Family Portraiture
1341
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“I want my family pictures to be beautiful

and I also want them to feel natural.”

—My Ideal Client

 

I’m not sure why most people hold their breath 

when a camera turns in their direction. But they do. Even I do

 

Unless subjects are underwater, 

breathing is the first step towards a beautiful, natural portrait.    

 

Below are five more guidelines

both photographers and their subjects should follow 

when striving for beautiful family portraits that feel natural. 

 

(Heads-up! The fifth suggestion features some sweet slideshows
you won’t want to miss!)

1. 

 

Running and jumping children experience incredible swells of irrepressible joy. It’s as if they can’t get enough of it. 

 

Dress your child stylishly and also in comfy clothes for sprints and leaps!

2.

 

Until there are “reveal emotion” and “activate sweet moment” buttons on cameras, parents must lead the way to accomplish these family photography ideals. How?   

 

Moms and Dads need to prepare for our session with a singular purpose in mind— expressing in personal, heartfelt ways the depth of your love and gratitude to your family.

 

Preparing means taking a moment away from everything that isn’t ideal and letting yourself remember it all… the impossible smallnesses, rainy days snuggling inside, joyful firsts, big laughs…  and then intentionally follow-through at our session. Show your love, affection, and playfulness on purpose.

 

You want beautiful pictures that feel real? This is the way.

3.

 

Bribes and threats efficiently undermine natural and honest family photography. 

 

Children, especially younger ones, have no sense of time. Thirty seconds into the session, they’ll have flashed a smile and believe with “give me liberty or give me death” conviction that they’re owed a reward. Threatening to back out of your promise starts the clock on mutually assured destruction. Cue meltdown, fade to cursing. 

 

The solution is simple enough. Do not set any transactional expectations. Focus entirely on how great it is to be together and share the specific stuff you love about them. 

 

If you lead the way with love and enthusiasm, your children may believe they’re simply having a fantastic time with you. There are no guarantees with little ones, but hug and kiss them and see what happens. I’ll be there to capture it.

4.

 

Here I present a veritable value pack of “before we start” advice.

 

a) Little ones who are well rested and well fed are far more likely to deliver the kinds of emotions you want. If your child has a terrible night’s sleep, please postpone the session.

 

b) Clean your child’s face, especially around the eyes and nose. 

 

c) Take everything out of your pockets.

5.

 

There is nothing more beautiful than the unvarnished reality of your family life. So, one of these times, choose a documentary session over a lifestyle session. 

 

My approach to portraiture puts natural feelings first, so there’s no escaping an aesthetic of authenticity when working with me. And yet there’s a vast difference between guiding families through natural feeling moments and completely letting them be. If the lifestyle session is an eagle, the documentary session is a blue whale. 

 

I always include a slideshow with my documentary session, and hope you find these tantalizing.