If you are wondering what happens at a family photoshoot then you might get an idea with my little review of our shoot at Photographic Synergy.
‘In Front of the Camera’ Complex
I love photos. Most weeks, I take hundreds of shots, if not thousands. I am also an avid collector of old family photos (my family’s, not random people’s photos!) and my most treasured files are photos of my great grandad in the 1920s.
Photos help me capture the happy moments, the ordinary ones, the fun times, the tantrums (mine & the kids’) and the madness of family life. The photos I have of my children, my family, my grandparents when they were little are my treasures, my most prized possessions.
As much as I love photos and looking at them again and again, I absolutely hate having my own photo taken. I like the idea of being in the photos, but being on the ‘wrong’ side of the camera really bothers me. I have no idea how to stand. I feel awkward and forget how to smile. I have too many hands, I have no idea what to do with them. I get sweaty. I just want to run away. Please tell me it’s not just me!
I can spend hours behind the camera and never get bored of it, but try putting me in front of the camera and I just freeze. My smile turns into some weird grimace. I lose the ability to look ‘normal’ and I feel under tremendous pressure. The problem probably stems from the fact I very rarely get photographed. It makes me feel so self-conscious and awkward!
In Desperate Need of Decent Head Shots
For the past year or so, I have been thinking about having professional headshots done, but the mere thought of it made me want to throw up (seriously!). I have been making do with pictures taken by my brother, my bestie and my little man when he was 6, but I kept thinking I needed something less blurry, with less distracting backgrounds and, well, a tad more professional.
No matter how many times I thought about it, there was no way round it. I would have to have professional shots done (sweat, sweat, hyperventilate!). I knew I would not be able to smile ‘normally’ or look like myself, even. When I see photos of me, I cringe because I can see my ‘photo face’ rather than the ‘real’ me. Does it ring any bells?
Then one day, I had a lightbulb moment. I would have a shoot with the children and ask the photographer to take photos of me when I was interacting with my children so I would look as ‘normal’ as I could possibly look in photos.
Booking with Photographic Synergy
A few days later, we were on yet another day out at Willows Farm, and it all clicked into place. A few years ago, when I first bought my first DSLR (my much-loved Canon 500D), I attended a photography course at Photographic Synergy to learn how to use my camera. The photography studio was located on the same car park as the farm, so I went in to ask a few questions and minutes later, I had a session booked for the children and I a few weeks later.
About a week before the shoot, I received an email full of ideas which really helped me prepare for the shoot. I knew what kind of mood I was after (family fun) and planned our outfits. I also started gathering profile photos I was hoping to use as inspiration.
Definitely the Right Photographers for Us
What really gave me confidence I had chosen the right photographers for my business and family photos was the questionnaire they sent me to help them prepare for the shoot.
Here are my answers to the pre-shoot form, as well as photos from the day to show you how successful our shoot at Photographic Synergy was.
I liked the fact I could do this in my own time rather than stressing over a phone conversation or face-to-face meeting. Looking back at my answers, that was exactly what I wanted, and 100% what I got! If you book a photo shoot and are not given a set of questions to help your photographer know exactly what you want, I would highly recommend using these questions as a guide.
Questionnaire to help plan for our shoot with Photographic Synergy
What do you love about your family?
The crazy chaos that comes with a large family
What do you want your children to remember about their childhood?
How much fun they had
Describe you perfect day, spending quality time with your family.
Being out, running around, days out on a one-to-one basis or time at home doing crafts, cooking together or watching a film with popcorn in hand
Why have you decided to have a studio session with us?
I would like a photo that looks professional yet fun enough. I had some professional head shots done last year but I look way too serious and quite frankly boring (I can’t bear to look at them). My issue is I spend so much time behind the camera I hate it when my photo is being taken and can never relax enough to look like myself…
That’s a challenge for you! You might have to try and take photos of me as I am with my children, as that’s when I am most relaxed. My work is largely food related so I would have liked photos of me cooking, but of course that won’t be possible.
Pick one word to describe your family
Who will be involved in your shoot? Just the children? The whole family? The extended family?
My children and I
Are there any shots which you want us to capture?
Great, natural head shots for my portfolio, social media profiles and ‘About Me’ page on my blog, 1 photo of the children and I looking happy / silly (possibly hanging one of them by the feet!
Are there any specific ways you’d like to display your photo? (albums, digital, wall art etc.)
Where in your home are you hoping to decorate with the images?
1 small photo of the children and I in my office
When was the last time you had any photos printed out?
2 weeks ago
Have any of your friends or family had a studio session with us?
Anything else we should know?
I will be bringing examples of good head shots and if you are happy for me to feature you on my site, I could take a few ‘behind the scenes’ shots
Right, so as you can see, we got exactly what I wanted. As soon as we got there, it was clear that Sam, our photographer, had read my notes and was determined to give us the shot we wanted. He completely embraced the madness (and it was mad!) and played along, so the children and I were really comfortable, and interacted with each other the way we would have at home.
The only shot we did not quite manage was that of me holding Wriggly upside down. She was having none of it, and to be fair, I don’t blame her!
When Sam mentioned focusing on headshots, I could feel my whole body stiffen, but thank goodness, he let the kiddos run around, which really helped.
He also let me hold my camera and use it, which helped hugely.
As he was trying to get professional-looking headshots for me, I could not relax, so Sam asked Wriggly to help him. As he was carrying her, I managed to smile and look like me, phew!
The studio was huge and the children had lots of space to run around. There was a dressing room for me to get changed and touch up my makeup, a sofa for my mum to sit comfortably as she was watching the session unfold, lots of props and toys for the children and drinks for us to help ourselves.
Sam also played music we liked to help us feel at home. I could not recommend them more of you are after a family photo shoot or headshots.
A few days later, we had a viewing booked and it was great. Beth welcomed us in a room was was pretty much like a lounge, offered us drinks and our photos were playing on a large screen. Beth was brilliant. She was there, but we were completely in charge. She was not pushy in any way, did not try to sell us anything and gave my mum and I plenty of time to watch and watch again, adding photos to our list and removing others whilst the girls played with the toys in the room. There were over 80 photos and I wanted them all! I ended up with 12 that I would get on a USB. I was not after prints. I would get them printed later. I love these photos and look at them pretty much every day!
Click on the logo above to book a photo shoot and get £150 off potential purchases. You can also check Photographic Synergy‘s website and book over the phone (01727 809 140), using code ‘Le Coin de Mel’ to get a £150 gift card. I will also get some credit to redeem against future shoots.
Have you got photos you really treasure?
Disclosure: I booked the photo shoot myself and paid for my photos. I received a discount from Photographic Synergy but all opinions are my own. All photos by Sam at Photographic Synergy are in colour and mine are in black and white, but the quality of his photos versus mine is pretty obvious anyway!