5 reasons why you need to think about family photos NOW, and not in late October

It's the new year. Congratulations. You've made it.

2016 is over, its own set of highs and lows behind you. The new year is a fresh start. Your mind is focusing on decluttering and organizing. It's focused on your health and wellness. You are thinking about the upcoming holidays and birthday parties that will be here sooner than you think. You are planning out your spring break and summer vacations and the house projects you want to dedicate time to this year.

Are you thinking about your family pictures of 2017? Are you taking the proper steps to plan for them?

Many people don't think about family pictures until the school year begins and fall is just around the corner. 

"SHOOT! I need to get family photos taken and get them back from the photographer and make a Christmas card and get those back and then send them to family so they get them by Christmas!"

Let's break the panic and plan for these photos in advance. Here's why this is important.

1. Fall is to photographers as April is to accountants. Get my drift?

I'm married to an accountant, so we understand busy seasons in this household. My fall weekends fill up so fast. Unless your schedule is really flexible and your family can do a week night photo shoot (after daylight savings it's dark by 5:30 p.m., so plan for that), you're going to want to find your photographer early and get on their weekend calendar. I have repeat clients that book me in January or February every year, because they don't want to fight for a time slot come October.

2. Fall weather can be iffy.

It rains. It snows. It's sunny. It's windy. You can't predict the weather. "So how will we know what date to pick? What if it rains?" I get it and that's why I plan for weather reschedules in the fall. I have to leave some slots completely open for those reschedules and can't give those away to last minute clients unless the weather is perfect. And that just doesn't happen. Thankfully, documentary photography can happen anywhere, in any type of weather, but I understand if we planned a healthy game of HORSE at your favorite park that bad weather can ruin the vision.

3. Reduce the stress.

My to-do list is constantly in my thoughts. It'll come to the forefront of my mind every once in awhile and remind me to set that appointment or change the filter or call the city and will continue to nag me until it's been checked off. That's draining. Once I set that appointment, it's done and I don't think about it until the reminder goes off on my phone or I see it on the calendar when I turn to a new month. I contact my clients the month and week of their shoot and continue the conversation to make their photos more than they imagine them to be.

4. Realize what you didn't get photographed last year.

The new year is all about reflecting on the past and making goals for the future. You look back on your family trips, the job changes, and the daily outings and routines. You realize how much your children have grown in one short year, and remember the moments you didn't capture in photos. You remember the firsts: the first time tying his shoes, the first time she boiled pasta on her own. You may not have thought to pay attention to the lasts: the last time you nursed your, now, toddler, the last time he needed your help reaching the top shelf of the refrigerator.

5. Plan for the investment.

Yes, we got there. You knew we would, right?

A good photographer isn't cheap. But they are worth every penny for the experience and product they provide. The skill, equipment, education, and hours behind the scenes go into their pricing. People don't always plan for the expense of hiring an experienced photographer and are caught off guard. They're forced to walk away from their dream photos and, instead, go to the nearest Target for that yearly snapshot. Photographers tend to make their biggest business adjustments at the start of the year. New packages, new pricing, new branding, logo and style. Do your research now; odds are everything will stay the same throughout the year. Read their websites. Look through their portfolio. Call them. Find a photographer in your area that matches what you are looking for style and personality-wise, and then plan and save so those family photos are everything you want and more!

Start thinking about all this now and don't freak out when  you are busy with fall sports, a new school year and the holidays because you know you've got the perfect photographer for your family booked, money to spend on printing the photos for your home and less stress through the whole year by checking this off now.