Saturday, November 24, 2012

How Do We Do It? - Part 2

Hi there! Just following up from THIS POST regarding our family photos!

Today I am going to discuss location, photographers, posing and editing!

FOUR: Location, Location, LOCATION!

This years photo shoot location didn't turn out the way we planned whatsoever, but I'll get into that in a minute.

Finding a location might be the most difficult of all. You need an interesting place, with good light and permission to do it there. And sometimes, you're in public. For two of our earlier photoshoots, the location set the tone more than a theme. Our first "fun" photo shoot was in 2008 at the "new" shopping center, Town Square!

Fun with light pole and even a trash can!
Sometimes we had to work around...65% off signs! We edited it out in other images. 
We returned for my princess photo shoot a year later!

In 2010, we ventured out to Nelson, NV. There we payed a $25 fee which I felt was very fair. And though there were a number of other shoots going on and people, it wasn't quite as crazy as a public shopping center.

Here, the location was often the star of the show!

You'll see a bunch more from Nelson under posing. 

For 2011, we had a bunch of props, so we just headed out Apex to the desert and set up! We ended up under some high power lines which was not awesome...I kept feeling the electricity! It was bizarre, but made for some great photos!

This year, we drove around for 2 days looking for a location! We headed up to Mt Charleston first. Dead and boring! And cold. Brr! We usually do pictures a little earlier in the year. Then we drove to the Red Rock area and looked around a lot! Nothing we loved. We had to get back to pick up kids from school. The next day we went back. The location we loved at Calico Basin was off limits. Poop! Then we found another place off the road and we decided that was it...until our brother in law wasn't able to let us use his truck at the last minute. Double poop! We tried to figure out another truck, but it wasn't happening. So we decided just to set up in our backyard and do a lot of editing. Which was nice to not have to travel in hair and makeup and wardrobe, but man...the editing....oy!

Ultimately, when it comes to location, do your research and scout around. And, be willing to go with the flow. Think about the people in your family - a bathroom nearby would be good for small children. I also bring water and snacks when we're on location. Also think about lighting and time of day - this is where your photographer comes in handy. We should have started our Mad Tea Party shoot an hour earlier - we ran out of light and didn't do some of the photos we had wanted. 

Also, we like outdoor locations because the lighting is just the best.

FIVE - Photographer

Having the right photographer is ideal. We're lucky that my husbands sister Sheree is a great photographer! She really works with us a listens to what we want, but uses her editing eye to get the best angles and lighting. We pretty much pose ourselves, which is discussed in the next section, but she's our eye to make sure everyone is seen and framed correctly! Check her out! 

SIX - Posing

This is possibly the hardest thing to conquer. We are very fortunate in that our kids love to take photos and are very outgoing. Chloe and Piper love Americas Next Top Model and Project Runway, so they really "try" to pose and SMYZE! Even Ryder knows how to rock it and Lola - well, she still just has fun. We make it like a holiday and keep them involved in the whole process - and keep in mind their personalities as we dress them. Making them comfortable really helps!

When it comes to posing, think of levels and dimensions. And interest. Not everyone has to be together. Olan Mills clumps - BORING!

Bathtubs, some sitting, some standing - even Ryder's out in the corner. I'm holding Lola's hand to keep her still. I think it really works!
Not every photo has to be smiling or looking at the camera! This one is one of my all time favorites! It's a simple line up with an interesting background. We aren't all looking at the camera. And Lola's just being a baby! 

I love the little things about this one - my red shoes, Chloe hodling her skirt, Piper's distant stare, Steve and I holding hands, Lola just being a baby...yes. My favorite. It's not too posed or contrived.
We repeated the lineup a bit this year...
Love this one, too! The pairings make this interesting! And we had no idea the kids were doing all that on their own.
Sometimes it's great when they look like a candid moment...because they kinda are! I love it when Sheree tells us to just interact and then catches a moment. 

Sheree told us at to "laugh" at Ryder...and it worked!
Caught in a laugh. I LOVE this photo.

Movement is FANTASTIC! 

Just walking over the bridge! It's OK that we aren't looking at the camera...I like the candid moment.
Use your environment! We've sat on cars, bathtubs, curbs - I love this one just leaning up against the wall! 

Again, TOTALLY cool that we aren't all looking at the camera. Get a variety! And we always tell the kids if we're "serious" or "smiling" so they know. Of course, Lola usually just smiles, but it's endearing because she's the youngest!

Even this "regular" photo is interesting because of the levels and groupings.

3 - 2 - 1 groupings! And levels. And a color palette! And something interesting in the background. Not boring at all!

One last trick - my husband will often put together a posing guide - he'll search the internet for interesting poses and makes a collage. He uses these when he's posing cast photos a lot - because he does really crazy cast photos... but they help the actor/model/family member know what to do.

Here's one for fun as an inspiration! 

My best advice is to get your family involved, have fun, and keep the atmosphere light. And keep it simpler if your kids are younger. Gauge your own family and be able to go with the flow! Really, we have a BLAST doing our photos, and I think it shows.

SEVEN: Editing

This is another area we are lucky to do ourselves. We've been working with photoshop for years, so we edit our own photos. Sheree loves that, too, because it takes HOURS to edit photos! Most of the time it's just playing with exposure and setting and then adding fun effects! But when we add in circus backgrounds:

it becomes a really arduous process.

This one, the first from our shoot, took 2 hours. For ONE PHOTO! Mostly because we had to edit out the background, which meant painstakingly cutting out the entire family and all of the tables and props! Here's the process....

The raw, unedited original.
Seriously. 90 minutes just for Steve to cut it out! And then he plays with color, exposure...etc.

Select a background...
Put them together!

And sometimes we have several variations of one this!




The "bus" photo underwent quite and edit, too!

Editing makes a good picture GREAT! Your photographer should be a great editor as well. But if you want extra fancy stuff, plan on paying an extra fancy amount! Again, it's a lot of work. But so worth it for those fun family photos!

Feel free to ask me any questions.  And enjoy!

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