Whenever you book a family portrait session with me through my online calendar, I ask that you answer a few questions to help me prepare for the photo session. The only question that is not optional is the names and ages of the people being photographed (because I study the names in advance). I understand that my clients are very busy, so if you don’t have time to give me a detailed description of little Sally’s likes and dislikes, that’s OK. It’s great for me to know that Johnny loves Dinosaurs or Ann’s favorite TV show is Paw Patrol. Those things help me to have conversation starters with the children, and sometimes help to get a genuine smile. But if you don’t have time to put that, it’s OK…I’ll wing it.
I really love knowing why the photo session is important to you. I remember one family who told me about the rough year they’d each had individually, but that they wanted this photo session to show how they were always there for each other in the rough times and the good. I don’t know why knowing these things helps me with a session, but somehow they do. I guess I feel more connected to the family. I’ve always loved the quote, “I don’t shoot what it looks like…I shoot how it feels.” The more I know going into a session, the easier it is to capture the feelings.
But again, I can get away with not knowing these things if you don’t have time to fill out a detailed survey. But there is one thing that I absolutely NEED to know before your family session.
If you have a child who is very shy, I absolutely need to know this in advance. The reason is that when I read that your child is shy, I automatically know I need to approach her differently. While her sister is chatting my head of about school, and vacations, and puppies, I approach her cautiously, quietly, trying not to overwhelm her. I’ll let her get use to me before I really approach her at all. Then I’ll maybe ask her a few quiet questions and feel her out. I might let her see my camera…or whatever it feels like it might take to help her feel more comfortable. I have all of this in my head before the session, because you’ve told me before hand what your little one needs. It didn’t take much to tell me this…just a few words, but it makes all the difference in the world because if I approach her the wrong way, she could get overwhelmed and shut down. And that’s definitely not what I want.
So take a look at the pictures below. Can you tell which one is the shy sister? No? Good.
And I just want to say that all three of these little girls were amazing. I had so much fun with them. They are totally my happy place. So much energy, and wonder and joy. They were just perfect.