I was recently asked by a member in one of my photography groups how I get everyone in my shots to look so happy. I made a joke saying that I’m just an incredibly funny person but the truth is I’m actually pretty crap at jokes - without fail I'm guaranteed to mess up the punch line. Occasionally I'm hit with some witty inspiration but I don't consider myself to be a natural comedian either. So, how do I do it? I prepare. I’m constantly thinking of prompts and activities for families to do during my shoots so everyone’s having a good time. There’s nothing worse than families awkwardly standing around wondering what they’re meant to do next, its uncomfortable for everyone and doesn’t make for awesome pics.
I'd be richy rich if I got a dollar for every time I heard someone say "I HATE having my photo taken". I get it, you feel like you’re being observed by a complete stranger which is partly true but not in the way you probably think. When I’m shooting I’m factoring in a whole bunch of stuff – most of it technical. I’m reading my light metre, rapidly adjusting my settings so I can nail exposure, toggling my focal point around so I can place focus exactly where I want it…along with a bunch of other techy details I won’t bore you with. I’m chatting away, looking for moments and connections to capture. The ‘all sitting down perfectly posed smiling at the camera shots’ are lovely and all (keeps grandma happy) so I do include a few of those but they’re not really the images that make my heart sing, and if you’ve chosen me to be your family photographer it’s likely those photos don’t rock your world either.
So, getting back to the happy snaps, what do I do exactly? Well, it varies depending on ages and family dynamics but a typical shoot for a family with young kids would involve me asking stuff like “can you hold your sisters hand and run to the tree and back?, kiss mummy on the cheek, who’s the bossiest one in the family? Show me your best twirl, whisper something funny in your brothers ear, can you pick me a flower?. Mum, dad! hold up the blanket and let the kids run under, throw little Johnny up in the air, give him a tickle, cuddle, kiss......and on and on I go. The kids are having a whale of a time because they’re the centre of attention. Mum & dad start to relax because they can see their kids are having fun, and before you know it the hours up and everyone’s on a high!; including me because I’ve just captured some great shots and I want to run home as fast as I can, upload them to my computer and start editing so I can show you how amazing you all are!! And that’s pretty much it!. Its not rocket science but it keeps it light hearted and fun and allows me to capture genuine giggles and smiles - but if anyone asks, I was a total comedian ;)
If you’ve got any questions, or would like to book a family portrait session please feel free to get in touch :).
*Please note* I'm currently fully booked for August which means Spring is just around the corner! Woop woop!!