I thought we'd have a little fun today! I know most people, myself included, want their pictures to be perfect the first time, every time. But that's not realistic. Life's not perfect - there are bumps in the road, "grin and bear it" situations, and moments when we're just done. Many times, photo sessions have those same moments. As a photographer, we have 2 choices: 1 - get annoyed and risk making the situation worse or 2 - roll with it, take the shot anyway because it's great to laugh at later, and know that moods can change on a dime.
So, in that spirit, below you'll find a collection of some of my favorite "take the shot anyway" moments. They're good for a laugh, and in some cases, they remind me of how far I've come since starting my business.
Babies - some of my favorite subjects to shoot and definitely some of the BEST sources of photo shoot outtakes there is! There will be tears, there will be bodily fluids, and there will be some crazy expressions.
Working our way up from babies, we have toddlers and young children. Many times they're even less predictable than infants. If nothing else, their melt downs are more dramatic!
There are two types of photographers - photographers who LOVE photographing teenagers and photographers who HATE photographing teenagers. I'm in the 1st group, and they usually leave their session convinced I'm a complete dork. It's by being my dorky, silly, jokey self that gets those great candid smiles mom's looking for! And that look - you know the look - I get it too! Check it out!
Sessions with pets can lead to some GREAT outtakes as well! In this one, the dog yawned just as I took the shot. I kept it because it looks like it's about to eat its owner's face off. Don't worry, Stella (the dog) was actually awesome!
I'll finish this post with pictures of my own family! These are from a session I did 2 Easters ago in an attempt to get "one great shot" of my step daughters with their dad.
This is real life. Embrace it!
What You Need to Know to Have an Awesome Portrait Session
Makeup’s easy, so we’ll start there. Makeup is a great prep for your session. Even if you usually wear very little or even no makeup, applying some makeup for your session is a good idea. On the flip side, don’t go overboard and pile it on too heavy either. Clumpy mascara and thick foundation will show.
Location, location, location. Let’s talk about location options and how you can choose outfits to suit the location. Where we take your pictures has a lot to do with determining HOW your portraits will look in the end. Is it in an open field or beach (bright, open), urban/ warehouse area (dim, grungy, edgy), or in your home (personal)? I want the location of your session to be about you which I why I really like your input on where we shoot. I have my favorite locations and can definitely make suggestions, but at the end of the day, this is your session and YOU need to be happy with the look of your pictures. The options are boundless.
Below I’ll list some of the most requested location types as well as thoughts on what kind of clothing to consider and the best times of day to shoot based on each location.
The Beach - Pretty much every family I know has a family portrait taken on the beach. It’s a classic for a reason. If you choose to go the Beach Portrait route, this is the place to break out your summer & spring outfits - and to lose those shoes!
What to wear for a beach session?
Urban areas - Urban areas can be VERY versatile and fun. Glam it up for contrast, or grunge it down to play off the area.
What to wear for an urban session?
Lastly, let’s go over a few tips about posing to please. I want to keep this simple, because most of these are common sense and things you already know. You just forget to think about them when you’re in front of the camera. Luckily, your photographer should be looking out for them and directing you into pleasing, natural poses.
boxy pose vs "S" curve
Below are a couple of examples of what a few tweaks in posing can do!
I hope you enjoyed this and realized how easy it really is to get the great family portraits that we all want! Keep an eye our for our third installment where we talk about sessions with children - what to do, what to expect, and what not to do to get the pictures you'll love!
None of the above three images are mine. What? Why would a professional photographer begin a blog post with another photographer's work? Easy. I want you to understand that I do not and will not take pictures ON train tracks. I admit this happily and wholeheartedly. So, these are the only ones you'll ever see me post - well, unless I take a trip by rail. Then, I might post pictures from the train.
I've heard the arguments: "They look so cool!" "Everyone else is doing it." "My baby or senior would look bada$$ up there." "My husband will come along and help me 'spot' for you."
And I've seen Facebook posts from friends and other photographers who made the decision to take the chance. It makes me shudder. But me...
NOPE, not going to happen. No exceptions, no ifs, no ands, no buts, and no amount of money will entice me to shoot on the tracks.
"But why not," you ask?
Well, not only is is dangerous as all get out, it's also quite illegal! Did you realize that railway laws are not local city or state laws but are actually FEDERAL laws? So, if you're caught on the tracks (and don't get killed by a train) you can be fined up to $10,000! That fine isn't just for the photographer; every person out there from the "model" to the photographer to the "spotters" receive that fine. I almost forgot to mention that this holds true for ABANDONED tracks as well.
Photographers taking pictures on and around train tracks has become so much of a problem that Union Pacific Railroad and Operation Lifesaver released the following:
Operation Lifesaver has six "must-know" tips for professional photographers considering a photo shoot near the tracks:
If the possibility of a $10,000 fine doesn't bother you, maybe the following articles will help you see why I so strongly feel that the risk isn't worth it.
10.14 Santa Barbara county, CA - 1 killed & 2 injured while taking photos on a train trestle
7.14 Train runs over photographers on trestle in Indiana, they miraculously survive
6.14 Missouri photographer hit and killed by Amtrak train during photoshoot
6.14 Florida photographer lucky to be alive after being hit and drug by train
2.14 Professional video crew member for "Midnight Rider" hit and killed in Georgia
12.12 California high school photography teacher hit and killed while photographing train
So, you know what? I like you! Let's not risk either of our lives or our bank accounts. Besides, train tracks have been DONE! Let's find somewhere new for your session!
What Should I Wear for my Portrait Session?
What's one of mom's biggest stresses before a Family Portrait Session? What's the #1 question on every high school senior's (and their mom's) mind before their Senior Portrait Session? What do I get the most emails about before an Engagement Session?
If you answered "What do I(we) wear?" for each of these - then you're right! At least 75% of my sessions like to run clothing ideas by me or get my clothing suggestions before a session. And you know what, I LOVE that part! I've even had brides text me pictures from a dressing room while trying on outfits for her Engagement Session.
There are 3 Big Trends (we'll call them the Big 3 from now on), especially for beach pictures. I'm sure you've seen them: dress everyone in white shirts and jeans, dress everyone in white shirts and khakis, or dress everyone in white. I get it; these are clothes that everyone has. No one needs to go shopping, mom doesn't need to stress, etc. I've shot these pictures. I've actually been IN these pictures.
So to recap:
- we all agree that picking out clothes for your photo session (whatever type that may be) is stressful
- going the Big 3 route is easy - but lacking in wow factor
So where does that leave us...
Seriously consider adding some color to your portrait session! This doesn't have to involve a family wide shopping trip - if you want to go with one of the Big 3, add a funky belt, show stopping shoes, colorful jewelry, or a scarf.
Another idea is to put the grown-ups in one of the Big 3 options and have the kids in pops of color.
If you've decided to add color for the whole family, don't be scared! I'm here to help! An easy idea is to find an item of clothing that you love for one family member that's some type of pattern and then use the colors in that item to pick outfits for everyone else.
Check out the little guy's plaid shirt in the picture to the right - mom, dad, and big sis are all in solids that are pulled from that one article of clothing. How easy is that?
All you need to do to add color to your session is pick a color palette or find the perfect, colorful article of clothing and take the plunge! And ask your photographer for suggestions and opinions - he or she knows the area where you're shooting as well as the time of day!
Feel free to check out my Pinterest board: Inspiration | Clothing Color Combinations for ideas! I've added a few of my favorite combinations below.
Amanda is the prop buying, location scouting, mom-bun rocking, flip flop wearing, owner/ operator/ and woman behind the camera for Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography.
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