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Our Family Portrait

As a photographer I’m usually behind the lens, so when it came time for me to decide on a Yule gift for my husband I thought that I have a family portrait done…  but a portrait of the non-photographic kind.  And right about this time, a fellow artist had shared that he was having some financial woes and could really use a few commissions.  His style was a perfect fit…  very heavy on line, graphic in nature with a grungy flare.  Ideal for an unusual and memorable family portrait.  So I sent a message off his way.

I have to admit, I’ve been dying to share the results of all our back and forth.  I think it’s pretty fabulous, but I had to wait until after Yule – as I couldn’t very well blab about my husband’s gift before he’d received it.  But now that the Solstice has come and gone?  I have to share!

Our Family Portrait - drawn by "gravitiational tim"

So, my thanks to Liam (aka gravitational tim) for all his work, and for his patience with my nit-picky perfectionist nature.  I’d say it was well worth it.  How many families have a portrait as cool as this one?  I’d venture to guess there aren’t many.  😉

A lesson for families on portrait photography.

I was working on the shots from the Pederson’s family shoot, and a couple of things came to mind that I think many families could learn from.  And where better to share these things than here, on my blog.  🙂

One:  The Found Object

I am all about going digging and exploring for cool things.  When we are out on a shoot, why not have a little fun?  You never know what treasures we may discover.  In this particular instance, we found a few “word rocks” tucked into the big wishing boulder out at Gabriel Dumont Park.  Sometimes the object, or the message, is the most important thing.  Why not let your kids share their excitement over their finds?  I can think of an absolute ton of things a family could do with a photo like this:

There is nothing greater these days, than a message of courage.  And by simply allowing children to explore we found the perfect way to deliver that message.  Can’t you just envision this on a great big canvas in the family home’s entryway?  Or how about shared with family and friends on a custom printed greeting card?  I think it would be the fabulous beginning to an inspirational digital scrapbook page.

So let your kids explore – or do a bit of exploring yourself.  You never know what we may come across.  Or if you have a special message you know you want to share, bring something along.  We’ll find a way to use it.

Two:  The Most Effective Portraits

Contrary to what the portrait studios of the world would have you believe, the most effective portraits do not involve you sitting still.  They do not involve you tilting your head to the side with a smile plastered on your face, staring down the lens of the camera.  The most effective portraits share a little about who you are.

We can definitely grab a few shots of your family all looking in the same direction, smiling, for the sake of posterity (and the holiday greeting card).  But lets make sure to grab a few of you just being yourself.  After all, your family knows what you look like, but how often do you really share your true self?  I’d say it’s time we got a photo of you doing just that.

The first step to capturing a truly effective portrait is choosing a place that speaks to you.  Lets hit the river, the library, an old bookstore, a snowy field… someplace you can just relax and be yourself.  Get involved in the world around you, and do your best to just forget about me and my camera.  It’s hard to do at first, but we’ll get there – and that’s when my work begins to fulfill me.

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