These tips are for the family to prepare. If you're a photographer, check out the 5 tips for preparing for a family photoshoot for photographers.
I've been directing films for the past 12 years and it's helped so much for shooting natural photos of families and couples. I'm writing these tips for all my future family photo clients so you can have more fun during the shoot, which makes better photos!
1. Coordinate clothing in advanced
Either the mum or dad knows how to dress appropriately, he or she should be in charge of gathering inspiration and selecting the clothes to wear for the shoot. It's always a good idea to be in communication with your photographer prior to the shoot, to lock in the theme, look and feel of the photos. There's hundreds of family photo inspiration on Pinterest, this is my collection of inspiration (for photography), but it's always a good idea to look through some other family photos to match the clothing theme for the day. Also, bring at least 2 themed clothes for your family.
2. Share family photo inspiration with your photographer
It's always a good idea to look through other family photo images on Instagram, Pinterest and even Google images to find some inspiring family photos. Share them with your photographer so they have an idea on which location to shoot at. Most photographers have a certain style and look to their photos. If you don't share any inspirational photos with them, they will default to their own look :)
3. Be extra prepared to calm your kids down
Bring your kids favourite snacks and drinks. Depending on their age, you should know what will help them to give the photographer 5 minutes of their happy side. If they're under 5, blowing bubbles and letting them have some fun during the shoot will always help too. I usually break down the shoot so I start with the classic full family photoshoot first (usually the hardest for the kids), then let the kids run around, have fun whilst the parents rest. Then do a couple photoshoot for the parents letting the kids have some rest.
4. Create an atmosphere so your family can just enjoy the day
Taking direction from the photographer might be important, but if you know how to get a genuine smile from your family, advise the photographer and just go for it. Whether it'll be doing a small picnic at a park, running around with them, kicking a ball around, flying a kite, blowing bubbles, bringing out the dog. There's no better photo than just capturing genuine moments of fun and intimacy.
5. Find a good family photographer - Get more than 1 quote
This is obvious, but you want to find a photographer that have taken photos that you like. Look through their portfolio first with your family before deciding on selecting the photographer. Short Pixel Photos started with family photography, so if you like what you see, be sure to leave a message for a quote.