DOCUMENTARY PHOTOS: this is perhaps the least known category for many people. Even tough documentary photography is not new as a style, it has begun to become a bit more popular for commercial family photography in recent years. In this case, the photographer spends time with the family recording their day to day, not interfering in what happens. It can be a whole day or a few hours, and the result is usually quite authentic, since no family is the same. The photographer will be recording not only the connection of you and how you look, but also the essence and small details of the family’s routine. The photos don’t take place in a specific location because they are according to family activities. It can be at your home, on the street, at school, in the car or during your vacation activities, for example. You can search for this style by documentary or photojournalism.
Light can either make or break a photo. The best light is natural light and the best natural light comes just after sunrise or just before sunset. Bright midday light will either produce shadows on your baby’s face or cause him to close his eyes or squint – neither result is what we want. If you’re taking photos throughout the day, try moving your baby under the shade of a tree or umbrella. Alternatively, if you’re taking photos indoors, try moving towards a window to utilize the light from outside. Note that you shouldn’t have the light come from behind your baby or you’ll end up with a silhouette. The best way to learn is by experimenting. Try different lighting techniques to discover what works best for you. When you’re indoors and you don’t have the option of using outside light – try taking advantage of nearby lamps. Explore taking photos with your flash turned off to see what results you can accomplish.
Women don’t generally feel very sexy when they’re pregnant. Understandably so, and trust me I connect with this feeling as much as the next gal. But just because an expectant mother doesn’t feel sexy, that doesn’t mean she’s not totally knock out. Bring that out in her. Pull that beauty out of her. A good way to do this is by talking as you shoot. It’s perfectly appropriate to say things like: “That’s beautiful!” “Yes, perfect!” “Oh that’s just LOVELY.” “Pregnancy looks good on you girl!” Whatever works! If you’re a male photographer you’ll need to be careful about what you say in this crazy world of sexual harassment, but you’re even more capable of pulling the beauty out of her than a female photographer. It’s one thing when your girlfriend tells you you’re beautiful, but when your girlfriend’s brother tells you that you’re looking good, you actually believe it. Obviously be careful and be genuine. The success of this tip will depend on your personality, but you can help her help herself. If she feels pretty she’ll look a whole heck of a lot better. It’s that simple.
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
Surprisingly, we love working with teenagers (honestly). It requires a very different approach to the one we use with the little ones. Some teenagers come expecting the worst. We put ourselves in their position, having been forced by their parents to attend a family portrait shoot and wear clothing they dislike, and can see why it might be interpreted as less than ‘cool’ - you might agree.
Nations Photo Lab may have slightly longer processing times (up to two days for prints), but it has an excellent customer service team — in our experience, the company was quick to offer a reprint or refund when an order didn’t turn out as expected. Nations offers pro-level quality, even though you don’t have to be a professional shooter to place an order, and its online platform is easy to use. Compared to Mpix, its product range is a bit wider, including custom wood or metal USB drives for delivering digital files, but, again, its processing is a bit slower. A 4 x 6 print starts at 32 cents, though the company usually has frequent sales.
When styling a photo session, I like to start out with a basic color palette and go from there. It can help to have one “rock star” in the photos who carries a pattern in their outfit that the rest of the group’s clothing or accessories pulls from, while keeping everyone else’s outfits more simple. You can do this with a neutral and a few colorful brights, or try a softer palette that has different tonal ranges of the same shades.