Laura McPherson | Elephant Juice Photography
So many factors go into making your family sessions (or really any type of session) flow and result in images you love! Let’s chat about a few of those factors…
First, let’s talk about YOU! The artist. Are you passionate about your work? I feel that a big step to finding that fire and creative passion is shooting what you love! Be true to YOU, and fuel your passion by shooting what you genuinely find joy in. If you’re looking to attract a certain type of client, your ideal client, you have to show images that reflect that in your feed and portfolio. Styling a model session is a great way to get images you can use to promote your brand and book the clients you want. If you are not passionate about what you’re doing, make a change. True authenticity shows through in your work, and will draw clients and others in the industry to you!
Once you have the clients booked, the next step to a great session is STYLING! It can really make or break your session. I have used Style & Select for over two years now, and it’s been such a huge timesaver, and easy way to make sure my clients are not stressed by the styling process and they look amazing!
It’s important to remember that you must style for your location. My brand is scenic settings at golden hour.
When styling, think about color palette: hot pink will not only create awful color casts on skin, but it won’t compliment the setting. Earth tones and neutrals create my most favorite images-browns, rust, muted greens, blush, grey and gold. So those are colors I recommend to my own clients.
Next, think about outfits: typically my clients are in casual outfits (but leave the tennis shoes at home). You want your clients to be comfortable, but still, wear things that they don’t necessarily wear every day. Encourage your moms to WEAR THE DRESS! They complement every body type and photograph so beautifully. I’ve never had a mom regret wearing the dress!
Finally, think about texture & movement: It’s always a good idea to mix pattern/texture when planning your client’s outfits. I love mixing florals, stripes, plaids, and solids. Textures and layers are everything to me, and clothing (especially for mama and girls) that MOVES will completely make your images. Creating movement in my images is one of my favorite things. Think about some of your most favorite images you’ve ever captured. Is there movement in clothing, hair, kids dancing and running? If not, try to explore ideas and posing that creates that, and see how it can transform the emotion in your work.
Once you’re at the session, just try to relax and make it fun for your clients. I know sometimes that’s easier said than done, but it takes practice. My style is very laid back. I have a simple workflow I go through, but it’s really just an adventure with the family, and I capture the moments as they unfold. Kids are made to play, so it’s important to educate and prepare your parents ahead of time, if they’re not used to your style of shooting. Authentic moments will unfold, but not 100% naturally. You have to set it up, and then capture it as it is. Stand back and let them interact naturally without you in their face, and then come in close, and get the details. I’m a sucker for closeup details of mama’s loving on their babies. Be mindful of hands and hair, and get all that raw emotion.
After the session, you bring your images to life with editing! Find a style that is true to you and your brand. Then be consistent. Edits for me are colorful and warm, yet soft. I don’t use a lot of bright colors or contrast, because it doesn’t fit my brand. My brand is emotive with soft earth tones, so I keep my feed consistent with images that best represent that vibe. I want people to see my work, and recognize it as my style. Find artists that have a look you love, and then find a way to make it your own. I often get asked why someone using the same presets as me can’t get their work to look like mine. Even if you use the same presets, you can never completely replicate a look. Lens, aperture, location, light and wardrobe ALL factor into making a final image what it is. Everything must come together to complete the artist’s painting. The presets are just there to enhance it all! So this is another way I keep my work consistent and on-brand for me-my session lighting, camera settings, locations, wardrobe and PRESETS. My top presets are: Wanderlust, Embrace Vol II and Beholden