know this is hard to believe, but this little lady is my ten year old
daughter, who hates getting her photos done. She is also my
favourite model to photograph. So when she sees me getting out
the camera and I utter those terrible, terrible words "Hey Tully, can
you model for me?", it's like I've asked her to kill her first born
child, or eat mushrooms. Raw. For breakfast.
the worst mother in the entire world. I make her dress in
beautiful clothes, give her makeovers and take the most amazing photos
of her that she will no doubt love in years to come. What a
horrible, wicked mother. Quick! Someone call DOCS!
all seriousness though, when was the last time you took a beautiful
portrait of your own child? If you're a busy portrait and/or
wedding photographer like me, sometimes your own family takes a back
seat when it comes to family portraits. It's like the painter who
always has a half painted house, or the builder who lives in an
unfinished home. Taking care of clients and their needs quite
often comes before your own family.
year, I have made a concerted effort to photograph my family more.
Before I took my own family's portrait in early June, the last
time we had a photo together was in 2009, which I am very ashamed to
admit! In a quickly growing family that missing a whole lot of
I got them all dressed up in colour co-ordinating clothes, made them
brush their hair (sort of) and got our beloved dog Marley involved too.
At this stage I should probably mention that he hates getting his
photo done even more than Tully does. Anyhow, I am delighted with
I set up the off camera lighting, placed my remote triggers onto my camera and flash,
put the troops into their positions and with a click of a button
(carefully hidden behind hubby's back)we managed to smile and look like
a family that loves each other 100% of the time! Please don't ask
me how we managed to get Marley to look at the camera for this one!
I actually took several before I got in the shot just in case I
had to photoshop Marley's head on because I thought he's be look
anywhere but the camera! Maybe I just don't give the poor pooch
then there's that other dilemma: teenage sons. Yeah, they usually hate
photos more than their little sisters. I had to think outside the
box for Torin's portrait; do something cool, a little hip (can you
still use the word "hip" or it that not cool?).
the top of our 160 acre property* there is a tree in the middle of a
field that I have been wanting to photograph for so long, especially
since it is quite often surrounded by fog first thing in the morning.
Recently, I had my chance, when I woke up and found our farm completely
engulfed in a thick mist. I have to thank Marco my husband here,
for packing up my mountains of photography gear, plus Torin and his
saxophone and driving us up the hill for a quick shoot (otherwise known
as "appeasing the wife").
And this is what I got:
if I was a teenage boy I would be over the moon with this shot.
The only photos I have of myself as a teenager are ones with a
tragic permed hairstyle (I use the term "style" very loosely) and
clothing reeking of 1988 (for examples google the term "TV Show
Neighbours 1988" and you will get the idea).
I digress. I just wanted to make the blog entry to encourage you all to
get out your cameras and take photos of your babies before they grow up
and force feed mushrooms to their own children. How quickly they
grow... your family will be grown and gone to live their own lives
before you know it. Waiting for the perfect time (when I lose
weight, when my hair is longer, when we have a nicer house) is wasting
valuable time. There is never the perfect moment other than NOW.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed unfortunately.
So! Without further ado, here are my tips for getting your family portraits:
- Don't give your family much notice. Nope. Nope. And nope.
Tell them the afternoon you are going to do it. Family members
who are a little hestitant to get their photos done have a disitinct
knack for finding something more important to do instead, like going
out with friends or playing computer games (I'm looking squarely at
you, teenage son!). Obviously give them enough time to shower and look
respectable though. But not enough time to escape out open windows.
(Note: locking windows and doors and disposing of keys is perfectly
- Select their clothes for them. Oh yes. If I left
the clothing choices up to my husband, we'd all be dressed in yellow
and purple and brown with socks and sandals on our feet. Clothing
choices can really hinder or help you when it comes to photography. So,
choose three colours (like red, white and blue) and mix and match!
Don't do the whole "white t-shirt and blue jeans thing" as that
can look terribly kitschy. Instead, for example, have female
member wear a cute red dress with a denim jacket, a male wear denim
jeans and a white shirt, another wear white jeans and a red shirt etc.
Things to avoid are t-shirts with writing on them and avoid
showing large expanses of bare skin. Both of these can be very
- Choose a location which is not too distracting. Simple is best; a bare field, a river bank, the beach...
Too many things happening in the background can cause your photos to
look too busy and really take away from what you are hoping to achieve:
a nice simple family portrait.
fun! Be cheeky, pinch
your family's bottom just as you set off your remote trigger or just as
the timer's about to go off. Be subtle about it though!It'll make them
naturally smile. Especially your partner. Trust me.
- If all the above fails: call me. I'm a professional :-)
those of you who are interested, our farm is in Meerschaum Vale, a tiny
community about an hour from Byron Bay. It is surrounded by the
local Hinterland and is mostly gorgeous, green farmland. I often
utilise our farm for family portrait sessions and wedding photography.