| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Picture pointers

Booking a photographer is a big – and potentially expensive – decision. Take a moment to prepare before you take the plunge

© ITP Images

What kind of image do you want?
Check out the websites or pay a visit first to get a feel for a photographer’s style. Decide whether you want a traditional, formal pose, a quirky, arty shot or an image that captures the moment.

Who do you want in the photo?
If you have your heart set on an image of the entire family, stick to it. Photographers will offer to take loads of shots of your brood in various combinations which will all, we assure you, be gorgeous, and only make the decision process more difficult. Of course, the reverse is also true: if you don’t know what you want, get a variety to choose from.

What or who are the images for?
If you want to make an impact with a striking canvas, choose a photographer who specialises in the entire process from editing, photo-shopping and printing to guarantee you’ll be happy with the finished product. If you’re looking for a selection to send to family back home, go for a studio that offers high-res images on a disc. Think about where the pics will be displayed. A quirky Andy-Warhol style montage of your brood may look great on your vast magnolia walls in Dubai, but a natural or traditional image may sit better among granny’s chintz.

Can you have too much of a good thing?
Yup. The shoot may seem good value, but do you have the willpower to survive the viewing? Set a budget beforehand and – however tempted you may be – don’t blow it. Your kids will grow and you’ll want to update the images in a year or two when six whopping poster prints of Johnny at 18 months, however stunning, may suddenly seem like a foolish – and expensive – overindulgence.

Wash your face and comb your hair!
Don’t just rock up and expect the photographer to work miracles. A blob of tomato sauce can easily be photo-shopped away, but a snotty nose is far more difficult, and mum’s dodgy ‘do’ nigh-on impossible.

Be happy
Book your shoot for a time when your kids are likely to be cheery and amenable. If they’re sick, re-arrange the shoot for another day when they’ll feel, look and perform a lot better.

Dress for success
Decide on a couple of outfits. White tops and jeans look good, but you may also like a splash of colour. Make sure you coordinate or, at very least, don’t clash, and avoid busy prints and stripes.

The viewing
Most studios allow just one viewing session and expect you to make a decision and part with your cash. Be warned, it can be a pretty emotional sell, but remember: refusing to buy every single photo at vast expense does not make you a bad parent. Leave the kids at home if you can – they’ll be bored senseless and you’ll need your wits about you.

Time Out Dubai,

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