It’s fall, and this is when many folks start thinking about portraits. I often get questions like, “How do I pick a Family Portrait Photographer?” So, here ar:
“4 Quick Steps to pick a Family Portrait Photographer”
Step 1: Recommendations from friends can be a good way to go. But a caveat: just like people have different tastes and budgets for clothing and decor, they will also have wildly different styles in photography. Some people just want a photo that is one step above a snapshot. Others just want one really good family photo. Others want a high-end, boutique experience with a full gallery of WOW images. If you have a friend who has a similar taste and budget in interior decor and clothes, that can be a good indicator that you might like the photographer they use.
Step 2: Then check their website. Their photos should grab you, you should feel right away – “Wow! I love these!”
Step 3: Videos – I also always suggest that clients look at an entire photo session before booking their photographer. That way, they can see if the photographer can deliver a consistent and full gallery of WOW images. This means different angles, close up and wide-angle, each person alone, kids together, kids with parents, both posed and casual, different expressions, etc. That’s much more reliable than seeing just one or two good images.
On my video page, you’ll see about 30 different sessions, to give you an idea of my style. A few of them even have BTS (behind the scenes) and client interviews, which gives you even more of an idea on what it’s like to work with me. Of course, if you want the quick read, my testimonial page can provide that.
Step 4: Contact the photographer. Do they get back to you within one business day? Do they seem to know what they are doing? Do they ask lots of questions to make sure they understand what you are looking for, and you understand what they offer? Do they explain things clearly?
So, there you have it. A complicated process simplified to four key steps. I hope this helps you pick your family photographer. And whether you pick me, or someone else, please do have family photos taken this year! Every year your children change sooo much – these precious times deserve to be captured. Oh, and if you are doing holiday cards ….please please include you and your spouse/co-parent if you are together. Your friends love seeing your kids, but even more than that – they want to see YOU! I feel so passionately about this, I should probably do an entire blog post on “Make sure you appear on your holiday card!”
Here is a sample session taken in the Boulder mountains. I can’t wait to photograph this family again this weekend, this time with their newest family addition!
Session in Boulder, Colorado (with guest appearance by family dog)
Westminster Family Portraits Outdoors in the Boulder Mountains from N Lee on Vimeo.
*Your dogs are part of your family! And we often include them in portraits. There are a few steps to follow to make sure we get the best photos possible, and one of the key things is to have someone who can take over the dogs once we are done photographing them. A neighbor, a friend, etc. It’s also a good idea to have them groomed a couple days before, and bring them a little bit hungry so they will pay attention.
Today I’m updated a blog posting from a while back – its on how to select a great photographer for your family photos.
One of the things I specialize in is capturing your child’s and family’s true spirit and personality during portrait sessions. Not just stiff posed photos where you look nice. Sure, you want to look great, but you also want to say, “That portrait is so THEM! That’s exactly the expression I recognize.”
This isn’t easy, as your children, spouse, and perhaps even you are possibly meeting me for a the first time, probably at a new location, I’m a stranger behind big black camera, and we are asking them to do things they don’t usually do.
But, as you’ll see from my images and these kind words from super-happy portrait families, capturing stunning images of your children’s true spirit is one of the unique things I deliver to clients.
While I focus (pun intended!) on local baby, children and family portraits, these tips will apply to anyone, anywhere planning a professional portrait session with their children.
Here are my top 5 tips for parents looking to have authentic images of your child and family:
Tip 1) Select the right photographer. Look at their portfolio, and see if their style is what you are looking for. Do you prefer posed images? Or more lifestyle images, where people are relaxed and not looking at the camera? Do you prefer indoor images shot in a studio, or perhaps in your house? Or outdoor images with nature as your backdrop, or perhaps in urban settings? An experienced photographer will have galleries for each of the types of images they shoot, and should have enough images to give you a good idea of their style.
Tip 2) Budget accordingly. Expect to spend money on the right photographer, since talented photographers are in-demand and appropriately compensated for their work. Something to consider: of all the “optional” things you will spend money on this year (restaurants, movies and concerts, new clothes, spa and hair services, those impulse buys at Target and Costco), professional portraits will be one of the most long-lasting purchases, giving you and others the most joy for years to come.
