PLANNING FOR YOUR PORTRAIT
Whether photographing an individual portrait or an extended family of fifty, my approach revolves around the personality of my client(s) while considering the impression we want to create. For family & children’s portraits, my primary goal is to tell a story about who you/they are during this life stage; ideally, to create and document a valuable memory rather than just approaching as “a photo session.” Together we will collaborate to ensure a productive, enjoyable experience and create memorable photographs!
FAMILY/CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHY | Depending on the setting, I may start by hanging out with your child(ren) to provide a chance for them to feel comfortable with me. In a short time, trust is established, which will be invaluable during the photo session. If your child is on the energetic side, I may begin by photographing them in the yard during a game of chase. This encourages fun shots, helps instill trust and tires them out so they may be more relaxed during the official family portrait (theoretically)! Prior to the family portrait, you can take a few minutes to change their clothing and comb their hair, as it will likely be necessary after a good game of chase! Or, we may take fun photos AFTER the official family shoot. In this case, pack the bathing-suits or sneakers!
LOCATION | Together we will choose a setting that represents you, your family and/or your children during this phase of your life or career, and which offers room for creativity and spontaneity. For family/children’s portraits, I recommend your home, so that in years following you and/or your children may connect the memory of the pictures to the memory of your current surroundings. Additional options: a park or beach that is significant to you or your family; a place that represents a family or individual hobby (ski slope, golf course, zoo, etc.).
LIGHTING | For environmental portraiture, I often opt to shoot early morning or early evening, when the sun is off to the side. For example: the photo of pregnant Georgia (above) was taken before 8am. During the planning process, our goal was to have the water as our backdrop and therefore took into consideration the position of the sun at different times of the day: in this case, early morning was best. Location and light go hand-in-hand and require proper planning.
WEATHER | If you are comfortable, you will look comfortable – and if you look comfortable, you will look good! Dress appropriate to the weather and surroundings.
TIMING | We will revolve around your children’s feeding/sleeping schedules while factoring in lighting and weather conditions.
CLOTHING | Individual portraiture simply requires the clothing that best illustrates your character or the purpose of the shoot (corporate, modeling, musician, etc.). For family and children’s portraiture, we want everyone to “match,” yet with a less formal, more relaxed approach. I do not recommend everyone in the same outfit (for example, avoiding the 80’s blue jeans + white t-shirt)! But I do recommend a similar “look” or “vibe.” What to avoid: wrinkled clothing (everything should be ironed (or thrown in the dryer for a few minutes) to avoid retouching fees); chest pockets if possible (they often crease or appear distracting); emblems (Nike, etc.); shirts with pictures/graphics, “busy” or “loud” patterns (although subtle stripe/plaid patterns do work). I generally suggest no white shirts, as it will reflect the color(s) of the surroundings (green tint from grass, etc). If you are a fan of white, I'd suggest reserving for a young child. Keep it simple: a few variances in color/shade/pattern, more subjects wearing solids/less subjects wearing patterns, etc. For example, if mom is wearing a subtle floral pattern dress, perhaps dad is in a solid, ideally that resembles a shade of the pattern in her dress. Same goes for the child(ren). That said….if your daughter wants to wear her fireman hat/boots, like little Zoey (above), let her! After all, you want to remember them as they truly are at this stage of their lives – priceless! And all of this said: if you would like to simply allow your child(ren) to pick out the clothing they wish to wear, let them! In the end it’s about our primary goal: preserving memories.
HAIR/MAKEUP | Ladies: I suggest you only wear the amount of makeup you’d wear on an average day. It is a myth that one needs heavy makeup for the camera (this is only true for theatrical lighting). As a matter of fact, heavy eyeliner/mascara can make your eyes looks dark in pictures. I also suggest doing your hair similar to the way you would every day; and it’s always nice to have a fresh cut. Men: depending on your look, I generally suggest a fresh cut and/or shave either the day of or the day prior to your photo session. For professional and modeling portraiture, I suggest having your hair and makeup done professionally to ideally represent yourself.
EXTRAS | I also suggest you bring extra clothing for your children; facial moisturizer for your children (especially if they/you are prone to flaky skin); sun protection and tissues for your children; and of course: yummy snacks!