Having that picture perfect portrait of your family can feel overwhelming. Just the thought of getting kids organized for a portrait is always stressful for me – never mind worrying about how my family is going to gel with a photographer. Photography is such an intimate experience so finding your ‘photographer soul mate’ is important. Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be on your way to an amazing family portrait experience.
1) Stalk them on social media. I LOVE a photographer that is always sharing their latest family photography on Instagram or Facebook. Why is this more important than an updated website? Nobody has time to keep their website updated daily, but that’s a different story when photographers are active on Facebook. A photographer’s portrait location, style, placement will continually be changing. I love watching the evolution of portraits through a well updated Facebook page before making a decision to book. I knew from watching the Lark Rise House House Facebook Page for over a year, that the style and editing in her photos was a great match for how I pictured my portrait.
The below picture is from my phone as I watched Raeleigh style my girls and get them totally happy to be barefoot sitting in a barn window. It was at this moment I knew I was going to get a picture of the twins I would always treasure.
2) Location, location, location. I think back to the stress of portraits at the Mall when my children were really young. The entire experience was anything but enjoyable. Here’s a little secret about finding the right photographer. The experience shouldn’t be terrible. A little stressful with children yes, but not something that gives you nightmares. I know my clan and they need to run around a lot. We met my photographer soul mate, Lark Rise Horse House, at a 200 year old farm with multiple barns and room to run. While my daughters were styled and photographed together, my boys got to collect owl pellets in an old barn, jumping in hay. This freedom gave me time to concentrate on getting my girls organized and not worry (too much) about my boys.
2.1) Location was one of the most important requirements on my list. Most photographers have access to a general location spot for pictures. Are you an outdoorsy family? Or does the thought of light rain make you break out in hives? A little mist doesn’t bother me and I was determined to have pictures with lots of leaves and Fall colours popping out everywhere. If weather elements have you concerned, does your photographer have a backup, indoor solution in case of freezing weather or rain?
3) Will you click? Feeling comfortable with a photographer is important. For my clan, I need someone who is soft spoken, funny, and relaxed. I’m high strung enough for everyone, so having someone stay calm when you are feeling anxious about getting ‘the perfect picture’ is a must for me. I also know my children and a person that can yell “stinky farts” is the perfect fit for my kids. Getting them to laugh at the right moment or look dreamy in the next is great gift in a photographer. You’ll usually get the feel for this though their Facebook page. Personalities shine through on social media – refer back to point 1) as it’s important. I knew I had completely ‘clicked’ with my photographer when she showed up to our photo shoot with handmade fresh flower wreaths for my daughters and me to wear. She also brought some vintage looking dresses and vest for my girls – totally styled us all. I don’t have this ability and finding it in a photographer was SUCH a bonus!
4) How do you feel about candid pictures? I always end up loving these the most. They are always taken when you least expect it and it takes a certain eye to capture a perfect candid. Are you looking for a photographer that can tell a story of the day? Here is my favourite candid from our Lark Rise Horse House portrait. It was taken in a moment of one child saying ‘my mommy’ and being goofy. I love the expression on her twin sister’s face…bemused. And I’m so glad I just accepted the love of her grabbing my face rather than telling her to behave for the camera. It resulted in this candid picture I’ll treasure forever!!
5) Referral. Word of mouth is also very important. Don’t know of a photographer in your area? Ask your friends to show you their latest pictures and explain what the experience was like. Was it structured, relaxed, how long did it take to receive pictures, was their editing included, prints? I am one of those people that can’t wait to see pictures – if it’s going to take three weeks to get edited photos, I’m probably not a good candidate. I love seeing watermarked images shared after a family’s portrait – little sneak peeks a few days after the pictures have been taken. All of these questions can be answered by friends – a referral is so important because it means the photographer has left a happy trail of clients.
I had been four years since I last took pictures with my clan. A few of these will be blown up on canvas as a surprise to my husband for Christmas. He doesn’t know we did this portrait and I’m sure will love the updated pictures of our kids. I am so grateful to Lark Rise Horse House for these pictures – they will be treasured forever! The below picture is the winner for going up on the canvas for our entrance way. I love black and white pictures and all my kids and their different personalities are captured perfectly in this picture.
Want to know one last thing your photographer soul mate will have you do? A picture that wasn’t on your list. A picture that takes you out of your comfort zone. A picture just of you. Thank you Raeleigh. xx