How to choose family portraits.
This is a big question and one that should not be approached lightly.
I would say that wouldn't I?
We take a lot of images during your shoot, like any professional shoot an enormous amount is shot, why?
The simple answer is that the whole process is one of refinement, we shoot a lot in order to be sure we get what we want, then we edit the many images down to what we consider to be the Crème de la Crème.
A bit like shooting a movie, the director wants a number of takes of each scene to choose from.
Say we start with 500 images, we begin by getting rid of all those images nobody wants to see, then we group the remaining images into similar type groups and go through those groups again comparing and losing those images that we consider are not strong enough to survive into the final edit.
Whilst doing this we ask ourselves a number of questions, like:
Do I like this?
Will they like this?
I hate this but they may like this?
I love this but they will probably hate it, keep it?
Is this a strong picture?
Does this make a great sequence (more about sequences later)
Ask yourself this question about every picture and it's exhausting, these decisions need to be made at the speed of light otherwise the edit could take quite considerably longer than the habitual 2 hours, more like 4 hours.
We look for sequences in what we shoot, when a child finds something funny, similar to a written story, there tends to be a beginning, middle and an end.
Looking at a sequence of a child listening to our photographer as they speak to them, take this as an example:
"Lucy please sit up straight look at me with a very serious look and don't under any circumstances smile or laugh"
As you can imagine this is like a red rag to a bull, Lucy will for a moment maintain a stoic look but will struggle to keep to the instruction, especially as the photographer begins to make some very silly noises from behind the camera.
Eventually, her face will crack and she will burst into laughter throwing her head back with joy.
There you have a sequence, a sequence of at least six pictures that you could caption 'Joy' this is real laughter not manufactured, these sequential pictures make extraordinary studies of little people, you begin with the stoic followed by the attempt to not laugh then the biting of the bottom lip then the creasing of the nose to the fully fledged lit up face of laughter.
The same goes for choosing the type of picture you are after and what space you have at home to hang such images.
I am at pains to tell people about how we are all conditioned to go for the smiley pictures from the year dot, 'say cheese' they say, 'Smile' they say as we toddle about as children, we grow up with this, I remember having very severe disagreements about my partner tearing up pictures of my children when they looked even slightly serious, I was infuriated.
Just tell me please how many portraits at the National Portrait Gallery exist of people smiling? Very few…
The smile is a beautiful thing and can inspire great happiness when looking at it in a child, especially when it is your own child.
But, look again at all those thoughtful images of your child, look at that subtlety that exists in the expression, but, really look , I tell our customers to look again, I will show them two images that to a quick glance will be the same images but spend a little time look at the eyes the mouth the way the head is held and you will see the telling differences that make for the better picture.
It really can be fractional differences that make a picture.
When you are at the viewing take your time, please allow yourself to be taken by these pictures and make an attempt to understand what it is I would dearly like for you to see as I do.
The more contemplative images have many more layers and depth to them, the aim, of course, is for you to put a picture on the wall that you will get enjoyment from for many years to come.
I can only compare this to my experience, I now see these expressions on my own children (now adults) the very same ones that I saw at the age of six months still there alive and well at the age of 29 years, how amazing is that, how heartwarming to know that such beautiful things remain as part of our makeup forever.
Please come to us for your pictures but leave with something extraordinary, we will show you at least a hundred great pictures and we will help you with our knowledge and expertise to find those images that will sit on your walls as pure art, we don't do schmalz or candy covered garbage here, what you get is hard hitting emotive stuff, as far as I am aware you won't get it anywhere else.