There are many things that go into photographing families – before, during and after every session. Let me take you behind the scenes a bit into a family portrait session!
The planning process of photographing families.
When you book a session with Yvonne Niemann Photography, I will send you a questionnaire to help me customize your portrait session for you. This mom stated that she wanted updated family portraits in a natural setting with flowers. Either blossoming trees or wildflowers. Preferably a field and nothing overly manicured. She also mentioned that she wanted assistance with her family’s wardrobe. Once I had all the information from her and what she was envisioning, I was able to start thinking of locations and what type of outfits to suggest. I knew, from the questionnaire, that where she would be displaying her images, those rooms had a lot of light gray and other neutral colors. With all of that in mind, I put together an inspiration mood board, which you can see below.
The mood board included links to where she could find the outfits in the correct sizes of each family member. She ended up purchasing some of the exact items for her family and used the other pictures as inspiration when shopping. The peach dress her youngest daughter ended wearing is one they borrowed from the Yvonne Niemann Photography closet.
Location scouting is one of my favorite things when planning a photo session for my clients. Nothing like being in nature trying to find the perfect spot for what a client is envisioning. I did a lot of location scouting for this family’s portrait session. We were trying to get a location with either blossoming trees or a field of wildflowers. When the cherry trees and Bradford Pear trees were in bloom, they had other commitments with their daughter’s gymnastics. Luckily, after competition season was over, this field of wildflowers was in full bloom and the weather was perfect too. The fresh green grass and trees along with thee purple and yellow flowers made for the perfect setting. Their outfits would work with the the blossoming trees just as much as this particular field, so we were all set regardless of what was in bloom during the time of their session. Win!
The day of a photo session, I review everything my client and I discussed regarding their session. I make sure my batteries are charged, I have film and SD cards and all my gear is in working order and packed in my camera bag. I also bring treats and sometimes even little puppets to get the attention from little ones. For this family, the puppets were not necessary due to their ages, so I left those behind. I did bring a little emergency kit that contains things like bug spray, nail polish remover, a small brush, safety pins, hair spray, clear hair ties, bobby pins, wipes, lotion, etc… I always bring a tiny step ladder since I am only 5’2″ and need extra height many times during a session.
The day before, I sent an email confirming our meeting location and time that also included a map that was marked showing where we would be meeting and the field that we would be photographing. When everyone arrived, we chatted for a bit and I gave them a game plan of what we would be doing. I do give direction to ensure everyone looks their best, but there is also a lot of play and and fun during the session too! Prompts and activities for family members to do are helpful to ensure we are getting natural and meaningful images.
If possible, I like to get images of mom and dad alone together. For many couples, the last time they had professional images taken together was on their wedding day. Your love is worth documenting and celebrating all along the way!
I always try to get as much variety as I can during a session, so even if we aren’t moving around a lot, there are plenty of images to choose from and will tell a family’s story. This tree was within the field we were shooting, so we utilized this area just a few yards away to change things up a bit and give a different feel to some of their images.
After the session.
As soon as I get home from photographing families, I always make sure to download and back up all images from my SD cards. Cannot risk losing these precious images. The next work day, I begin culling, processing and fine tuning images. When all the images are complete, I upload images to an online gallery and shopping cart. I then send directions to my client on how to access everything and help them with the ordering process. This family chose to purchase an heirloom album containing all the images from their session. I helped them select fabric for their cover, debossing choices and got a list of their absolute favorites to help me in designing the pages of their album. Once the album was designed, I sent a proof over for review and approval. Once approved, I sent the design to my vendor. Enlargements and framed pieces were also ordered for their walls. Once all orders came back to me, I looked everything over for quality control and once I was satisfied, I packaged it all up and scheduled delivery, which was hand delivered that very next day. They ended up getting a 12″x12″ heirloom album, which you can see images of below.
I hope these details on how I go about photographing families is helpful for you. I really try hard to make the experience a fun and smooth. I know that there is a lot of things that my clients do to get ready for their portrait sessions and while I cannot take all the stress away, I sure hope I can ease some of it and help out with as much as I can.
If you would like to book a portrait session, contact Yvonne Niemann Photography today to reserve your spot on the calendar. The session above was a Signature Session. Shorter Simplicity Sessions are also available. Inquire for details. firstname.lastname@example.org | 706.713.0676