Tips for a successful multi-family photography session- Part 2

Two years have passed since I last wrote Tips for a successful multi-family photography session” 
And from all the families I’ve met I have learned a few more tips to share.

The following are my observations.

1. I still feel that choosing one of the photographer’s location ideas will produce the best results.
A convenient location, like at your cabin, might not be as simple as it sounds.  Experience this summer has shown me that when we’ve photographed where the families were staying, the kids were less cooperative.  Even older kids who you would expect to cooperate during pictures.  Because this happened several times, I have wondered if the kids acted up because they wanted to be inside where their toys were, or fun games, or the food.  I can imagine exploring the house you are staying in is more fun than a photo shoot.  That is why I think it is wise to photograph away from where you are staying, and away from the distractions of your cabin.

Maybe traveling to a location makes pictures feel like an event.  “We are getting in the car and going somewhere to take pictures.”  Instead of “we are interrupting your play to come out into the back yard for pictures.”   Something to consider when you are planning pictures for your family reunion.

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2  Lighting.
I wish I could control the type of lighting that I love at the location my clients want for pictures, every time.  Especially for those who want to meet down on the beach of Bear Lake.  I agree it’s beautiful, it’s blue and the water is calming and peaceful.  But on a sunny day, there just isn’t any shade which leads to highlights being bright on the heads and in the water (which some people don’t mind.)  Some individuals are susceptible to having squinty eyes.   So when there is cloud cover, that is when magic lighting happens.   It is a subtle difference, but the lighting is soft, and skin tones are buttery and compliment with the blue water.  The lake isn’t shimmery, instead it is a soft calm tone.   These type of settings are my favorite and I’m so excited when I meet clients on a cloudy day.  I just wish that was something I could have happen every time.

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Which brings me to my tip,
If soft lighting and buttery skin tones are your goal, I suggest choosing a shady location that way you don’t have to worry about harsh lighting, bright highlights, summer heat, and glare if it happens to be a sunny day for your appointment.  Shade is the one thing you can control.
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3. Don’t wear florescent colors.
They just don’t photograph well for portraits.  They color-cast into the shadows, which means it reflects it’s color on objects/people around it.  Not an ideal situation for timeless portraits.
With the photo below my son’s florescent shirt reflects yellow under his chin.  A minor issue as I love the moment so much.

_MG_4253bsBelow is a zoomed in closeup from a family portrait that highlights how florescent shirts color cast.  Look at the arms and under the chin.  It makes it difficult for the photographer to get good skin tones.

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4.   Someone is going to cry.  Plan on it and accept it, especially if you have extended family together.
I absolutely love doing grandkid group shots. The more the better and crazier.  But quite often, someone will not be up for the game.
So I’m quick with these, as I don’t like to traumatize kids.  But how fun is a grand kid group hug, criers and all!

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5. What about Snow?

If you are interested in coming back for a winter photo session, I have tons of tips in this blog post.

f6.   Be easy going.  Chances are things won’t go as you imagined.  It’s hard to predict the behavior of 30 people.  Let alone 30 people on vacation!    I’ve seen it over and over- parents struggling with a kid who is usually so cooperative.  Teenagers refusing to smile.  And grownups vocal for it to be over with.  I do my best to make our time together run smooth, timely, and easy.  I love it when groups are ready to go with the flow, take what we can get and just have fun together.   Magic happens when we are all enjoying the moment.  Your family is special, and it’s my job to capture those details.

 

Happy gathering!