Expert Q/A: Family Photo Shoots

The Sweet Thymes Red Burlap DIY Banner was recently featured in Creative Image Photography’s December family photo shoot sessions with a hot cocoa booth prop. We simply loved the idea of a family photo with fun props and wanted to hear everything that goes into planning a shoot.  Jennifer Stewart, owner of Creative Image Photography sat down with us this week to chat about her talented work as a studio photographer and offer some tips on family photo shoots.

Jennifer, where are you from and how did you get into photography?

I am from a small town named Jones, located in SW Michigan.  Photography has always been a hobby of mine.  I took a couple of courses in college while studying for early childhood education but I never really considered running a business with it.  That is, until after I married and starting having kids.  Then it became the perfect opportunity for me to stay home with my children while generating an income with what I love to do.  It has truly been a blessing.

"Some of the best family photos are of families just being with each other as if the camera were never there."

Tell us a bit about your studio?

My studio is unique in that I provide more of a boutique experience.  I’m stocked well with assorted props for newborns on up.  I’m constantly updating backdrop selections.  I have a very handy husband who can make my “I have an idea” comment turn into amazing one of a kind pieces for my shoots.  I really do cater to those looking for more than the typical photo session.  When someone books a session with me I spend a lot of time visualizing and planning out that shoot in a way that will be unique just for them.

Could you give us some tips for a family photo?

Tip number 1, relax! If you have small children, getting tensed and upset with them does not help matters.  When they feel comfortable is when you’ll get the best expressions.  Let them take a few silly, goofy shots.  This helps loosen them up and allows a greater possibility of getting that perfect family portrait you’re wanting. 

Tip number 2, don’t pose everything.  Some of the best family photos are of families just being with each other as if the camera were never there.

"Portraits are family heirlooms."

How early do you a recommend a family do a photo shoot to be used for their Christmas card?

Christmas cards are something almost everyone likes to do!  All too often people wait too long to get the pictures done in time for them.  I, personally, start my Christmas sessions right after Thanksgiving.  You really want to have completed your shoot by the second week of December.  It takes a few days to have all your images edited and in hand to create those beautiful cards.  And then you still need to get them mailed out.  Don’t forget, the post office during the Holidays can be crazy.  Get those cards mailed out at least one week before Christmas to be sure your loved ones receive them on time.

How should one go about choosing their photographer?

There are plenty of people, everywhere, calling themselves photographers.  You probably know someone just down the road who says they can take your picture, no problem, and will do it for cheap.  But the old saying “you get what you pay for” really comes into play here.  As professionals we invest a LOT of time and money into our equipment, studios and trainings to better ourselves and provide amazing products and experiences for our clients.  So while there will always be someone who offers it cheaper…don’t let that be your determining factor.  Portraits are family heirlooms.  Schedule a consultation to meet the potential photographer, this is a great way to see what their personality is like, that's also pretty important.  Be sure to go through their image galleries on their website too.  Every photographer’s style is unique to them, choose the one whose images really speak to you.

And if you’re in my area, look me up!  I’d love to create something special for you!

December isn’t the only time for family photos. Summertime shoots are great for family newsletters, baby announcements, graduations, and engagements. Go ahead, book a session now with Jennifer for her lemonade stand shoots coming this summer. We just love the cute and creative vision of Creative Image Photography’s, don’t forget to like them on Facebook to see their most recent pictures.