What to expect at a portrait session (Part 1 of a 3 part series)

Family photo - Eugene, Oregon

Family photo – Eugene, Oregon

Before the Session

It is always advisable to meet with your chosen portrait photographer before your session for a consultation. Not only does this let you get comfortable with your photographer, but also allows you both to discuss what you are looking for in your portraits. Many people know that portraits, especially family portraits, are important and good to have, but they do not think beyond that. There are several elements to be considered before the session can begin.

Type of Photography:

The first thing to consider is what type of portrait photography you want. There are a few different kinds: traditionally posed, candid or lifestyle, artistically posed, and dramatically posed. Whichever of these photography themes you choose will have an influence on all of the other elements of the session.

Clothing and Accessories:

The next thing to consider is what to wear. This is not only dependent on what looks good on you, but also on the backgrounds you choose or that your photographer has and what you wish your photographs to look like. Most photographers will have a standard black, white, and cream background, as well as a few others. If you are outdoors in the green lush valley, you probably don’t want to be wearing green as you will blend in to your surroundings. You should discuss with your photographer what color combinations will go well with the type of photography you want.

Props and arrangements/must have list:

Finally, spend some time considering arrangements of subjects. For a single person getting portraits, this is more of considering any props you would like to have. Many people choose musical instruments or special gear/outfits. For a family or multiple families getting portraits, consideration should be given to groups. For example, for a family there are many different groupings you could have. In addition to a photo of everyone, there can be a picture of the parents only, the children as a group, and singles of each child. For multiple families, there are so many combinations it is important to consider them before you get into the session.

All of these things must be considered before a portrait session can begin, and if you wait until the day of the session, these decisions can cut into your session time. We offer a free consultation prior to the session to take care of these details without costing you session time. Even if you choose to take care of these details on the day of your session, be sure to consider them ahead of time as this will make the process faster and give you more time in front of the camera. After all, that is why you are there!

Next article…During the Session

A comparison of photography styles. Which style is right for me?

Couple Kissing in vineyard

Which photographic style is your favorite?

In several of the last few articles posted, I have discussed the different styles of portrait photography without really describing what those styles are. I hope this article will shed some light on the subject (pun intended) and help you decide which style or combination of styles most fits you.

Traditional studio posed

When most people think of portrait photography, this is the style they are thinking of. This is where you go into a studio, have a solid or specialty backdrop, everyone is positioned around one family member (usually mom) and you all smile towards the camera. Although it has evolved some over the past century as photographic equipment has gotten better, for the most part this has become the staple of portrait photography and is consistent over different types of portraits (family, individual, business, etc.). There are some things which can be added into these types of photos which will spice them up but still keep the essentially a traditional studio shot. Some of these things include instruments, sports equipment, toys for children, or your family pet. As for myself, I had to click here to get some special toys to suit the paraphernalia in the frame. This type of portraiture is still the most common, where you are posed by the photographer and they take the portrait of all of you looking at the camera.

Child in swing, portrait from Photos by Orion

Lifestyle photography is great for kids and families!

Lifestyle/Candid

Lifestyle and candid photographers are very common now. While they are not the same, they share many similar traits. Lifestyle photographers typically will take a subject, put them in an environment and will ask for eye contact while get photos in that setting. For example, when I do outdoor portraits with children I will usually employ a combination of posed and lifestyle photography. I try to take the child to a local park, will get some posed photography in the beginning in the lush greens, then will end at a playground where I only ask the child to look at me and smile when I ask for it. Otherwise I just follow the child around and capture photos of them doing what they love to do, play.

Candid photography is similar, except that there is no asking for eye contact. A candid photographer would take the child to the playground and get photos of them playing on the equipment, but would not get too many photos of the child looking at the camera.