Two Key Tasks: Find a photographer whose style you love and budget appropriately.
Tip 3) Share advance intel. Tell the photographer a few things about your child(ren) in advance – things they like to watch, read, do. That will help create a quick connection and conversation starting point. Similarly, tell your child about the exciting event you are going to do together. Build it up as something special and fun. With your child, visit the photographer’s About Me section of their website – show your children the photographer’s photo, and a bit about them. This will make your child more comfortable with the photographer. And this doesn’t just apply to young children – even teenagers are a bit more comfortable knowing about the photographer (even if they won’t admit it.)
Two Key Tasks: Tell the photographer two things your kid likes, and visit the photographer’s About Me page with your child.
Tip 4) Follow the photographer’s preparation suggestions. A experienced photographer will send you detailed instructions on how to prepare, which go beyond just selecting cute clothes for everyone. Invest time in reading them and doing all the ones that make sense for you and your family. As I tell my clients, proper preparations can take your photos from Amazing to Mind-Blowing.
Key Tasks: Review and follow the prep tips. And if all else fails, make sure your kids are well rested, super clean (noses, eyes, face, fingernails, etc.) and select clothes your kids are comfortable in.
Tip 5) Relax. Once you have done all your preparation work, let the photographer do their job. I know it’s tempting to step in and tell you kid what to do/not to do, but that usually creates a more stressed/less cooperative kid, not a more cooperative one. Professional Photographers have plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and sometimes even a roll of SmartiesTM.
Two Key Tasks: Show your child you are relaxed and having fun, and trust the photographer to get amazing images (Because you did follow tip #1, right? 😉 )
Capturing Your Child’s True Spirit and Personality in Vibrant Portraits – Colorado Family Photography
I just love videos for explaining concepts or doing product reviews. Here’s a quick explainer video for what it’s like to work with me:
Natascha Lee Studios 2016 Explainer Video from N Lee on Vimeo.
If you are looking for family portraits, that video gives you a super quick overview of me, the kind of photos I create, and my style.
Below are a few more key links that people like to have, when they are looking for a Denver family photographer and considering working with me.
Feel free to check them out. And, if you aren’t in the area looking for a Denver family photographer, ask your local photographer if they have similar links available for you to check out. In addition to pricing and their gallery, be sure to see a video or a sample of a full session – I always recommend seeing an entire session by your photographer. Because anyone can take one or two good photos, but you want a photographer that will deliver and entire gallery of great images for you to select from.
Not all photographers have a studio, but if they do have one, you’ll want to ask where it is and what it is like. Their studio is a great meeting place, you can see their product samples and it also provides a back up shooting location if your outdoor location gets rained/snowed out. (Although it can be very fun to shoot in the rain and snow!
1. What people say about working with me
2. My photo galleries, (one for each of my specialties so you can see my photography style)
3. Videos to see what an entire session would look like
4. Pricing Overview
5. A bit about me
6. My N Denver Studio Tour
Can I just brag on my clients a bit? They are sooooo sooo interesting. And kind, fun, and insanely photogenic! Northglenn Baby Photography
- Kamala, tell us a little bit about your and your family:
My name is Kamala and I live in Northglenn, Co with my husband and 2 sons, Zane and Xavier. I have a passion for making pottery, mostly functional ware, as well as practicing yoga. I also enjoy going on bike rides with my family and hiking. I love to travel and have been to many countries in the Middle East while teaching abroad in Bahrain. I would love to live in another country again and share that experience with my sons.
- You’ve had several photos sessions with Natascha Lee Studios – tell us about them?
I have had 5 photo sessions with Natascha and have to say that she is amazing; from maternity sessions with both my pregnancies, both of my newborns, and even my pottery. She never tires, goes out of her way to be creative with her shots and has an amazing perspective on possibilities she sees to capture the best moments. She is extremely patient and fun. She adds props and personal sacred/meaningful items to make the photos special.
- Why did you want professional photos of your baby (as opposed to “snapshots” you could take on your own)?
My heart always melts when I see cute newborn photos and I knew I wanted photos of that caliber taken of my own children. The photos I have taken on my own are nothing exciting and I don’t seem to have the “eye” for it. It takes someone special and talented to really be able to give you this gift. Natascha possesses this quality and demonstrates how important it really is to capture quality photos you can cherish forever.
