You and Your Family Portraits Pt. 1


 When it comes to your family portraits, the extra thought you invest into the process the happier you will be with your new art work.
 Depending upon how long ago you’ve had your family’s portraits taken and the choice of photographers you’ve made in the past, you may not realize the opportunities that are available to you to personalize the experience and to truly enjoy your portraits for the years to come.
 Your first step in this process is determining what kind of portraits you’d like to have. Most of the time when people think of family portraits they think of the traditional style: Backdrops, studio lighting, everyone looking at the camera and smiling and static.
 There is nothing wrong with this style and I do it quite often. This type of image capture was originally set up as it gives the photographer total control over the image, everything can be setup in advance so that the family can just walk in, get posed and be finished within 20 minutes, which can eliminate a lot of stress for families with children. It became even more the standard because ‘mall studios’ could be setup and then hourly or commissioned employees could capture properly lit images for the big box stores. A knowledge of photography or lighting was no longer needed

  These same ‘stores’ then put photo studios into the same category of trust as used car salesmen used to have. The cheap package bait and switch. 50 prints for $9.95, but when you ordered you left with a bill of several hundreds of dollars


Then there are the  non-traditional family portraits. They are becoming more popular for a number of reasons, but in my opinion it’s because they are more unique and have the ability to display more personality as well as connect emotionally.

·         With these images there may not be anyone smiling, they may not even be looking at the camera.

·         The backgrounds are generally either natural or neutral ( black or white)

·         Traditional cropping is no longer expected in this type of portrait.

 The impetus for these types of images is the commercial/advertising trade. Those images are created with the intention of soliciting emotional responses or awe. They were made to trigger an emotion of some type within you so that you remember them and are moved to take some action. The first major portraiturists to take advantage of this type of imagery were the wedding photographers. They spent several hours with the bride and groom which allowed the capture of traditional as well as nontraditional. The other reason these types of images started here was that the brides had been looking at bridal magazines for at least a year before the wedding. They had conjured images of what they wanted, based upon these books as well as how they had imagined their princess day should look and be since childhood  These images took on the air of advertising layouts, unusual angles, black and white, saturated colors. We were now more than ever not hired to capture reality. It was more about creating story telling images, ones that told of love and happiness.  It was emotion and the grandness of the event, the specialness of the day that was desired.
 Family portraits can be done the same. Shouldn’t your family’s images tell a story of love and of individuality, show personality and character?

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