We have had some amazing families in our studio so far this year. We feel very honoured to have been chosen to take their family portraits. It is quite an intimate time when photos of a family are taken, especially a close family. Its easy to take snap shot of people but it’s a totally different matter when trying to capture the relationships between family members. A family need to feel comfortable with the photographer in order to fully relax. It’s the only way to capture the true essence of the family.
Photoshoots that capture personalities
When families see their photos for the first time on our big screen, what makes it so special and magical is when families laugh out loud, shed a tear or sometimes both together because Connan has captured that cheeky, mischievous grin of the son or the moody stare that the toddler gives when told they can’t have something! These moments, these facial expressions are what makes each person individual. It’s something as small as a slight flicker of the eye or a crooked grin that can make a parent want to burst with love for their child. Our daughter has gone through many stages of cute, odd and sometimes strange facial expressions which we have always tried to capture.
It can be so intimidating walking into a photography studio and feeling as though you need to perform. Especially for a child. Fake smiles, chocolate bribery, teeth clenched grins while telling the kids to smile (or else!!!). Stress levels can peak. I have been there many times with our daughter, chocolate bribery no longer works the way it used to!
Connan always makes families feel welcome when they walk into the studio. The children are shown the studio and are left to play for a few minutes to get used to their new surroundings. The photoshoot is all about having fun. Some families have an idea of what images they would like, whereas others come in and have no idea what to expect. Connan starts off gently, taking a few photos to warm everyone up. People in general do start to relax after the first ten minutes. Connan has a very unique quality about him (I know I am slightly biased) but he is gentle, approachable and fantastic with kids and animals. He takes control of the shoot, taking the stress from the parents. He even lets the kids use his camera to take shots of mum and dad to relax them more and make them feel an important part of the shoot.
Large family photoshoot
We had a family of eight in our studio, mum, dad and six children. One of the boys had a talent for card tricks and he showed off his skills, which Connan captured beautifully. Everyone had a great time. A lot of giggles and laughter. The younger children played up to the camera using props and after a while were asking if they could come up with their own poses for Connan to shoot. Even the parents enjoyed their experience.
Fun with kids in the studio
We had a comical brother and sister team come in with their parents. They were brilliant, full of energy and just wanted to laugh and make everyone else laugh around them, it was amazing. There was no shyness or unease. Such cute, funny little characters. Their personalities were so strong and Connan captured it all on camera.
Three generation family photoshoot
One of the most recent families were a couple and their two beautiful daughters’, the girls could almost be twins. Very striking young girls with big personalities. You can see how close they are through the photos. Best friends for life.
For anyone thinking of getting their camera or phone out to take some pictures of the family, here are some tips from Connan, which may work for you. We would love to see your results!
Top 5 Photography tips for shooting at home
- Don’t try and force a pose unless you want the traditional family portrait. In which case you will have to be assertive but gentle in the role as a director to get all eyes on you. Pose people to flatter them. If mum doesn’t like the way she looks then she isn’t going to like them no matter how good the lighting is, turn her slightly sideways and have a child standing in front of her. I would suggest taking quite a few pictures and constantly keeping everyone’s attention focused on you. A good tip for getting kids to look into camera is to ask them if they can see their reflection in the lens.
- For me getting natural candid shots and expressions result in much funnier and more beautiful photos. Have people looking and smiling at each other. Saying that, getting the kids to come up with their own silly poses helps to relax them and can result in some amazing photos. Basically let kids be kids.
- As with most photography lighting is key, if you don’t have an expensive flash or lights (why would you!) Use the most flattering and cheapest light there is – sunlight! Position everyone parallel or facing a nice bright window. Make sure you use something to act as a diffuser like a net curtain or peg a white sheet across the window. If using the built in flash with your camera I would suggest just sticking a piece of white paper across the flash to prevent harsh and over exposed highlights.
- If you’re confident with your camera take it off full auto mode and experiment with manual or AV. You’ll find you get much better results, much more flattering exposure and depth of field especially if you’re shooting outdoors. If you need a quick basic lesson or explanation have a look here: https://photographylife.com/iso-shutter-speed-and-aperture-for-beginners If you are shooting outdoors remember don’t shoot into direct sunlight, but also don’t have the sun behind you, as you’ll end up with everyone squinting or looking uncomfortable.
- Last but by no means least and probably the most important. Just have fun with it. If you’re a grumpy or shy photographer then you’ll have grumpy and dull photos. You need to act a clown sometimes to make the kids smile and relax. Pull faces, get the family to bundle on top of each other, jump whatever you think will add fun to the shoot.
Connan & Lisa x