Family Portrait Photography
What is Family Portrait Photography?
A Family Portrait is usually created to remember an important family event marking a dramatic change in your family. Someone just had a baby (or you just announced your pregnancy!), one of your kids is off to college this Fall or just got married and the family is growing. Buying a new home for a young couple can be a great time for a portrait… the start of a new journey. Any life changing event is a great time for a professional family portrait.
These events call for a bit more than just a cell phone snapshot. Cell Phone cameras are getting more sophisticated, for sure, but do you know what all the settings do? Having a great camera (or cellphone camera) doesn’t mean that you’ll get great portraits.
When you hire a professional, you’re making the right choice that this phase in your life will be remembered fondly and not a wasted opportunity. Creating something that you can frame and proudly display in your home requires knowledge and experience using gear. Not many selfies ever get printed. There’s a reason for that!
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Why should you consider family portrait photography?
Life Events, the big ones: Pregnancy, Newborn, Marriage, New Home, Off to College, Anniversaries. The times of your life that you just don’t want to forget. THAT’S the time to think about creating a timeless family portrait.
Maternity portraits mark the start of a new life, a new member in your family, a new beginning.
Newborn photos let you look back and feel that wave of emotion all over again.
Your new home, looking back after you’ve moved for the 3rd time: “Oh my God! Do you remember that place? We look so young!”
The list goes on, but the point is that you don’t want to leave these memories to a cellfy.
We take these times seriously because they are important to you! Our job is preserving these memories for you. In 10, 20, 50 years, you’ll look back and smile. Our clients pass these images down to the next generation so that the memories can live on. That’s why we do what we do!
What to wear for family portraits?
This question is one I get all the time. It’s the 2nd most important thing to consider for your Family Portrait session (the 1st is who’s gonna be in the picture).
When I chat with mom’s considering hiring me, this question gets answered after I ask a few questions. When she decides on where her portrait will be displayed in the home, that gets the conversation going in the right direction. A formal dining room portrait looks and feels different from the one in the family room or in your child’s bedroom.
Are you going with a timeless look? Khakis and white shirts, jeans and black tops. Both look great, but do they speak to you about your family? What about your favorite colors? Do you want this portrait to tell the story of your family? That’s when things get interesting!
I try to keep the colors on the same palate, which is to say coordinated. If everyone’s wearing similar colors and Grandma shows up for the session in a bright red outfit, it doesn’t really mesh and throws the feeling of the portrait off. There are better ways to showcase Grandma. You don’t have to match completely, but being coordinated makes a BIG difference.
I like having a variety of images to show mom when she sees her portraits. I’ll always ask that everyone brings an extra sweater, scarf or jacket to quickly throw on for a slightly different look at the session. These little differences make nice changes and offer variety.
How Much Do Family Portraits Cost?
If there’s one question that comes up with every phone call, it’s the one about the cost. Completely valid question as the range of prices vary as much as the photographers quoting the answer.
Most photographers have a Session Fee. This gets the ball rolling. Sometimes the Session Fee can be used as a deposit for items purchased. But this is usually the fee that books the date to guarantee that your session is locked in.
Session fees range from $95 and up. They top out around $395 depending on the studio but generally range in the $150 – 225 area.
The bulk of your money will come after you see the images and decide what you want to do with them. Framed Wall Art, Canvas on Masonite, and albums will run you more than simple paper prints, obviously. Size matters, too. Oftentimes, getting one image in different sizes and/or finishes will open the door to a discount. Make sure you discuss this with your photographer before you book your session.
The key to not being disappointed at the sales table is asking questions and being open with your photographer before you book. Most photographers honestly want to fulfill your needs without any disappointment. The best way for everyone to come out pleased is to make sure you’re on the same page. A consultation is the best way to make that happen.
How do I Pose for family portraits?
Indeed! This is a great question that I get all the time. Posing is one of those things that can make or break a family picture.
Sitting or standing? How many people stand in “the back” and how many sit? Or is it a ‘Girl vs. Guys’ thing? Or does Mom sit and we gather the family around her? So many questions…
The answer lies in the Family Dynamic. I often start with the basic poses, based on height but find that Little Sarah can,t stand next to Jason without squirming and complaining… forget about the smile!
When working with families, the best pose (for me) is usually the 2nd pose. Yup, failing at the first attempt, I’m able to see what’s going on, who likes who and where to put everyone so that they’re both comfortable in the position and who they’re next to.
Most family members can survive for a few minutes next to anyone else in the family. However, reading the expressions and reactions is crucial for the best pose, especially in larger family groups.
What’s the process like when working with me?
There are so many aspects to coordinating family portraits that I continually come across with my clients. I treat each family individually (because that’s who they are) and I’m able to create great portraits because of that.
With every family that I encounter, I sit down, usually with mom, to chat about what she’s hoping for. That’s Step 1. My Portrait Consultation explores her needs and wants, possible session locations, the wardrobe best suited for the family as well as where she plans to display her portrait.
When I ask mom what’s most important about THIS portrait, I usually get shrugged shoulders. That’s the best answer that I can hope for! This means that I really get to do my job; make suggestions and recommendations. She’ll make the final decisions, but it’s the guidance that I provide that allows her to make solid, educated decisions.
Within a short conversation, we come up with a plan for the rest of the session. That’s the way I handle every family portrait session.
How do I sign up for family portrait photography?
Signing up for a portrait session usually starts with a phone call. You Google photographers in your area and select the one with website images that seem to fit your style… which means the pictures that you like the best.
Call the studio and have a chat about what they can do for you, when they’re available and how much it’s going to cost. Every photographer handles these calls differently, so make sure you connect with them (probably the most important thing), and that you leave the conversation with a positive feeling.
Booking the session will be a dance of availability. The more advance notice you have, the better your chances of landing a desirable date for your schedule. You’ll probably be asked for a deposit or a Session Fee to reserve your date. Then you can discuss the details or ask them to mail you their Client Packet for more info.
The process should be easy and straightforward but it starts with you! So make the call and get that family portrait that you’ve been putting off for so long.
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