I decided to gear this blog more toward photographers today after a chat I had in my messages today from yesterday’s post. I wanted to talk about shoots that our clients love, but that don’t really speak to our brands. Now, I am 100% for finding your niche, marketing to that niche, and only shooting what you love. I could recommend amazing courses to you on that subject if that’s the route you want to take. However, what about shoots like this one?
This girl here happens to be one of my best friends and has been for over a decade. However, she had grandparents in town. Particularly Grandma who lives in another country and hasn’t been able to hold her grandkids for almost two years because of the pandemic. What they wanted was what they couldn’t possibly get on their own – everyone smiling and looking at the camera with various family members. Here’s the thing – even I had to do like 6 head swaps to finish their gallery and make that happen so it was definitely a “hire someone else” job.
With a shoot like this I have three choices.
- I can outsource it because it’s not my brand. (Not going to happen because I love her and I don’t mind shooting off brand).
- I can shoot it and not post it. Also no because a huge part of our job in online presence so people know we exist and that would be a wasted opportunity for me (though sometimes I do that if it’s REALLY not my style and I couldn’t do option three below).
- I can give them what they want and take literally five mins (that’s all it took) to get what I want, too.
So with option three how do I get what I want? Well, getting the kids interacting with each other on the blanket (which I use to keep them all in one place) was not hard! Getting them focused on me was the hard part so I got lots of candid moments there. And a couple quick prompts like, “Everyone hug mom!” is all that’s needed to get more candid moments.
The last thing I did was pull out some tried and true games – parachute, run in a circle around the parents, etc. It takes literally only minutes, it’s a great way to reward the kids for their patience, and it wraps up the shoot nicely. Plus, it gets me what I really came for as a lifestyle shooter ;).
Okay so let’s talk about some practical examples of what this looks like. Here is the image they wanted of Grandpa:
And here is the image I also included:
Look at that cute braid in the far left girl’s hair. Look at the way dad is smiling at his kids actually enjoying this moment for a hot second vs. being stressed out. Look at the teenage attitude on the eldest girl’s face (she’s 6 by the way, haha!). Look at the soft look on the twin girl’s face looking out to camera right. She’s full of beans and super silly so I thought capturing this more serious side was important. And sure, three of them are giving the camera perfect smiles. I didn’t “make” this moment happen. I had to WORK for the first photo. This moment was just real life and needed to be included and THIS is what you would normally only see on my social media when I’m not doing a little behind-the-scenes like I am today.
Let’s look at another. Here is the image the parents would struggle to get on their own. Miraculously no head swaps happened in this photo haha!
And here is the image that jumped out to me. Three little sisters prim and proper, but with their brother watching them.
So there is room for both in my opinion. Usually with families I do ONE or TWO “Christmas card shots” max, but with extended families there’s just so many more combos to do. So they’re not for everyone. But if you want to keep the gigs for yourself, but also be true to your brand, this is my advice. Now, please enjoy a mix of posed and candid shots to wrap this up!
A few final tips. No, I did not take the fire truck away from the boy. It’s part of this stage of his life and it made him happy. I did however, make it grey in each photo vs. red.
There were other family members like Grandma and Auntie present, but I wasn’t going to blog the full, long shoot!
Yes, the youngest two are twins ;).