Updated: Sep 1
Time flies, and you want to freeze that moment in time for posterity, even generations to come. How to go about it?
Find your family photographer first.
Do a local search of photographers, and do not be afraid to expand your search geographically within reason to find the best talent.
Find about 10 candidates after checking their photos, you must be in love with their work to qualify, good alone is not enough unless you are in a tight budget.
Decide with your significant other the best five that you both love, decide on the quality of their work and how it speaks to you as a main deciding factor.
For more details on how to find your photographer check my detailed article.
Talk to your family photographer.
Get in touch with your first choice, they should be happy to hearing from you, make you feel at ease and transmit the feeling that your portrait session will be enjoyable and easy as a walk in the part, just as it should. You can then book, no-brainer.
Where is best to do family photos, in studio, at home or outdoors
Wherever you like best, in studio is most convenient however your home or a place you like to visit with your family, specially if it holds dear memories can make for a more organic and memorable family portrait, it is definitely highly encouraged. Talk to your photographer about your preferred location or ask for suggestions, it requires a bit more planing but is also good fun, especially for the children. No need to worry too much about the weather, your photographer can do that for you and do your best to avoid scheduling it in the middle of a sunny day, instead go for early morning or late afternoon for best light, this applies for outdoors and also for family photography at your home.
To choose what you should wear you can check my guide here.
Get a high quality print on archival paper, a digital copy preferably TIFF file and make backup copies stored on different locations.
Photography printers are a world of their own but long story short, most commercial affordable prints do fade with time in no time, you are looking for archival quality paper prints that use premium printers with premium inks. Possibly your photographer can take care of it for a fee, or you can order it independently, remember that you are going to be looking for "fine art printing services". Costs vary with size but namely will come to a few hundreds (dollars, pounds or euros) with mount and frames in a beautiful big size.
Secondly you want to keep two digital copies of your photo in two different locations, for example hard disk and cloud as a backup, talk to your photographer before as usually we are very special when it comes to share source files other than the usual JPEG. standard photography files.
What you want to get is ideally the TIFF. file that is what the printing house will prefer to work with, just explain to your photographer that you would like it for printing, either they offer to print for you and not share the TIFF or give you the option to have the TIFF, just negotiate that detail from the start because it might have extra cost associated.
No need to ask for RAW files, makes no sense, similar to going to a restaurant and asking for a raw barbecue. Those files usually means proof of authorship and cannot be shared unless you are buying copyright which usually multiply the bill a few times, hence makes no sense for the majority of people, this is only widely used for commercial advertising campaigns where they need to own the rights.