Psychological Benefits of Family Photography

Who can become a family photographer

Modern commercial photography has a very established status of a wedding photographer. I’m talking about the whole subculture with awards, events, and other fruits of life. But underneath it all lies a very tricky question. Let me ask you, does a wedding photographer take pictures of a family? Well, of course! In that case, what is the difference between wedding and family photographer? The answer is not as obvious as it seems. 

Weddings have a massive industry built around it for a while now. As a photographer, you make family pictures during this big event; let us keep this in mind for later. Overall, you have a very distinctive objective – you have to capture every significant moment that is a part of this event. As a result, your clients get to see their happiest and the most important day of life from every possible angle. Pictures of decor, catering, friends and family members and pictures of various planned entertainment are all part of one big event. This is not an ordinary day, isn’t it? 

The main objective for a family photographer is quite the opposite: you have to make an ordinary day to feel like an event. Family photoshoot tells a story about an ordinary day in a family’s life, but also this day has to have one and only feel to it. I want every family I worked with to look through photographs and see not just one day, but every day of life they have spent together. In a perfect world, I would want them to see the real relationship inside the family.

Clearly, everyone can become a family photographer, who truly believes in the core principle of the profession – family values. 

Things you bear in mind during a family photoshoot

You have to consider that the world of a family is a restricted area that doesn’t like trespassers. Not everyone is open enough to share their family affairs or problems even with close friends or relatives, much less with a photographer. So I clearly understand my role and I try to be as sensitive as possible and I never interfere with family’s way of life or everyday chores.

Sometimes I think about a photoshoot as a trial when family comes to me the first time around because every next photoshoot is a completely different experience. Usually, during the first photoshoot, any family opens up just enough for you to work with them. But for the second photoshoot, every family I worked with open up big time, and the flow of emotions, energy, and the depth of subtlety is incredible. Every time I finish working with a family for the first time, I tell them about that range of emotions they’ll get second or even third time around. For me it is more than just a job, it’s about trust and to be able to live up to the expectations. That is my life.

About rules

To be honest, I don’t have any. I’m often asked about what I usually do to make my clients feel at ease and how I win their favors? There is no “usually” for me. Every photoshoot is a new story. I try to understand my clients and I always trust my intuition. I guess, what I always keep in mind is that what’s worked for one family doesn’t necessarily work for another. If you’re always using one way to shoot, then most likely your pictures will lose their heart and soul. For example, one location for a shoot may work flawlessly for one family and it may be completely opposite for another. Trust me, everything clicks when you choose the right place to have a photo session.

The benefits of family photoshoots 

There is a widespread misconception that kids are more fun to shoot because they are spontaneous and open-minded. Truth to be told, I’d say it is a question of simplicity. It is much easier to find an approach to a one-year-old than to a ten-year-old. Also, with a grown-up, you are on the same level of understanding, but with a teenager, you’re on completely different levels. That is why adolescent age requires maximum effort from a photographer to gain a kid’s trust for the time of a photoshoot. Nothing warms my heart more than when kids open up during photo sessions. When parents are positively amazed by their kids, they come up to me after the shoot and say something like “we’ve never seen him smile like that before”. At this moment, I know that I did something right. 

I like working with big families, this type of photoshoot is where you can really test yourself. It is more interesting to work with all ages, that keeps the brain cells working. Because there’s a constant interaction between family members and you are in the epicenter of it, it takes great skill to see the right moment, to sense it, then to understand it, and finally to capture it on camera. That captured moment can tell the viewer about family relationships or nuances of a family’s way of life. 

Short Story

I’ll share one story with you as an example of the family’s relationship. Sixteen family members in one big house, imagine that my mind was racing that day thinking about what activities to propose. To my surprise, everyone was throwing ideas at me every minute, so I was able to choose freely. To get the gang started I proposed to men of the family to play football.

I wanted to get cool angles of different plays before I’d join girls, who were busy in the garden. The fun part was when girls decided to come closer to the football action, they started cheering wildly! I was able to get a really cool picture where one mom with a toddler and grandmother were in focus, both cheering and smiling with hands held up high, and in front of them were six men, young and old, in action. As one of the seniors told me later, this love for sports was a common thing in the family. So that picture was essentially the celebration of different generations coming together. 

Black and white or color pictures 

I always ask my clients about this. Keeping this in mind helps me to set up the mood of the photoshoot even before it starts. Mostly, my clients are expecting to get something similar to what they saw in my portfolio. So I try to use different editing techniques so that I have various examples of what client can get. Using Rockshutter presets saves me a lot of time, so I can focus on my shooting techniques and find ways to atrract new clients to my website. 

I want to add that, it is easy to be fooled by black and white photography. It might seem that if you convert your pictures to black and white they’d look authentic and awesome but it doesn’t work that way. You have to consider three aspects of BnW photography, which are lighting, detail, and contrast. Color photography is much more forgiving. But if you train yourself to see these aspects, you’ll be able to push tour mastery to a new level. 

I have a great idea for you about how to do that. In any camera, there’s a type of picture control where you can set-up JPGs to be saved with exact settings. You can set-up your camera that JPGs are saved in black and white, just remember to boost contrast and sharpness a bit. 

Psychological Benefits of Family Photography

This is a really an important moment, that not everyone considers. There are two aspects you have to keep in mind as a professional. First, it is the fast-paced rhythm of life most of us have. Sometimes it robs us of the opportunity to enjoy the moment. We’re always running somewhere, don’t we? Trying to keep up with the to-do list, even on weekends. I always tell my clients that a thoughtfully planned photo session is a great way to live through the whole day with your family. It is an opportunity to visit someplace you really wanted to see or possibly make come true the idea you had been keeping in mind for a long time. Maybe it is time to open up that Scrabble that has been gathering dust on the shelf. 

The second aspect is the result that your client gets. It is not just photos of themselves or kids, first and foremost, they get an outside perspective. It may sound a bit philosophical, but it is true: in the whirlwind of everyday life we often forget how happy we really are. We have close ones that love us, we can say “good morning” or “good night” to our children every day. We have to embrace all the work we’ve put in our relationships, it is a great gift that we’re able to do that. So the result of the family photoshoot is basically hard proof of our happiness. One of my clients said to me “When you look at your life from another point of view, it feels like I am looking at some fairy tale. But when you live your life, there is no such feeling”.