it a park, a beach, an urban setting? Maybe it's as simple as your own living room or backyard. Find your family's photo style by taking the quiz at PPA.com/Quiz.
Begin with the end in mind
Before your photo session, think about and discuss where and how your photos will be displayed in your home, and think about the story you want to tell. Do you have a tall, skinny spot above your fireplace for a single, iconic image of your family? Or do you have a large wall where you want to start a family gallery? Perhaps you'd like a coffee table album? Whether you want to dress up a large wall or you want a collection of images, your photographer will know which type of session will give you the images you'll be proud to display in your home.
Dress for success
These printed photos will be around for a long time. In 20 years, you'll want your photos to create warm feelings and happy memories of your loved ones - without the cringing and giggling over dated styles. The goal of any fine portrait is to direct the viewer's eye to the face in the portrait. So when choosing outfits, pick simple, solid colors and classic, timeless styles rather than hot trends and busy patterns.
Use props and pets
If you have an accessory that helps express your family's unique personality, add it. If your preschooler won't go anywhere without his superhero cape, let him wear it. Shared hobbies and interests can go in here too. If you're a family of readers, having everyone pose with their favorite book can add a personal touch. And, of course, including your family pet is a great way to show the special bond you have with your dog or cat and capture the spirit and beauty of your furry pal forever.
Relax and go with the flow
Part of having your portraits created is the 'experience' of the session. Yet, all too often, parents get worked up when their child isn't looking at the photographer or smiling 'right.' This causes anxiety in the child and robs the photographer of good opportunities for candid portraits. So before the shoot, rest well and come well fed. You'll want to be in the best possible mood as it helps set the tone for your family. Once on set, relax, smile, and have fun. Seasoned family portrait photographers know how to make you and your children feel comfortable so they can capture the love, affection and expressions that are unique to your family.
Hire a pro
Everyone is taking pictures these days, and just about anyone clicking a shutter may be lucky enough to land a good shot once in a while. You will be much happier with your photos, though, if you choose a photographer who can consistently produce great images. A professional photographer will have the artistic skills, technical training and experience taking the kind of photos you want. Plus, they will be able to provide you with printing options that will withstand the hardship of time and won't fade like most home-printed photos.
To find a family portrait photographer in your area, visit PPA.com/FamilyPhotographers.