Family portrait shoots - progress and process!
08/11/12As a lot of people have been asking, I thought I would update on how my family portraiture sessions are going, how I plan my shoots and what families can expect from the day. I have undertaken quite a number now and have been using Bushy Park as my local outdoor 'studio'. So far my young models have ranged in age from 4-months to 5-years old. I prefer not to work indoors for family portraits as considerably more photographic paraphernalia is required (additional flash units, flash boxes and reflectors etc.) which I feel can sometimes reduce the spontaneity of the moment.
I am happy to arrange photographic shoots on any day of the week but so far all have happened to be at the weekend. Saturday mornings are actually quite quiet which makes it more private for the families as I certainly appreciate it can be quite daunting being the centre of attention with every move being photographed (I personally hate being photographed!!). A standard shoot normally takes between 1-2 hours although I will spend as long as it takes to allow the children to become relaxed in front of the camera and equally not take too long to avoid boredom and tiredness. I hope I make the sessions fun for the children with many being introduced to the concept of 'Pooh Sticks' and bubble chasing! Some of my best photographs have been of the children running around and playing which I can capture from a distance using my Canon 70-200mm (f2.8) lens so I am not so intimidating and the children are not so aware of being the centre of attention. My other favoured lens is my Canon 24-70mm (f2.8) which is great for group shots and which I often use in conjunction with my Canon Speedlite 580EX flash unit.
Prior to the day I chat with the parents to find out what they are hoping for and to ascertain if they have a specific idea of what they want. The comments I hear most of all is that very few families have photographs of all members of the family together as usually one person has to be operating the camera. Parents want a photographic record of their children which is less formal than a school photograph and captures their family growing up.
People are worried if the day is not bright and sunny. I have to say it is easier to photograph on a dry but slightly cloudy day as this reduces strong shadows and extremes of lighting. That said, rain is not good! If it is wet on the day, we simply reschedule for another time, flexibility is important. I can take anything between 250-550 photographs on the day but will then edit down to around 40 final images from which I select a 'Top 10'. Every single image is checked, colour corrected if required - and - to reassure Mums and Dads, any crumbs, blemishes or runny noses will be cleaned and tidied up. I also produce the 'Top 10' photographs in black and white which I feel gives a timeless and classic quality.
Finally, I produce a DVD disc with all the images saved as high quality JPEGS which can be printed or used in any way preferred. Each has a unique reference for ease of referral and I also provide a set of reference sheets with all images printed as thumb nail sizes. I prefer to give families the freedom to do what they wish with the images and so as a matter of course do not create prints although I can advise on local good quality photographic print shops.
It may sound a bit 'precious' but I am anxious to provide the best photographic record of the day that I can. Families give up valuable time to work with me and I want them to be happy with the final results.
Interested?... Drop me an email via my 'Contact Emma' page and I am happy to discuss your needs and answer any questions you may have.