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Alisa Murray’s “Tips and Trends Through My Lens”

Most families long for that perfect shot of themselves to send out in their holiday cards each year and often it is one of the most dreaded events of the season. There are a few tips to making sure that just doesn’t have to be the case. After shooting for 18 years babies and children I can tell you some tried and true things that if you will follow you’ll find that perfect holiday pic is as simple as can be!

First of all, plan, plan and PLAN! When you are trying to get children, especially small ones to cooperate for a perfect family picture it is very important to have everything well thought out and there are only a few handful of Houston Family Photographers that will do this right. What does this mean? well, first of all you need to schedule with your photographer early and at a time frame that does not involve any naps or when they are grumpy. With small children, I always recommend shooting early in the morning or as soon as they have awoken from their afternoon nap time. Also you must plan for snacking and bring their favorite toys so that they have things with them that you already know they like and will bring smiles. As for wardrobing…I see each of my clients regularly and my holiday sets are changed out each year so my clients find our what colors I am using and shop accordingly. I always recommend you bring more than one outfit and that they are coordinated but not necessarily match match.. although that picture of the children under the Christmas tree with the family pet in those cute matching Pj’s is always a favorite no matter what! Just don’t forget to grab a bow or a Santa hat for the puppy! Planning is KEY to success.

Secondly, talk about what you are doing with your children a week or so and up to the big day with your photographer. Make it fun and explain we are going to make memories together AND have an amazing picture to remember this experience. Practice smiling on command and maybe even talk about where you are going to go eat afterwards or go get an ice cream! Most of my clients call me “Auntie A” and they have videos on their phones of me shooting the children throughout the year so a few days before they come with the whole family they just start watching the videos with me to warm up the children about where they are going and what is expected of them. This is so important so the children know what’s going on and they have something to look forward to after they have performed as required!

Thirdly, don’t set expectations for specific shots that you have seen while perusing Pinterest. Each family is unique and rarely have I found that a picture on these sites actually reflects my clients personality. It always seems contrived and the best shots just happen. You have to have a photographer that knows your family in order to get these images.  Very important not to think that showing up with children meeting a stranger is going to produce that amazing picture… folks, that just doesn’t happen. Likewise your must trust your artist to know your children and your family and to creatively use their talent to come up with amazing images that you will cherish forever and love to share with friends and family!

In conclusion, I want to mention two trends that I am seeing with my clientele one is hiring me to capture them throughout the year doing things as a family that we then use in their holiday folded cards and the other is instead of the traditional cards sent out we are doing a video digital card of images online. Both of these trends are meeting the growing needs of millennial’s that are swept up in what I refer to as am “Instagram Consciousness” where if it isn’t posted then it did not actually happen mentality and showing their lives off in pictures is as natural as breathing air. It can be costly, but having your entire vacation documented with amazing images that you can then post and repost is now the new thing to do. Similarly with the digital holiday cards. The video montages of a session or of what has gone on throughout the year is both a thoughtful and unique as well as informative way to catch family up on the year going by and in a way that brings a fresh take on what is expected!

Alisa Murray is an Internationally known fine art portrait photographer and an Award winning columnist based in Houston, Texas. She has been shooting families for 18 years all over the world. www.alisamurray.com

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