“Who takes the photographer’s family photos?” A question I get asked from time to time. Usually I dream up the concept and either set up my camera on a tripod, or get a friend to push the button for us. But, every couple years, I put myself in my clients shoes and hire a photographer. A couple months ago, I came home from shooting another family’s session that had me like, “I want somebody to capture my family like this.” And so it began… the hunt for the photographer to take the photographer’s family photos.
I knew I wanted beach photos – we have raised our family here in San Diego and have limited time before our oldest son goes off to college (gulp!). Plus, we haven’t had beach photos taken in about 10 years! The first thing I needed to do was to find just the right photographer. I was looking for a specific style, aesthetic and posing. After a half hour of Google searching, I found the photographer! There was consistency in her style, regular posting on social media (so I can see current shoots and that s/he is working regularly) and positive client reviews. I called her (not emailed) to make sure we jived and had her send me information.
Step 2: Get on her crazy schedule given my crazy schedule. After a little back and forth, we found a date that worked, I signed her agreement and paid my session fee. I also completed her pre-session questionnaire so we were on the same page about what we wanted.
Step 3: Find our clothing. This brings me solidarity with my clients. Wardrobe is challenging…in the “I want this look/he doesn’t want to wear that” vein. I had a dress I’ve wanted to be photographed in for YEARS, so that’s where I started. I shopped online (Macy’s) for the rest of the family, received the clothes, had everybody put on their clothes to make sure they fit and then stood next to each other looking in the mirror to make sure we didn’t need to make any changes. Clothing was done after one minor modification.
The week of the shoot: get haircuts/color and check the weather forecast. Rain predicted? I hope it’s in the morning because I love a post-rain sunset!
Day of: No rain happy dance, replace royal blue toenail polish with coral and watch YouTube tutorial on make-up application for brown eyes. Tell the family to be ready 30 minutes prior to the intended departure and make sure they have a large lunch! Next step, be ready to relinquish. See, I’m sort of a control freak. But, I really was looking forward to just being a mom, going with her family to take photos. And, it didn’t take long to embrace that – it felt soooo good to walk out the door to our shoot and put all my trust in the photographer I had selected. But before we headed out the door…
I have a high school junior who was out late the night before playing a football game, a hormonal middle school boy and a husband with a pulled neck muscle. A recipe for disaster. I’m not ashamed to admit, I caffeinated one, sugared up the other and handed a small (key word: small) cocktail to the third before we headed out the door. It made our time together so. much. more. enjoyable!
The shoot: We let the photographer guide us where she wanted to go and pose us how she wanted. She asked if there was anything else we wanted so we made sure we captured everything while we were on the beach and looking fine! Before we knew it, the shoot was over, we were shaking sand off our feet and headed out to dinner.
A couple weeks later, my gallery arrived and it captured exactly what I had hoped for – beautiful portraits of my family just the way we are! In the end, I invested approximately $1500 in the photo shoot, digital images, three 16×24 prints (that are currently displayed on my family room wall), a professional photo album (on my coffee table) and holiday cards. It was worth every penny and every precious moment!