What To Wear To Your Family Photo Session

My mother is an artist and is the reason I became one as well. She invested in my extracurricular education at a young age by signing me up for acting, drawing, and writing classes. I knew then I would eventually end up in the arts. 

She brought me along to the art classes she was enrolled in. I remember drawing so many apples in one of her classes. I wish I still had those drawings to show my boys who both enjoy drawing.

The other thing my mom did is take me on commercial jobs with her. She used to window dress a local department store with the latest fashion. This, for me, was so much fun. I loved watching her put together seasonal outfits effortlessly. She favored classic tailored clothing in neutrals with a splash of color, depending on the season.

Whenever a client asks me what to wear to a session, I think of my mom’s advice—wear simple classic designs that fit well. Neutral colors look great in photos. So do clean lines and tailored pieces. I think you should wear clothes that fit well, feel good, and make you feel confident. Your outfit should fit your body and flatter your complexion. If you typically wear jeans, then feel free to wear jeans with perhaps a white button down and pop of red lipstick. You can dress your kiddos and partner in the same white and denim combination. 

Ultimately when you book a photo session, your time in the studio is about you and your loved ones. I think classic clothing choices help create timeless images. That said, be yourself. Wear clothes that fit, flatter, and make you feel confident. Add a splash of complimentary color and let’s make photos that you’ll all love and cherish for generations.

Fine Art Film Package | Northampton Portrait Studio

My favorite portrait setup these days is simple. Winter light, black backdrop, 4x5 camera loaded with black and white film, model seated on a stool at the edge of the window. 

We’ve had a surprising number of sun filled days this winter which I’ve been celebrating in the studio. There are several rooms in my studio to photograph in. The room I call my daylight studio has south facing windows rendering incredible bold, beautiful, and contrasty light during the day. It’s the room I want to spend all of my time in, not only for the light, but also the camera setup. Which made me think, why not offer a fine art film portrait package to my portrait offerings.

Now you’ll be able to book a regular session and add on the fine art film package as well. This package will be photographed with my large format 4x5 film camera, which means we’ll slow down a little more during this part of the session to make each frame count. The film package will include 10 total frames using both Tri-X and Polaroid Originals films in black and white.

A regular portrait session usually lasts about an hour at my studio and includes shooting time as well as the editing and presenting of a private online gallery of images. You will be able to add the fine art film package onto your regular session. 

Film photography will always be my first love and I want to offer this beautiful and original analog format to your session. I believe in connection above all else when it comes to portrait photography, but I can’t help but favor the timeless quality rendered with analog film.

My Approach To Family Photography | Northampton Family Studio Photography

I like to describe my photographic style as fine art documentary photography based in improvisation. My style draws upon my influences that range from portrait photographers including Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz to photojournalists such as, Margaret Bourke-White and Eve Arnold. 

In fact, I love this quote by Arnold, which is pretty much how I approach portraiture. 

“If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”—Eve Arnold, American Photojournalist

I studied both fine art and photo journalism in college and graduate school. When it came time to choose which area to focus on in graduate school: fine art photography or photojournalism, I had a difficult decision to make as I felt like I belonged to both sides. Eventually I chose art, but I also felt like my style was a mix of both fine art and creative documentary photography. The summer before I entered graduate school, I travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland for a photojournalism course, and learned how to create documentary style photo essays. 

The trip coincided with The Fringe Festival, where thousands of known and unknown artists perform all over the city in various genres from theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, to spoken word. I photographed a number of performers from the Festival and loved every second of it. 

What I learned was the need to be technically proficient. More importantly though, I learned how to talk to people on the spot. I learned how to create authentic portraits that felt honest, emotive, and expressive. I’ve never forgotten the feeling of having to approach someone on the street, listen to their story, and ask if I could photograph them.  I was filled with nervous excitement, thinking they would likely say no, but thrilled when most everyone said, yes. 

Creating a connection with another person has always been the real work. The camera settings, lighting, and background are important, and yet, what makes a great portrait is so much more. During that course and over the years, I talked to people. We had genuine conversations. We shared details about our lives. Within the span of several minutes, we both had to allow ourselves to be heard and seen. Not as performers but as people.

I still use the same techniques during a family portrait session. I like to spend a few minutes talking to you and your loved ones. I want to hear about your day, share stories, and find out what your interests are. I expect the kids to get tired of being in front of the camera, it’s natural. I also don’t expect them to smile every frame. I build in breaks for them to go wiggle, dance, and snack. My goal for each session is to create a relaxed studio environment that is fun and memorable. I want to photograph meaningful images that you can pass onto future generations. Plus, I hand out chocolates at the end!

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