I recently posted in my favorite local Mom group to ask them if they got family portraits taken, and if not, why? The reasons why not were mostly expected, but there were a few that surprised me! So, here are the biggest reasons:
This is one that is the most common and the most understandable. Professional portraits are an investment, and not everyone can afford everything that they want. This is why it's so important to do your research. Find a photographer that you love and see what they cost. Contact them. Talk to them about their pricing. I know that for me, when I truly value something, I will save up for it because it's important to me. OR, I find something that is affordable to me and figure out if that will work. I've also been known to barter on occasion! With Fluttering Shutter Photography, I meet with all of my potential clients before you ever give me a dime so that I can go over all of the products that I offer and what everything costs. I also offer payment plans! :)
Getting everyone to look good
As a mom of 4, I totally get this one! Coordinating everyone can be a chore! BUT I looooove helping my clients choose outfits and I have pretty solid advice on how to choose outfits, as well. In fact, I've written entire blog posts about preparing for a family session! You can read two, here and here. This family coordinated so beautifully and was also able to make sure that they all still had their own style.
Getting kids to cooperate
This one is easy for me to answer, but hard for me to personally do. The easy answer is: Don't force your kids to cooperate. Trust that your photographer knows what they're doing and allow them to do what you've hired them to do. When parents are stressed, they make their kids stressed, which leads to a tricky portrait session for the photographer. Also, parents who hover to the sides of the photographer tend to get a lot of images that look like this:
Not ONE single kid was looking at the camera. Smiling? Yes. Looking? No. And yes, those are my kids because I was the Mom that I'm warning you not to be. But when I let go and let my awesome photographer (Second Ave Photography) work with my kids on her own, she got amazing images of them. It was only when I was trying to get them to cooperate that they couldn't focus on the photographer.
That being said, kids don't have to cooperate for long and sometimes I just let the kids be themselves and we get some amazing portraits of them! Can you believe that I got these images (plus a ton more) in 15 minutes?
Fear of not liking the images
This is always a fear for everyone. Photographers, non-photographers, moms, dads, teenagers, everyone! Here's what I say to this one: You might not love them, but what if you do? Besides, the point of having your portraits taken is to capture this time in your lives as it is. Personally? I hate how I look in photographs. I need to lose about 30 pounds, make sure my hair is appropriately covering the gray and that I have at least a little makeup on. HOWEVER, my kids? They don't care about anything that I just mentioned. They're going to love me if I go entirely gray, gain another 30 pounds and never put on another speck of makeup again. They just want to have fun with me and snuggle. And you know what? That's good because the portraits that I get taken aren't for me, they're for them. They're for my kids and my grandkids and my great grandkids. Also, a great way to make sure that you're going to like your images is to really research your photographer. Make sure that you hire someone whose work you l-o-v-e. Not everyone has the same style, so really try to find a photographer whose style fits you and your family. (This is another reason why although cost needs to be a consideration, sometimes it shouldn't be the number one reason to go with -or not go with- a certain photographer.)
Time/Availability of the Photographer
Finding the time to take family portraits is always a challenge, but with planning, it can be done. I always advise clients to start thinking about their fall family portraits in the summer. This is the best way to try to book with the photographer you want and get it on your calendar before the craziness of school and fall sports sets in. Planning far enough ahead also gives you plenty of time to plan your outfits and figure out payments. For more details on when to schedule sessions, check out this blog post.
This was the one that really surprised me! A few moms commented that they had been disappointed because their photographer shared too many images or shared images when they were specifically asked not to. First, I wouldn't be doing my job in this blog post if I didn't do a little bit of education in the beginning of my response. When you hire a photographer, there should be an understanding up front about what is involved. Occasionally, I will do a model call where I do a free session and my "model" will get a few free digital images in return. I do model calls for two reasons: 1) So, that I can practice something or 2) To get images for my portfolio that I want. I just recently posted a blog about a model session that I really wanted to do because the session that inspired me specifically requested that I not use their images online or in any part of my promotions. I always, always, always respect my clients privacy when they ask me to, so I did a model call and got some great portraits that I could use! Model calls can be great for both the client and the photographer, but it is SO important that both sides know what to expect going into it.
Model calls aside, clients usually sign something called a model release (mine is in my contract) that states that a photographer can use their images for promotional purposes. We do this because it's the best way to show potential clients what our work looks like! If no one ever signed a model release, we would have a really difficult time selling ourselves as photographers. There are some photographers who charge clients that don't sign the model release. Please know that Fluttering Shutter will NEVER do this because I believe in your privacy. You hired me to do a job and I will do it regardless of whether or not I can share your images. Especially living in Northern Virginia, I know that there are a variety of reasons why people don't want their images online.
The other thing that came to mind when I read this comment is that the photographer who doesn't pay attention to things like model releases or a clients wishes is likely a new photographer....and one who won't have a ton of business unless they start to do those things. Again, this is why it's SO important to really research your photographer before you hire them.
We Don't Want To/We Do It Ourselves
My response to this one is super simple: Okay! If you're not hiring a professional, that's fine, I just want you to have family portraits! If you do it with a timer on your camera or use your cellphone? That's okay! Just be in pictures with your family!
The bottom line is this: BE IN PICTURES! We, as moms, tend to NOT be in pictures because we're the ones taking them and that is really, really sad to me! Your kids want to see you in pictures, and so will future generations! I would love to help you get family portraits done, but I know that professional pictures aren't for everyone and I know that I'M not for everyone, and that's okay! Find a photographer you love, gather the people you love and GET IN THE PICTURE!