Saturday, April 14, 2007

Making the Most of Your Session

Here I am on Friday night at almost midnight, proofing pictures...I'm such a loser ;)

Was moving some old files over to DVD last night and it got me thinking about the good sessions vs. the GREAT sessions. Here are some tips that I think make the difference between the two.

1. Let's talk about clothing since it is the number one question I get before a session. I have had people call me from the malls before, send me text messages with images of clothes they are deciding between, and just downright panicking about the whole "what-to-wear" issue. Here is what I tell them. If you are having to think about it that much, you're buying the wrong clothes. What you wear to church on Sunday morning is probably not what you should wear to our session. If you wear something out and someone says to you, what a great outfit!!! Don't wear it. If you wear something out and someone says to you, you look so great, what's different? BINGO! That's the one. Subtlety is the key. Also, for kids, sometimes some of the funkiest combinations make for the best pictures. Sometimes an outfit is just magic. One of my favorite things to do with little girls is let them go into their closets and create their own outfit. They look ridiculous...and you'd never let them go out in public like that...but look at how well it photographs:

For family sessions, DON'T: wear perfectly matching clothes, a la the Temptations. DO: wear similar tones but clothes that are your own personal style. If you don't wear jeans and a black t-shirt ever, don't wear it for the pictures. For any relationship style picture, the clothes should take a mega back seat. Simplicity is key. When I had my pictures made with my baby, we both wore pink bathrobes for most of the shoot. It created a look of being at home and comfy with each other. I highly, highly recommend it for mommy/baby sessions.
I also love attitude shirts. My baby is about to have her 6 month pictures made in a shirt that says proudly, "Mommy's Girl", and the infamous tutu. Together.
Denim is a great answer 99.9% of the time.
I could go on about clothes forever but the truth is, there are exceptions to every rule. When you hire me, I'm yours for advice about things like use me. I can come over before our session and go through your closets with you. Heck, take me and my girls shopping with you. It's our favorite thing to do!

2. What to do during the shoot???? The short answer is, BE YOURSELF! :) I always laugh when I tell clients that, easier said than done, right? After pretty much every session, kids going nuts and bouncing off the walls, not "behaving", Mom says "You couldn't have possibly gotten anything good with them acting like this..." Those are ALWAYS the greatest sessions. Kid being themselves and being silly = great pictures. Families laughing together and cuddling = great pictures. Don't force it. Don't try to emulate a picture you've seen somewhere on my website or from your friend. Don't over-animate your face (you moms are soooo guilty of this!) Let it flow-be yourselves-THOSE are the pictures you will cherish. If you feel stressed or put on the spot, you will look stressed in the pictures. Take a deep breath and concentrate on your family. If you had a fight in the car on the way over, I promise it will show in the pictures. Give each other a big kiss and hug before the session and then continue the fight later! :) Also, if you are not a kissy/huggy family, don't try to be one just because you think you will also look unnatural. Just be yourselves, and trust me to figure out how to document your family dynamic effectively. This will give you the best results!

And now, I'm realizing, all this advice may be missing the point completely. Because the point is simplicity. Don't overthink it. Just be you, because that's what you are hiring me to capture.


Paige Kearin said...

Such awesome photos!

Rona's Home Page said...

Perfect timing! Our teenage son is having a photo shoot for our Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year, this week. They asked that I pick out several shirts for him to wear. With your tips I can now select shirts that he'll look great in, as well as, be comfortable in.
Thank you!