Procrastination Doesn’t Have to be a Memory Killer
Disclosure: This is dedicated content provided by Sara Stringer.
Most families have (at least) one common goal: to have an annual holiday portrait taken. Then the fall arrives, school starts, holiday activities start piling up and you find yourself sitting on a couch at the beginning of February thinking “weren’t we going to…aw man, maybe this year.”
Please don’t hit me with a foam bat when I say this next piece….
You do know there are more holidays than Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas (or Hanukkah) right?
There is some sort of holiday every few months. You can track them by the inventory on display in your department store’s “seasonal” section. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and Easter isn’t far behind that. It’s worth noting that there is more wiggle room for outfits and color schemes if you decide to take annual Easter family portraits than there are for, say, a Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day portrait.
Why Choose a Different Holiday?
Probably the biggest reason to choose a different holiday for your annual family portrait is originality. Everybody does Christmas portraits—the family gathered around the tree, wearing holiday themed sweaters—you get dozens of these photos every year.
The other reason to choose an “off season” holiday portrait is cost. Portrait studios get swamped during the winter holidays. This means that they can hike up their prices and then offer you their older rates at special “bargain” prices and hope that you don’t notice the scheme. In the spring (and to a lesser extent, the summer), though, portrait studios are desperate for work. Their rates go on real discounts during these months because they are trying to get people in the door. You can save a bunch of money going for an Easter (or Spring for the non-religious) family portrait.
Note: The Art of Simple recommends making sure to buy the package that gives you the digital files for your poses. This way you can order extra copies from outside printing houses and play around with the photos on your own. As a photographer myself, I like to sometimes touch up the photos taken by others.
Finally, there’s the convenience factor. Your portrait sitting will be more relaxed and you can schedule it for the time and day that are most convenient for you, not when the portrait shop can fit you in. You can take your time deciding which pose you want to have printed up. Then you can wait until bulk print orders are offered at promotional prices through your favorite printing house. This makes the winter holiday card a much easier process to put together. You can go at whatever pace works best for you.
Sitting and Posing Tips
Here are some of the things you can do to make your portrait session easier on you and on your photographer.
· Get lots of sleep. You want everybody looking well rested for the photo—no dark circles under the eyes!
· Schedule the shoot for when peoples’ moods are typically the best. This is usually late afternoon for most families. You don’t want to have to fight against cranky kids who need naps, spouses who are starving for dinner, etc.
· Peter Kolonia at PopPhoto recommends posing naturally. It seems like an oxymoron but some people are simply more comfortable when they sit or stand certain ways.
Finally, remember that perfection is subjective. It’s quite possible that your perfect family holiday portrait is the one where someone is making a face, someone else’s eyes are closed and someone else is scowling. If it shows people who you really are, then it’s perfect.