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From prepping the kids to choosing what to wear and selecting backgrounds and props, taking the perfect family photo is easy when you know how, says Georgina Morton, General Manager, The Studio (+971 4 3471745/ thestudiodubai.com)
Step 1: Choose your studio
Photographs provide lasting memories of key times in our lives, so choosing a studio to capture your family milestones is an all-important task.
The studio’s reputation should be a top consideration and this is especially important for newborn and baby shoots, as having a photographer who is used to handling babies is essential for peace of mind and to ensure your baby feels relaxed in safe hands. Alternatively, for a pregnancy shoot, you may only feel comfortable with a female photographer so it’s worth checking who will be on hand to take the photos before you book.
The location and set-up of the studio can have a huge impact, as those offering a relaxed, peaceful environment can help you feel more at ease and result in more natural photos.
Bear in mind that all professional studios should be fully equipped with various lighting options, props and backgrounds – make sure you check their website for examples of their work.
Check how the process works. It’s good, for instance, to ask in advance whether you can purchase digital images so you then have the option of using them both on social media and also as prints for your home. The studio should offer professional printing too, ideally, as the quality of the printing can determine the longevity of your images.
Lastly, you should also think about choosing a studio you can build a relationship with – one you can call on for your child’s party images, any family celebrations, new additions to the family – as there’s always an occasion to remember. With this in mind, join any loyalty programmes on offer so you get rewarded for future shoots, referrals or even surprises for your birthday.
Step 2: Booking your shoot
If you are planning a pregnancy shoot, think about the different stages. Book a package that specifically captures the growth of your lovely bump at various stages and then include your newborn shoot too.
Get these booked in advance and don’t leave the last one too late! Some mums go into labour early so make sure you do this at the eight months stage at the latest. Should you wish to skip the memories of being pregnant and opt for the newborn shoot only, it’s advisable to book your newborn shoot within the first two weeks. You’ll have a million other things on your mind once they are born so get this in the calendar before the birth – any good studio will juggle the dates around if you deliver early or late.
When booking your family shoot, remember the most popular shoot days are Saturdays, so plan ahead and book in early if you want a weekend shoot. Your studio will call you a day before your shoot to remind you of your booking.
When booking it’s also useful to check what’s included in your shoot and what’s extra so there are no surprises. When selecting your shoot day, if you have young children that still nap think about the time of day that works best, when the kids are at their happiest and need the least amount of bribery to have their picture taken.
Step 3: How to prepare for your shoot
When you book your shoot you should be given guidelines on what to bring and think about beforehand. Clothes with patterns and stripes are best avoided and never assume your studio will spend time retouching you – only basic editing of the images is what is generally included. It’s also good to consider how all your family member’s outfits work together.
As we all know, kids can look neat and tidy when they first get dressed in the morning and completely crumpled and dirty an hour later so bring a bag with a change of clothes, wipes, a hairbrush and clips or bands. If you are bringing your little ones straight from school a quick hand scrub to get the felt tip pen off is advisable, too.
When bringing in your two-week-old baby, bear in mind that they will tend to spend most of their time asleep and it’s important to capture the image within the two-hour booking. Try and make sure feeding is done before you arrive so this doesn’t eat into your studio time and make sure that baby is well burped to avoid any accidents. A full tummy and happily burped baby can usually guarantee a peaceful snooze.
Above all, a professional studio will always take the time to get the right shots and you shouldn’t feel rushed, being conscious of the fact that even babies can pick up on stress and tension, which can affect them.
For location shoots, while keeping in mind suitable timings for any young family members it’s also good to think about the time of day for the perfect lighting and sunrise, dusk and sunset shots.
Step 4: What to do on shoot day
Arrive 10 minutes before your allocated shoot time to ensure you have time to chat with your photographer about your preferred style, backdrops and props, what you would like to get out of the shoot and preferred groupings. If you have the time beforehand, bring reference images of shots you’d like to share with your photographer.
The more direction you can give, the happier you’ll be that you have got what you were hoping for. Feel free to bring anything specific or special that you’d like featured in your shoot from home to make the images more personal to you. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy your experience – it’s a lot of fun!
Step 5: Choosing the best images
Most studios will invite you back for a viewing to look at your images, which is important as you get to see your images on a big screen and can invest time deciding exactly which ones you’d like to keep. It also means looking at the different frame options and print mediums to work out the best size prints for the space in your home.
Visualising the size of an image once its framed isn’t easy to do, so spend time with the studio looking at their samples and take advice about frame colours and gallery prints showcasing two or more of your images in one frame. These are a great option if it’s too hard to decide between images and it means you’ll get exactly the pictures you dreamed of.
Just for you!
Our friends at The Studio are offering all Db Babies customers a fab deal during February. For just AED295, you can book a family phootshoot in the studio complete with two high-resolution images.