It had been over a year since our last family portrait session. I try to have portraits taken of my family every year for two reasons. One because I believe in photography of course, and think it’s really important to do this. Two, because I never want to forget what it is like to be in front of the camera. It helps me relate to my clients better.
This year what struck me was how much effort has to go into planning a family portrait session from the client’s end. First, where to have the session done. For us, this one was easy. Doug suggested the amazing Harpers Ferry and we were sold on it right away. Next, choosing a date that works for everyone in the family. As a photographer, my weekends are often booked up. I really wanted fall portraits since it’s my favorite time of year. September and October my schedule was full. I decided to set aside a Saturday the last weekend in October and just mark it as booked. After all this was important.
The week before the session, I started thinking about what we would wear. I thought about fall colors and thought maybe we’d do green, orange and yellow sweaters, with dark jeans and maybe boots. I took a morning off from work and went shopping. Macys had gorgeous scarves. Maybe neutral beige sweaters with colorful chunky scarves for the little one and I? Wait I look horrible in tan… I tried on piles of big chunky sweaters, and a few more fitted. Chunky sweater and leggins, or fitted sweater and trouser jeans, hmm… I decided on a blueish sweater with some tan in it.
On to the mens’ section, with the clock ticking down until preschool pick up time. A well dressed salesman came over and offered to help. I explained to him what I was doing, and he just looked perplexed. Um, coordinating outfits for photos? He tried his best. In the end, I picked out an off-white sweater for hubby and a bright turquoise blue for my daughter. We were set.
Except, what about shoes? I brought my daughter back to the mall that afternoon and we picked out sparkly tan winter boots for her. Black boots for me, and I just assume hubby had something that would work. All I could think through this day was, “how to people do this that don’t know inside out what works in front of the camera?”. I pledged to always hand hold my clients more than ever before. I started a couple boards on pinterest to assist clients with outfit ideas too.
October 28th came along and brought that freak snow storm, the day before our planned session. It was messy enough in Reston, and Doug said West Virginia was just full of slushy snow. So we had no choice but to cancel our session. We were all disappointed.
Luckily two weekends later it was beautiful fall weather, and all of us were available for a last minute session. The morning of was hectic. We had to leave by 9:45am. I had not seen Dan in his sweater before and had no idea it needed a shirt underneath! Or did I not know his shoes would look silly. Luckily a swap out for his nice hiking boots worked. Mackenzie does not like to be rushed. She slows down greatly at any talk of getting somewhere at a certain time. I found myself so busy taking care of organizing my family that I almost didn’t have time for myself. Unlike most of the time, I insisted though on taking some time in front of the mirror. All in all, we were in the car by 10:05, 20 minutes late is not too bad I guess.
From there it was a relaxing day and a super fun day. I’ll take my experience, reread this soon, and come up with some advice for all of you having portraits taken. Below is a snapshot of some of my pins from Pinterest. You can read more about my love / hate relationship with Pinterest here.