It’s always a real pleasure to do a bit of work for family – it’s the ultimate compliment to be honest.
My Aunty Diane is one of my most regular blog commenters and it’s always really nice to hear what she thinks about my work. She knows what she likes when it comes to photography and it’s always good to have a chat with her about styles, landscapes, moody skies, models, brides and locations.
Anyway, she asked me a while ago if we could get put together a family shoot for her and we’ve been waiting for most of the summer for an opportunity to arise – between weekends I was working, weeks away they were having, etc. it was looking like it would be Christmas! But luckily we chanced upon a weekend where we were all due to be in the same place at the same time, so we got it in the diary and had a chat about what she wanted from the shoot.
My biggest opinion on family shoots, lifestyle sessions and portraits is that they must show the genuine personality of the subjects in the images. I’m not going to go too heavy on what I don’t like and what sorts of styles I don’t shoot in, but suffice to say, I like to use family homes, familiar favourite places of theirs, rather than getting everyone to take their shoes and socks off in an impersonal white studio where one family looks exactly like the next one and the one before them…
If your subject is relaxed and comfortable in their environment, then this is going to come across in the photographs. Which is why kids enjoy being photographed in their natural habitat (the family home, back garden, local park) where they can relax and go about playing and enjoying themselves. And it’s not that different for adults to be honest!
So Diane wanted a mix of posed family shots and then some very relaxed, reportage style images of them all interacting and generally being a family!
We were on location with a good variety of backgrounds available and we got some great shots in a relatively short period of time, demonstrating that you don’t have to sit in a studio all day to get one good shot.
From the sublime to the ridiculous! We realised early on that catalogue poses were perhaps not going to work too well…!!!
My cousin’s socks quickly became quite famous…
The boys ‘mean and moody’ was far superior to their Gratton catalogue efforts!
The socks make another appearance…
Not happy with a few cracks at catalogue poses, we stumbled upon a wishing well…cue more ridiculous posing!!!
The second biggest thing for me about any kind of shoot with people as the subject is that it should be fun! If everybody relaxes they’ll have a good time and if they’re having a good time they’ll relax and that is one of the key things I’m always mindful of when I’m on any shoot, whether it be with a bride and groom, a family or a model.
You may think that shooting family is easier than people that you don’t necessarily know that well but that’s not always the case…sometimes family can struggle to relax enough as they’re nervous because of how well they know you – though it wasn’t a problem in this instance as you can see!!!