Thursday, October 25, 2012

Preparing To Photograph A Family Photo Session: Basics.

I'm kind of obsessed with taking pictures. It's a problem.

I do my best with food, but you all see how well that turns out.

I try to do everyday life and well, I'm working on it...

But little do you know, I attempt family and kids photos as well. Actually, I'm in the process of putting together the beginnings of a portfolio.

Ya know, to test the waters. See where it goes. Maybe actually make a bit of cash money one day.

Anyway, taking photos is a work in progress.

It takes practice. A lot of it.

And equipment. A lot of it.

And time. A lot of it, too.

And a good bit of confidence and willingness to screw up and then learn from your mistakes.

Two days ago I photographed a family of four beautiful blonde kids, ranging from three to nine years old. I've worked with three of the kids at school and they also happen to be the nieces and nephews of our good friends.

I'm always looking for kids to practice my photography skills and they were the perfect family to ask. Now that I've gotten to know the mom pretty well, I didn't look like a total creeper. I offered to take their photos, explained that I needed some more experience, that it would be for free and that they could have all the photos in the end.

Without a seconds hesitation, the mom was sold. Nothing to lose, right?

Bonus: She hasn't even seen the photos yet but her kids had enough fun that she already hooked me up with two other families!

Taking photos is a whole beast of its own. You've got to know how to use your camera, how to adjust your settings and all that stuff. We won't get into that right now. But once you're good with that, and before you even walk out the door, there are a few things to do so that you'll be at your best.

Trust me, I've screwed up all of this before.

1. Get your stuff ready. Make sure your memory cards are cleared. Charge your batteries. Duh.

2. Set out all your equipment. Cameras, lenses, cards, extra cards, battery, back-up batteries, lens caps, camera caps, props (signs, chalk, bubbles, blankets, ect). Double check you've got it all. Nothing like realizing you have no camera card when you're twenty minutes into a shoot. Even an eight year old, 512 MB card that you stole from your mom is better than nothing.

3. Don't wear low rise pants unless you've got on a looooong shirt. Chances are you'll be kneeling, crawling, running and generally moving in a way that isn't conducive to low rise jeans. No body wants to see that. Crack is whack.

4. Wear the right shoes. Looking somewhat put-together is important, but Jimmy Choos ain't gonna work for walking in the woods, standing on picnic tables and balancing on see-saws. Get out the running shoes and get over it.

5. How are you going to cart around your stuff? A camera bag? Not for me if I'm at the park or in the woods. The answer is pockets. Preferably ones with zippers. Stash your chapstick, phone, keys and extra battery and cards in there. You need to be mobile if you're going to chase around a wild four year old.

6. Pee before you leave. Maybe pee twice, just to be safe. Nothing breaks your concentration like floating teeth.

7. Scout out the location, which means getting there early. Where's the light? Where are good background colors? Are there parked cars or traffic? Nothing worse than a old, gross parked truck to kill a photo.

8. Get your hair out of your face. Pin back your bangs and rock a ponytail. Also, lose the sunglasses.

9. Don't go out drinking until all hours of the morning the night before. Sorry, Jen. Lesson learned.

10 (through 14). Take a few minutes to play around with the kids and get to know them so they're comfortable. Make a point to not stress out the parents. Take equal amounts of everyone's photo. Have some different angles and set-ups in mind. That being said, roll with the punches and go where the wind takes you.

Have fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment