Family Portrait Sessions-Part 2

Here is another recent example of a family portrait session.  Again, my goal to give the client a diverse set of pictures, some classical and some unique and different.  As I am shooting, I try to keep in my mind a simple idea:  Not only do I want people to enjoy the pictures today, but also I want the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, looking back in time, at these very same pictures to treasure them as they bring back to life a part of their history.


This picture was taken by my father about 1955-56 time frame at my grandmother’s farm home.  My three brothers, plus me, my mom, my grandmother, my uncle and his dog are in the picture.  As a classical portrait by today’s standards, it woud be judged as not very good.  BUT, the picture for me, looking back in time gives me a great deal of enjoyment.  

So to restate my simple concept.  When I take pictures today, I try to imagine how future generations might feel about the picture(s), while at the same time trying to create pictures that people will enjoy today.  They may or may not be the same thing.  I try to accomplish this idea in all family portrait sessions and the pictures below are an example of this effort. 

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So this is a nice classically posed family portrait, well balanced, nice triangles formed by the people, even spacing, and great smiles.


This picture is a non-classical kind of pose, a bit less than perfect (ideally the baby should have been over to the right about 2-3 feet), but despite the imperfection, one can study it for some time, wondering about the story of these people.  It has also been converted to black and white to provide for a more timeless feeling to the image. 

Also within the concept of my family portrait sessions, I like to capture more than just pictures of the group of people.  Below are individual pictures of each of the children so by the end of the session, the client will receive a very rich set of pictures, some more classical in nature and some that are unique and different.

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I find that my most successful sessions have the following features:

1. The client(s) is relaxed and wanting to enjoy the photography session experience.

2. The client(s) are willing to participate in the creative process and make their interests and desires clear. 

3. The session develops into a spontaneous interaction between myself and the client(s), sometimes using unique assets, like the phone playing music in the above picture.

4. Good weather and lighting also helps!

A© 2011-2018 by Steven Seelig, Chicago Photographer                          630-561-6581