Family portraits are a staple for most households. As a photographer sometimes this genre can produce and eye roll and complete disinterest, but I soon correct myself with a quote I learned during my days as a dance instructor:
Though you may have done the basic step to the foxtrot a million times more than necessary, your partner may very well have never done it before; and if you only think about yourself, your partner may very well never do it again. With you at least.
Though family portraits can get tiresome after a while, just remember that the photos you are taking really mean something to this family. Photography is about making an impact and with this genre, your impact can be seen through the viewfinder. This young family consists of my long time friend Mitchell, his wife Magan and their beautiful little girl Marlee. These are the first family portraits they have had done since the baby was born and I know that they are very important for them. Could I have dreaded taking them and been rushed when I arrived hurriedly trying to finish the job? Of course I could, but I to get the type of expressions that show relaxation and comfort, you have to take your time.
Make Yourself at Home
Now I am not advising you to walk straight in to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich, but don't make it look like you don't belong there. Scout your locations and then find a place for you equipment to go. Have a seat on the couch with them and start a conversation. Ask what they would like these photos to be for, what they would like more of and what they are not interested in. If they look uncomfortable to you, they will not like their photos. I was at a little of an advantage here, because I have known them for a long time but it doesn't take very long for you to start a conversation. You can't capture someone's personality if you don't know how they act.
Use Your Surroundings
If you have an appointment set up, you probably already have a place picked out for your photos. Think about all the things in your setting that you can use to your advantage. This session was originally supposed to be outside, but due to a few days of cool, windy weather we decided to change the location to their living room. Knowing that it was Christmas time, I of course had the Christmas tree as an easy back drop, but what I didn't know was that they had a fireplace. So halfway through, I called an audible and asked for them to turn on the gas logs and set up near the hearth to diversify the photos I was able to capture but still keep them within the boundaries of my theme.
Just a quick post featuring some photos of a long time friend and his family. Really enjoyed my time with them and hope you enjoy the photos!