This photoshoot took place on a 100+ degree day in late morning. The room we were in didn't face direct light, and there was no art on the walls, which made it look like a studio. The mom and I had discussed clothing in advance and I had recommended something comfortable and flowy, like a robe since we'd be in the bedroom anyway and it would look natural in that setting with a newborn. The mom chose a simple, cream nightgown with details that photographed nicely. I love when newborns are relaxed enough to have their arms out of a swaddle without moving... which is not common in babies when they are awake, so it's waiting until they fall asleep (usually after a feeding). This sweet boy didn't disappoint; we even got a sleepy smile shot!
This newborn session took place in the clients' home on a bright summer day. We did the whole photoshoot across from the largest windows in the house (which did not have any direct light entering the room). I staged the area, pulling everything away from the window. I also moved the couch across from the window to do the family shots there. Often toddlers can be scared of a brand new sibling (especially if baby is fussy), but this little girl was amazingly calm and compliant with most of my requests (which can be pretty rare)! I brought a few props along with me (which you will notice in the photos; rug & basket). I give general clothing advice on the phone, but usually have clients select their own clothing (v.s. having my own "closet" for them to choose from). My reasoning behind this, is so that my clients are representing themselves and their own authentic style and years down the road don't look at the photos and feel the clothing didn't represent them. This baby was pretty calm throughout the session, and that is also very rare-- I'm used taking breaks for feedings and crying, since that often comes with these tiny clients :). And without further ado; here are the little sweeties!
What is a family photoshoot like with a 1 year old? It's basically lots of on-the-go! Once little ones start running they often don't like to stay in your arms very long and will struggle to get done. Photos at this stage are much more about "doing"... picking up things to look at like rocks, sticks, leaves or looking at the scenery... and of course doing the repetitive playful things they love, lifting them up, tickling etc.
One-year-olds are often looking everywhere but at the camera and so the photoshoot itself is all about engaging them and their interests which usually will translate into good expressions (which only last for a fraction of a second so you gotta be ready!). This photoshoot was taken on a busy weekend at Meydenbauer Bay Park in Bellevue, WA
The photos featured in this blog are from a lifestyle maternity and family photoshoot set in my clients' home. The mom coordinated the shoot with me and had some specific requests. She wanted to get her entire family (2 boys, husband and their 2 dogs) together for some Lifestyle photos in their home and she wanted a silhouette shot of her bump. It was not her priority to get everyone smiling at the camera because she felt that might make things uncomfortable and she really wanted to keep it casual for her kids. As a photographer I am happy that Lifestyle photography is gaining popularity because it allows for a lot more creativity and for capturing moments + emotion. I also know that people can get nervous when being photographed (even kids), so while it's nice to get pictures of people smiling//that might not be realistic if your children or spouse "aren't into it".
So what do you do for a Lifestyle photoshoot? Well first of all, the priority is to interact with each other (not to look at the camera). It doesn't mean you can't look at the camera but my own rule is to not look unless I'm showing genuine emotion or 100% confident in looking at the camera. If my smile feels fake or frozen I stop smiling and look at my husband or kids and interact with them. This is what I direct my clients to do because I find people can't hold poses or smiles very long without looking stiff or uncomfortable. Movement and interaction with other people creates natural expressions and body language.
That all being said, I should also clarify that Lifestyle is not completely candid like Documentary photography. It does require posing and direction from the photographer to the subjects to set up and light the "scene" for the image(s). And then of course participation from the subjects to interact with one another. This is where a lot of people get hung up. What do I do? They might think they need to follow the photographer's exact orders or they will fail. But really, there is no failing (you are the actor playing yourself, the subject). The best stuff usually comes from a combination of my direction and the subject improvising and just being theirselves. So the truth of the matter is just not to take yourself too seriously so that you can get relaxed enough to take natural photos. At first it might feel funny or fake, like “acting” to pretend the camera is not there...but in order to GET emotion you have to be open to GIVING it first. And the ball needs to get rolling somewhere! I can give you general guidance and direction on how to interact, but ultimately the more it's "you" the more you'll be in your element. It's best to start choosing some kind of interaction or location that is natural for you and your family members, like sitting on the couch with your dog. Then be how you want to look in your head and you will become that.
Of course that can be easier said than done when people are stressed or just don't know how they want to look or be. That's ok just do your best! It might sound silly but a good way to understand how you want to look in photos is for you to start taking selfies (not to share with anyone but yourself) and reviewing them regularly to find what you like or don't like. It will also help you to understand how you look day-to-day in different light... which is a very good starting point in order to get more photos that you like of yourself! This is something I've done for myself and it has worked for me. I also suggest wearing clothing that does not reveal anything you want to hide because it will show in the photos. Sometimes this can be difficult to identify because we don't see ourselves from all the angles other people do, so you actually have to study yourself in the mirror in different lighting. I like discussing wardrobe choices with my clients and will happily talk you through options and/or provide feedback. Lastly, I want to empower you to be yourself during our photoshoot so please share anything you think you want to do or that will make you comfortable. This is a joint effort to make some art together and let’s fully embrace it and plan our session!
Here is some inspiration from a recent maternity in-home family session. Enjoy!
It almost seems like deja-vu to when two people, who just seem "right" for each other, get together. Omar met his match, and even though I have known her a short time, it's like things are just as they should be... It seems obvious that they should be together (and like they already have been for many years). I just love it when that happens, and I'm so happy for them both! Many congrats to these two beautiful people!