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3 Tips for Family Portraits on Large Backdrops with Kasey Duvall

3 Tips for Family Portraits on Large Backdrops with Kasey Duvall

I love a good on-location family session, personally they are my fav… but when the weather starts to get cooler in my area, outside sessions are harder to come by which negatively affects my business. Having a big backdrop for studio family sessions keeps my bookings coming through the door in the colder months. I am going to share a few tips to help these shoots go smoothly while keeping the images beautiful and classy.

  • Choose a versatile backdrop.
    Backdrop selection is the key to a beautiful family portrait. I personally like a more neutral backdrop for the big family portrait sessions. I have a few different neutral backgrounds in my studio. With neutral backgrounds, the family can stick to any color palette. It’s super important that the families selection of clothes doesn’t clash with the backdrop you are using for the session. I love the “Blackbird” backdrop from Intuition Backgrounds. It's a deep black backdrop that is slightly textured and it's absolutely stunning. I have an 8x15 Canvas and it’s the perfect size. The backdrop sweeps beautifully on the floor creating a seamless look that is to die for. Families love the classiness of the backdrop and I love it too!
    • Have chairs/stools available for the family.
      Unlike outside sessions, you will really need to focus on posing the family to make the portrait look classy and professional. To create diversity I capture some images sitting on chairs and some standing. Stools add such a great touch to any studio session - feel free to mix and match the type of chairs you use. I love the look of different style chairs to break up the images. I usually seat the grandparents and then style the grandchildren around them. If it’s not a grandparent shot I will sit the little ones on the laps of older siblings if I can. I also change up my posing. I direct the clients to snug in close for some shots while other shots I may ask for a gentle straight face.
      • Photograph Littles First
        I’ve always found photographing the youngest in the group first creates happiness all the way around… I don’t know about you, but less crying equals a happy bunch! I capture a few different angels to keep the gallery versatile. I also try to feel out the children to see if they are comfortable with me directing them or if I need to have their parents do that. I always approach slowly making sure not to scare them or make them feel uncomfortable with too many instructions. I have found that just jumping in trying to move little ones yourself can scare them and make them feel like they aren’t in control. I always introduce myself and try to have a little conversation before I start asking them to pose. I try to understand what they may like to talk about to make them more comfortable. Breaking the ice with the kiddos is really important. I use a little stuffed animal that wraps around my lens to catch their attention. Patience is the key to success with the younger age group. At times the parents can become frustrated with their children. I always tell them it’s okay if their child needs a break and that there is no rush. We will get it.

        I hope you've found these tips helpful to keep you bringing in business through the colder months!


       

      ABOUT THE AUTHOR

      Kasey Duvall is a photographer based in Southeast, Missouri. She started her photography business roughly 5 years ago and she specializes in Newborn and Children Photography.









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