What Were They Thinking? The Dos and Don'ts of Holiday Cards
Do Wear Complementary Colors
When award-winning (read: not awkward) family photographer Michael Jurick discovered the AFP book he found himself laughing out loud in line for tech support. He strives to keep his photos off the site, but he knows how tough it is to get the perfect shot. As for what to wear to your photo shoot, Jurick recommends looking to your environment. If you're taking photos in the fall leaves, go with earth tones. At the beach, jeans, khakis and lighter colors work well. For holiday card photos, he has one piece of advice: No one will be able to focus on your smiling faces if your glittering holiday sweater is stealing the spotlight.
Do Create a Triangle (Not a Conifer)
Jurick relies on active shots to keep the photos looking fresh: Dad lifting the child in the air, teens laughing, a couple walking hand in hand. But if you're set on a static pose, he says, "get the family in somewhat of a triangular composition." Have Dad sit on the ground and let Mom lean against him. If you have young kids, one can lean on Dad, and one can sit on Mom's lap.
Do Set the Kids Up for Smiles
Jurick recently held a session with a 7-year-old whose giggles turned to shrieks of "no pictures!" the instant Jurick started clicking. To avoid that kind of meltdown, "schedule the appointment at the child's prime happy time," Jurick says. "A day or two before the actual photography session, I ask the parent to talk to their children about the fun photographer they're going to meet." At least then they won't be shocked when the camera comes out.
Do Try Concept Cards
"Concept photos are kind of the rage right now," Jurick says. He's photographed kids outdoors with their tennis rackets and urban families against buildings covered in graffiti. But the coolest concept card he's seen is a deck of cards. The family started with an energetic studio shoot (dancing, jumping and just having a good time), then put the photos on individual cards so that Dad was the king, Mom was the queen and the kids followed suit.
Do Use a Nontraditional Venue
Jurick says to get outdoors. The one time he did take photos of kids on Santa's lap, he got in close and made the children laugh. When there's a smiling baby in the frame, who's looking at Santa?
Do Keep It Classy, Folks
Jurick's response: pure shock.
Do Bring an Animal Wrangler
Jurick knows that pets are part of the family, so he recommends bringing a friend or neighbor to keep the pet calm while the family poses. Some of Jurick's clients learned that lesson the hard way when they had to sit on their Labrador puppy to keep it from bolting out of the shot. Jurick's advice: Get the human family members settled into the pose first; then bring the pets into the shot and play with them. The instant before the flash, have the photographer call their attention and snap photos rapid-fire.
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