- Was there anything you were nervous or worried about before the session?
I was worried about my babies not doing well or crying the whole time. Natascha has an amazing touch with newborns and knows just what they need to settle and pose : )
5. How did the actual photo session go?
The session went smoothly. I didn’t feel stressed and I felt like she really knew what to do and how to do it. My favorite part was seeing my baby dressed in a crocheted cocoon-like material all curled up and content.
How about the viewing session? – What did you think or feel when you saw your gallery of images?
The viewing sessions are always a tear-jerker. She puts the photos to music and takes you through the captured moments of the session. Viewing my little one like that really opens my heart and I feel the joy of being a mom.
8. Any advice to other families before their photo sessions?
Enjoy it and trust in Natascha to bring you the quality photos you are wanting. Come prepared with some personal items you may want to include in the photos that have meaning to you or baby. This adds special meaning to the portraits.
9.How did you feel about your the final images you selected?
I love looking at them as they remind me of how sweet and little my babies were and the times of having an just infant. This is important because it adds to the memories I have around my home.
BTW…..See that little curly blonde hair boy kissing his new brother? Click here to see a BTS (behind the scenes) image from his newborn shoot! Time flies!
Today I’m sharing some of my favorite photos from a Family Photo Session with Dogs last Fall – and this one included two adorable Shelties! As you’ll hear from Isabelle below, we have a tendency to procrastinate family photos. We really want them, but we keep pushing it back. Family photos are so precious. And, if you pick the right photographer, they will bring you so much joy! So, there is every reason to “just do it” now.
She also touches on one of the things many people are worried about – avoiding “fake smiles.” And, that’s one of my passions – to capture your family’s true emotions. That means real smiles! And, sessions with me are so FUN, natural and free-flowing, that we are sure to get some happy authentic images. You can click here to read what other families say about that.
Family Photo Session with Dogs
Isabelle, tell us a little bit about your and your family:
I work in elder care. In my free time love learning new things. Right now I’m learning hand lettering. I paper craft and make handmade greeting cards. The whole family enjoys role playing and table top games as well as video games.
For quite a while now we have been working toward a vacation in New Zealand.
What made you decide this was the time to do a photo session? Were you marking any special occasion, etc?
I have always wanted professional family photographs. We tend to procrastinate and the kids are growing so fast! It was time to just go ahead and do it.
Tell us about your dogs, who were included in the session:
Fuzzy Dice and Freya are two year old Sheltie siblings. Freya is the little one. She is very reserved and behaves much like a cat. Dice is a playful dog who loves belly rubs.
Was there anything you were nervous or worried about before the session?
It’s tough to get a genuine smile from the boys during planned photos. I thought we would have only a handful of good finished shots because of that. Natascha did an amazing job and gave us plenty of great finished shots to choose from.
What made you choose Natascha Lee Studios?
I searched the web for professional photographers near me and I was immediately drawn to the images on Natascha website. The locations she uses and her style were exactly what I was looking for.
How did the actual photo session go? What was your favorite part of your session? Any funny stories?
Our session was great. Natascha had a clear plan and was flexible at the same time. I loved how we moved from one location to the next, stopping to take advantage of a great interaction, light or place.
How about the viewing session? – What did you think or feel when you saw your gallery of images?
The viewing session was just awesome. Natascha made a video of our images that blew me away. My husband Fred was with me and I think the results surpassed his expectations as well.
What do you hope your children will say/feel/think years down the road when looking at these images?
I hope the boys feel the sense of connection we all have toward one another. I want them to feel the gratitude and delight I have when I see the images now.
Any advice to other families before their photo sessions?
Trust in Natascha’s skill and talent.
How did you feel/what did you think when received your final order/had your products delivered?
Receiving the order was awesome. I loved unwrapping each piece, framing and hanging them. I have a special photo of my teenage son that will go in the slideshow the school does of senior photos.
Some of the photos were meant for Christmas cards and gifts, but my husband posted them on FaceBook. So I already know that everyone loves them!
Thank you, Natascha!