Photojournalistic

The photojournalistic style has been greatly romanticized over the last 5 years or so. A true photojournalistic style is similar to lifestyle photography, but with a black and white touch and a “did our photographer even show up” feel. When you hire a photojournalist to document your wedding, their job is to observe without interference. If they have done their job correctly, you should see them when they arrive and when they leave, but not really notice them throughout the day. True Photojournalists do not ask you to look at the camera, do not edit much beyond conversion to black and white (besides maybe some contrast adjustments), and are excellent storytellers. You should be cautious to really get a good look at the work of photographers stating they are photojournalists, as it is rare to get a skilled photojournalist. There are many photographers who claim to be photojournalist but are really candid/lifestyle photographers. Photojournalistic wedding photography, is both an acquired taste and a hard skill to master, so if this style really speaks to you be prepared to pay more for a skilled photojournalist.

Artistically desaturated bride by Photos By Orion

Artistic portraits can add a little class to your portraits.

Artistic

Artistic portraits are done with some specialty settings. It can either be your outfits, such as Victorian or western dress, lighting, such as all black except for your face, or it can be specialty tones such as sepia or selective desaturation. Any of these elements, and many others, can create an artistic feel to a photography session. All photographers are artists, but each photographer will develop their own style. This is again why it is important to research your photographer and find one whose style you like.

The importance of a current family photo

Like you, and most people I would assume, I like having family portraits around and know that they play an important role over a lifetime. You would think that as a photographer that I would have at least a new portrait every year, but like everyone else, I too have failed to make the time in the past. Sadly, life rarely gives us the time to even think about needing a new portrait, let alone being able to call around to photographers, schedule a session, and get one taken.

There are many reasons to get family portraits done: they chronicle the extremely fast growth of our beloved children, they give us something to put on our Christmas cards, and as I and my extended family recently found out, they give us a way to look back and remember.

This month, my uncle who was in his late 50s passed suddenly from something that his doctors had missed even a couple days before his passing. He left behind a wife and 5 daughters as well as 3 siblings and numerous nieces and nephews. As I was preparing a slideshow presentation for showing at his funeral, I was saddened to see how few of pictures we had of him. Now my uncle was not the type of person who liked to be in front of a camera, so it wasn’t a total surprise that the number was less than his age, but what caused some unnecessary pain for his family was that he had no pictures from when he was with his ex-wife and his two oldest daughters. Even his daughters did not have many photos of them with their father. I was unable to represent them in the slideshow and it seemed unfair and silly that he did not take one hour of his time each year to get photos of himself with his family. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, but for so many of us we just don’t give it a second thought as we go through our lives.

So remember, don’t get pictures for yourself, get family portraits for your children and grandchildren. Life is so unpredictable that you never know what situations a fresh family portrait will come in handy. And if nothing else, it gives you the satisfaction of knowing your loved ones will always be able to remember you. You are special and unique and should exist in photos, even if only for your loved ones.

In Loving Memory of Richard J. Webber, Jr. May 1952 – March 2010

Family Portrait - Eugene, Oregon

Family Portrait – Eugene, Oregon

Girl with guitar

Welcome to the new PBO and SYP blog thanks to Kratom

 Welcome to the new PBO and SYP blog. We are integrating both blogs in order to bring you more informative and inspiring posts. I don’t think that we could have do this without the help of kratom, they (besides their sponsor) helped me to get trough tough times when I was fighting anxiety, which started whit me having 2 blogs. I learn that kratom is the best option out there for people that really wants to feel better. You can go to kratommasters.com for more details about kratom.

  I took the decision of having only 1 blog after realizing how tiring having two blogs is, I was starting to feel a bit anxious, it wasn’t that bad thanks to kratom and thanks to their low prices compared with any other out there. Good thing my mom lent me her amazon weighted blanket for a few nights to get some sleep. Did you know that those blankets have improve the quality of  sleeping by managing the symptoms of insomnia as a result of anxiety, stress or depression? Amazing, right? Just click on the link to get all the details.

Over the next few months we will be converting our old posts to keep all those great posts you love, like copyrights vs. print rights, how to prepare for a family photo session, and great places to get photos around the Willamette Valley, as well as new posts on topics like “What rights do I have when I purchase a CD from my photographer” and more!

Please continue to enjoy all the articles we have to offer!

Girl with guitar

Portraits should reflect you and what you love!