You have 0 items in your shopping cart

View cart
single-blog-image >

Never Go Against the Family, Part 3: What to Bring

Author: Libby - Printique by Adorama

by Jessie Parker
When going out on location to photograph a family portrait session, of course it’s important to pack all of your regular camera gear and backup equipment, but what else should you bring?
Everyone knows that getting one’s children dressed and ready to go can be pretty intense, especially if the children are very young, so I’m never surprised if they forget something they said they’d bring.  As such, there are a few things that I always bring with me, even if I know the clients plan to bring them too.  By being prepared, not only can you save the photo session, but you look like a real hero in the process!
1. A Quilt or Blanket
Blankets are great props for posing families.  They can sit on them, lay on them, snuggle on them, even have a tickle fight!  If you have a cranky little one, have everyone hide underneath and play peek-a-boo or use it to play the parachute game (pick up the blanket, have the parents hold the sides, and whip it up in the air, so it falls slowly like a parachute, while the kids run underneath- this never fails to make them laugh).  Probably the best thing about using blankets is that they’re not expensive and you probably already own a bunch of them.  Lots of people plan to bring their own blankets, but in my experience, the blanket is the thing they’re most likely to forget.  If you discussed wardrobe choices with them, you can bring a couple of blankets that you think might contrast nicely with outfits and decide which one is best when you get there.
2. A reflector
Even though reflectors are photographic equipment and most of this list isn’t about that, I’m mentioning them, because I’ve known a lot of photographers who were really resistant to using them.  Reflectors are obviously a great option to provide a little fill light when your lighting is almost perfect, but they’re also good to have if you are working with a subject who has a lot of difficulty with blinking when your flash goes off.  In addition, you can use them to provide shade or sit on them if the ground is little dusty or something.  They aren’t fragile or expensive, so you can basically use them for whatever you like without too much worry. You can use a stand or have someone hold it for you.  I have this one and I’m very fond of it.
3. Hot/Cold Comfort
You don’t have to treat it like a catered event, but it’s a good idea to bring a few bottles of water, particularly if it’s hot.  Bring them for yourself, but be prepared to give them out if anyone else needs a drink.  You don’t want to have to end the session early because someone gets thirsty or overheated. On the other hand, if you’re doing the session outside in cold weather, have a few of those instant heat packs. They can put them in their jacket pockets to take the edge off the cold!
4. Entertainment
A little bottle of bubbles costs less than a dollar and can be so helpful.  You can use it to engage a reluctant child, either by blowing bubbles for them or letting them do the work, if they’re big enough.  Plus, they look great in pictures. However, I avoid breaking these out until the end, because they can buy you a few more minutes of cooperation from a kid who’s pretty much done.  Stickers are a good, safe option.  I also like little rubber duckies, which you can buy in bulk from party supply stores.  I avoid food, due to possible dietary restrictions, but I often suggest the parents bring treats they approve of for this purpose.
Bring whatever can make the session easier and more fun for everyone. Making sure everyone is happy and comfortable will give you more time, more cooperation, and better results!
For more tips on planning a family portrait, click HERE. If you need some ideas for what to have the family wear so you can catch that perfect look, click HERE.