My Three Rules

I have a rule: every time I finish working with a photo shoot, I post a series of pictures on social media. New posts keep my followers engaged: they write comments, and put likes or emotes about my posts. As the result, my followers want to hire me as the photographer for a family photo shoot. After I set a date for a photo shoot, my clients tend to ask me similar questions. For example “I loved your pictures from the post you made. Can you do the same thing with our family?” or “Will we have something similar as the result of our photo shoot?” Now, I’m going to reveal my big secret about these questions, and I bet, you’ll get astonished!

So here it goes. When I drive to your place to do a family photoshoot, I have no idea what the final is going to be.

You may think, that if a photographer doesn’t know how things will play out during a family photo shoot, it is not you, who is going to be taken pictures of, but the imaginary scenes from the photographer’s his mind. This is neither bad nor good. It all depends on what exactly you want to get. On the other hand, my work totally depends on my three companions: “You”, “Me” and “Circumstances”. These variables are my companions of every photo shoot I do. I always rely on them.

At the beginning of this year, I happened to make a family photoshoot at my clients place. It was a family of seven and a big black dog, the sweetest I had ever seen. It was Christmas gathering at their house outside the city. 

Cherishing Moments

When your family lives abroad, you really start cherishing every moment of your occasional gathering. Admirably, the family seniors are still healthy enough to travel far to see their children, who are already over 50 and their grandchildren, who are already about 30. There was even one great-grandchild, who had just become one-year old toddler. I was delighted to see everyone enjoy that holiday together. It was immensely inspiring for me to take a picture with of the whole family.

I have made many pictures in my life of three or four generations families. I think that keeping these pictures in a family album is very important. They have a special meaning not only for the present family, but also for all the generations to come.

The co-author “You” was the family I was making pictures for. What do you think they were doing during the photo shoot? They were having a lot of fun! There were no special instructions from me! If your models are lively and feel at ease during a photo shoot, they will never look lifeless mannequins in your pictures. 

Photo Ideas

Everyone was coming up with a lots of ideas. The men were having fun with the toddler, asking him to open his mouth for showing his first teeth. They just pulled him up by his legs, but amazingly liked it and smiled, and then he kindly opened his mouth. In that position was nice for everyone to see both his first teeth. 

The women had their own fun: they decided to make a potato pie. While the grandmother was rolling the dough, this group was entertaining by sprinkling the flour at each other. While they were messing around, their laughter was heard all over the house. It was so hard to make pictures and not to laugh with them! Their dog joined the company and tried to lick flour off their faces, and happily wagged its tail. 

It is impossible to ask circumstances to align the way you want. They are what they are. Some photo shoots are running in the rain; some are bathing in the sun. This is where my second co-author “Circumstances” comes out. 

Some Shoots Are A Gift

That day it made a gift for me. It was the bright winter’s sun. Usually at Christmas time we have cloudy days, but that the opposite! The sunlight was pouring through three panoramic windows, filling the room with brightness. It was really comfortable to work in that room, and everyone felt relaxed enough in front of my camera. But when the light is too bright, you have to be careful, because sunrays can make a face overexposed. So it all depends on your vision, whether you want to catch a cunning sunray in an interesting way, or make your model hide from it with drawn curtains. 

I’m sure my favorite “Circumstances” are little children and pets.  They have their own schedule of life, and their own vision of the world. They get tired easily, so you have to be ready to capture them in the right moment while the family members are close to them. 

Being Involved

The most important co-author is “Me” – I have to be involved in the process and to photo-document everything interesting that is happening around me. Also, any photo shoot start long before the actual shooting. I have to prepare my photo backpack, check that all my cameras, lenses, flashes work properly. I have to plan my trip to my client’s place so I should be there on time. I have to enter my client’s place in a good mood, to greet everyone and remember everybody’s name. (To tell you the truth I am hopeless in remembering names!) I also have to make friends with pets and parent’s little children. It’s not easy, pets are pets and things happen.

My professional part of “Me” has to be on guard, because a lot thing happen. It is me, who is responsible for the composition and lightening. I have to be aware of all the objects that are unnecessary, and to remove them in time to press the shooting button. Sometimes we even move some pieces of furniture, that is not to hard to move to get a better portrait!  “You”, “Me” and “Circumstances” are my best friends of every shoot. And that it why I really enjoy family photo shoots.