A Calgary Family Photographer Talks About Creating Natural Portraits
I am a parent and a photographer, so I do understand what parents are after when they come to me looking to hire a Calgary Family Photographer. Mainly they are worried that their kids are getting bigger and they don’t have a set of photos that shows their personalities, expressions and character at that time.
There are quite a few different approaches to photographing a family and this post doesn’t speak to all of the options. My approach is probably best described as photo journalistic coverage of a planned activity. Or to paraphrase my clients “photos of family that don’t look overly posed.”
When I first started photographing Calgary families I found it extremely painful. The parents told me they wanted a portrait, so I did my best to arrange everyone and then tried to get a photo where every person was looking at the camera and smiling. Wow, just writing a description of it seems boring and painful. For starters, kids don’t want to sit still, or look at a camera or smile on cue. Most young kids can’t smile on request. Their true smile only comes out when they are laughing. Long story short, this approach wasn’t for me. As a Calgary Family Photographer what I wanted to do was just basically walk around a park, neighbourhood, or natural area with a family and take photos while they interacted with each other. How do you sell that though? Its always easier to show people what they will get versus trying to describe it so I started to make a collection of the types of images I wanted.
After I finished doing the more traditional portraits I asked families to take a small walk and try to ignore me and my camera. I told moms the portraits are done, don’t worry about the kids getting their clothes dirty. Just let them be kids and let me take photos of it. This strategy worked really well and the resulting images made it easy for me to sell other families on the concept. Now at a typical family photography session we will just go out and wander around an area with limited direction from me. I still believe a traditional family portrait is important, but now I look for the perfect opportunity for it, get the parents in place and then bring the kids in at the last second. The key is to tfake the photos quick and move on. If you don’t get it don’t worry, just keep going and try again later. In short, keeping the kids moving and busy is the key.
Now when I get families looking to hire a Calgary Newborn Photographer I can show them these types of photos, explain that the same kind of shoot can be done for a maternity session and then when their children are a bit older we can do something similar. The goal for a newborn shoot for me it to document the baby and get a record of how cute and tiny they were. Quite often couples who are hiring a Calgary Newborn Photographer aren’t even really thinking about what kind of shoot they will want when their kids are older so it’s nice to introduce them to this option and plant the idea.
- Alan Maudie is a Calgary Family Photographer based out of Calgary, Alberta. He is a father of 3 and in addition to offering Calgary Newborn and Maternity Photography is also an accomplished wedding photographer.