Mostly because it’s a lot less stressful that trying to do it in a studio. Children run, they don’t sit still, especially young children and particularly preschool age child will generally ignore any direction you try to give. So I prefer to build the shoot around them and what they are doing, I go with the flow. Less stress for the parents and a more family friendly experience. I don’t ignore good lighting techniques – it is possible and easier to achieve studio quality lighting on location just by moving myself to take advantage of natural light sources, than to direct the child who will invariable want to do something else anyway.
It’s not as dramatic as flashes firing, in fact it doesn’t look much at all – as one mother said to me, but she was amazed and thrilled with the results.
For me a family photo session isn’t about one photograph that will hang on the living room wall. I create a collection of photographs that capture memories. That may sound like a sales pitch, but I want to create photography that capture a childhood so that when they older they can reminisce about their favourite climbing tree, when Daddy had hair … you know that sort of thing. It’s a piece of social history and a piece of family history – imagine being able to show your grandchildren the sort of thing you did when you where their age?
This is where I believe location/natural light photography has the edge on studio photography which tends to favour formal photographs of children or the family and doesn’t generally capture anything unique to that family – like the Tree house in the garden that Dad and Granddad built together.
Ok the picture of your children making mud pies may not make it onto the living room wall, but it’s a great picture for the album. And portrait albums are becoming a real trend in family photography for a good reason, as they tell your story of family life for you at a certain point.
For me a good family location shoot captures informal and informal images of family life, and I like to spend some time with you, so expect to give up a morning. There will be many moods; quiet times, boisterous times, reflective times and funny times. I capture all of those. Expect to start early – straight after breakfast so everyone is fresh and the light is soft.
And I like a good old cup of tea with milk, no sugar before I start!
For more information please visit my main child and family portrait photography website.