With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
Timidity won’t get you ‘the shot’ – sometimes you need to be bold to capture a moment. However timing is everything and thinking ahead to get in the right position for key moments are important so as not to disrupt the event. In a ceremony I try to move around at least 4-5 times but try to time this to coincide with songs, sermons or longer readings. During the formal shots be bold, know what you want and ask for it from the couple and their party. You’re driving the show at this point of the day and need to keep things moving.
This one is a bit harder to understand from a client’s perspective. Understanding the question of “How do I choose a family photographer” means also understanding the difference in the services they offer. The photography industry does not have one set way to do things when it comes to charging for things and it can vary wildly from photographer to photographer. When I was starting my business, even I had a hard time understanding the pricing structure of photography packages (which is why I opted to keep it simple and just treat my clients the way I would expect to be treated). Some photographers charge a sitting fee, require you buy a certain number of prints, then charge a premium for digital downloads. Sometimes editing is not included in the price. Some photographers don’t offer products at all and only deliver digital downloads. There are fees for travel outside of specific areas, outfit changes, multiple locations, weekend shoots and there are usually ALWAYS fees for larger families. Understanding what EXACTLY is included in the fee listed on their website is extremely important to understanding what you are choosing. If digital downloads are important to you, make sure you ask your prospective family photographer if that is part of what you’re paying for. If you are ever unsure about what to expect, always ask – and get the answer in writing so you can refer back to it during the process.
Our adventure elopement in Sedona was everything we dreamed it would be! We can’t say enough about Gabi and Brandon. They are down to earth, so friendly, relatable and fun to hang out with. They surprised us after our hike to our picture location with Italian “champagne” to toast, and Brandon packed in about a dozen candles I really wanted incorporated at the last minute and was happy to do anything to make our day perfect! Gabi is incredible! She was like having a maid of honor to fix your hair, dress, hold your dress and bouquet WHILE running around like crazy - climbing, running, laying on the ground - whatever it took to get the perfect shot! These two are incredible. Everyone we know has said our photos are the best they’ve ever seen, and I can’t agree more.
If your photographer specializes in maternity, they will likely have maternity dresses, wraps and accessories in their studio available to use. The benefit is you don’t have to go and buy maternity dresses that you only wear a few times—one dress can run you anywhere from $100 – $1000 each! Please check with your photographer about their gown rental policy. Depending on the gown’s quality and intricate detail work, there may be rental and/or dry-cleaning fees.
You may want to ask around about student photographers, especially if you are anywhere near a fine arts school. I know a few lovely people who have done a lot of discounted work (as in anywhere from covering travel cost to $150) to get the experience and possibly further their portfolio. Just keep in mind that student/amateur does not = terrible all the time, ask to see their previous work.
Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers – unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo – not necessarily on the subject themselves, but rather match little sister’s bright turquoise shoes to the sweater or scarf her mama is wearing. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of color or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.
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