I’m super excited to share this Client Story behind some Broomfield Fall Portraits with you! (Yes, I know it’s well past fall into winter now – but I just didn’t get a chance to share this story or these images before. It’s the December break that gave me time to pull all this together. Better late than never, right? 😉
Jade is a local Broomfield mother, and the owner and chef behind Jades Kitchen (Delicious food made with love.) It’s such a treat to get to order healthy, delicious homemade food for your family! And of course, it’s a bonus that you get to support a local mother-owned business. Well, perhaps the biggest bonus is that you don’t have to shop or cook or clean – it’s all done for you. LOVE that!
Jade had me do her family portraits and we had so much fun with her sweet calm family. Seriously, the most mellow, calm daughters ever! I wish I could bottle that and release it at my own house from time to time.
BTW, she also had me do Headshots with Personality(sm) to create an image bank (a full suite of marketing photos) for her business, website and marketing materials (more on that later!)
For today, I’m sharing her images from her beautiful Premium Family Portrait album, starting with the cover and the back. I think it’s great to see what a finished product looks like. Esp if you aren’t so much the video type, and you prefer to look @ “still images.”
One thing people often notice (and appreciate) is that I take a variety of photos that capture each of the unique relationships within your family: you and your spouse, your spouse and the kids, you and the kids, you and each kid individually, the kids together, the kids alone, etc.
I’m so excited to share these beautiful images with you.
- Tell us a little bit about you and your family?
I love my family. As a family we love the big and little things – taking a road trip to a new part of Colorado that we haven’t seen before, hiking in Boulder, playing board games and UNO, watching movies, eating ice cream at our favorite local spot – Sweet Cow, traveling to new places – two years ago we rented a house at the beach in Oregon (favorite vacation so far), eating dinner at Happy Sumo…
For myself, I love to be alone in my free time. It gives me time to think and re-energize. If I feel indulgent, I will curl up on the couch and read my book, or watch a movie. I do love coffee dates with friends, but I always have to make sure I carve out some time just for me.
The one thing I have always dreamed of doing…is an African Safari. It would be spectacular and frightening at the same time to see all those wild animals!
- What made you decide this was the time to do a family photo session?
Jillian, my first baby, was starting middle school, and Ella, my second baby, was about to turn 8. It was the perfect time to capture them, ages 7 & 10. I will always remember them in these photos – still believing in Santa Clause and the tooth fairy.
- Was there anything you were nervous or worried about before the session?
I wasn’t worried about a thing! Natascha is so professional and did such a great job at preparing us so we had an idea of what to expect.
- What made you choose Natascha Lee Studios?
I had seen a marketing brochure for her business, and the photos were absolutely stunning.
- How did the actual photo session go? What was your favorite part of your session?
The photo session was everything I hoped it would be! She did such an amazing job capturing the girls in the sweetest of moments. I love how authentic our pictures are, even when we are “posing.”
My favorite part of the session was watching Jorin, my husband, with the girls, and the girls tickling him on Natascha’s cue. He loves his girls so much.
- How about the viewing session? – What did you think or feel when you saw your gallery of images? What did your husband think?
Oh my goodness! I laughed when she offered me a tissue (Note from Natascha: I often say that “I make moms cry, because a lot of the time a mom will get teary-eyed when viewing her family’s photos for the first time). And then the slide show of my family portraits started, and I started to cry tears of love and joy.
Needless to say, the viewing session was very special. for all of us. Natascha is a true professional, making her clients (including the little ones) feel comfortable, and making the session incredibly special, with lots of laughter in between.
- What do you hope your children will say/feel/think years down the road when looking at these images?
That they were little, and sweet, and innocent, and believed in Santa Clause… Most importantly, that we are a close family and we love each other so much.
- Any advice to other families before their photo sessions?
I would honestly say to them: “Natascha is so talented, and does an amazing job at capturing the moment. She listens to your vision, and then perfects it on a whole new level. Her attention to detail is represented in her work. You can trust that your pictures will be perfect.”
- How did you feel/what did you think when received your final order/had your products delivered?
Absolute amazement. And we received so many compliments!
I especially appreciate all the details – from the pictures being wrapped in beautiful boxes with ribbon, the homemade tray holding our pictures, to the custom wooden USB – the presentation was beautiful.
Thank you Jade! It was my pleasure to create your family portraits!
Broomfield Family Photographer