I was inspired to write this post after photographing a few different families who got really involved in the collaborative process for their photography sessions and it truly hit home for me what a HUGE contribution it makes towards creating stunning images that can really mean something more than the average “family photos”.
But what does it mean to collaborate and why is it so important?
col·labo·rate (kə lab′ə rāt′) – to work together, esp. in some literary, artistic, or scientific undertaking
I’m VERY passionate about my work and strive to create images that satisfy my own artistic demands — that’s very important to me. However, what’s even more important to me is that I want to produce the images that YOU’VE been dreaming of. Whether it’s taking the family sledding in the snow, swimming in the backyard pool or going flying with Dad in his plane, I really, truly want you to be thrilled with the results from your photography session. So, what are some examples of how we can collaborate or work together?
1) For locations, tell me about a place that really MEANS something to you. It could be anywhere — it might be your bed where the family comes together and reads books every night or it may be the park where you and your honey would sneak off to when you were high-school sweethearts or it could be at the beach where your best memories as a family have been. You may not have a special location BUT, if you do — let’s use it! (I’m more than happy to suggest a place, too, if needed — I have a zillion spots filed away in my little brain.)
2) For clothing, I’ve noticed that it makes a really big difference if you start thinking about this LONG before the day of your session. When it comes to clothes, well, more is more. Give yourself a few options, and see what you feel BEAUTIFUL in and reflects who YOU are. Go shopping and buy three or four outrageously priced but I’ve always wanted them outfits and return the ones you don’t use (plus it’s a great excuse to buy some new clothes…hint, hint). Also, a good tip is to select the same colors for your clothes as you find in your home — that way, when you put the pictures up on the walls, they will match your interior decor. He, he – pretty slick, if I do say so myself! And feel free to ask me for suggestions if you’re drawing a blank — I can refer to you to lots of different sites for inspiration.
3) What ideas do YOU have for your session? Yes, I realize that you come to me for my ideas (of which I have many and I will always bring something unique and fresh to your session) BUT I’ve found over time that clients who bring their OWN ideas/concepts to the table, seem to enjoy the images that much more because it reflects their family’s personality more honestly and genuinely than if I put the whole concept together myself.
I think one of the biggest barriers to this is that people are too shy to tell me their ideas, but please don’t be — I will love them! For example, is there a theme that you adore such as “flying kites at the beach” or “picking apples at the orchard” or “having a picnic in the mountains”? If you do, let’s do it! Bring tear-outs from magazines or email me screen-shots from websites where you’ve seen images that made your heart do a flip.
I’m not personally a big fan of traditional props, but it’s okay to bring a few things to your photography session that will strengthen the theme. The family shown below brought baskets, apples, blankets and even some books with them to their session — how perfect!
I love hearing your ideas and it is incredibly INSPIRATIONAL when you open that little window into your lives for me to look through.
Last of all, if you don’t have any places you’d like to use, or any ideas for clothes, or any tear-outs from magazines, it’s OKAY. Call me and we can brainstorm together — it’s one of my favorite ways to pull ideas out of thin air.
Thanks for reading and tolerating my over-use of the caps lock button and if you’ve made it this far, you get a happy-face sticker! Leave me a comment and say “hi!”. I would love to hear from you.