Shoot: Family Portrait


Building a Profitable Portrait Studio


Lesson Info

Shoot: Family Portrait

We have a six month old baby girl that we're going to photograph because we wanted you to see just a bit of variety and also just a little bit of a different way that we were in this in this way I think I want to try a couple of things I think I want to use my yellow couch and we'll move it into the other room so that we have just a nice fluffy environment for this little girl. Um and this leads me to just talk to you real briefly about about these kinds of props like furniture and such I'll tell you more about this later on, but I love changing my furniture out I get bored very easily and I find that after we photographed for a while on one of the furniture pieces in our studio, what we dont want is we don't want our clients calling and going hey, bambi, I want you to do my family portrait don't use the red couch because my friends so and so has their picture on that you see that's when you know when they start saying things like that that's kind of telling you that you're doing some ...

things that are a bit more like other people or what you've done before so it's timeto put the red couch away and move on to something else I personally am nuts about consignment shopping because it's a terrific way to get some nice pieces of furniture very inexpensively and then be able to use them for a while and then you re consigned the back so that so that you not you not locked into something that's that's going to take super long so let's get our little family out here let's go in and start getting our couch moved so we can take some more photographs of this beautiful little baby we're going to make this a very short segment we're gonna work with her maybe for fifteen minutes or so and see what kind of great images we can get in a short period of time so we'll use our yellow couch we're gonna put it over there you want to take some questions yeah I'd love to take some questions while we're setting up cross yeah questions yes I don't really like to know how you got your michael I mean, I know it was a long time ago, but well how did you go through the process of finding the right person to work with? Do you know what michael was? He was the happiest accident I ever had but only because the reason that I I originally interviewed him I started a studio I started my own studio a reason when it went out of my home michael ssh be quiet when I was in I a studio in walnut creek about ten years ago and michael came into my studio he's a photographer's been photographing for over thirty years and so he came in and he was tired of owning his own studio I want to work for somebody and so for those of you that have been photographing a long time this might be something to consider is to work with another company you know, if you have tired of all the business and you know the stupid stuff like employees taxes and all that stuff and having to do all the dumb stuff that you don't like to do and so he originally came in to interview with me about photographing weddings with me and so I said hey mike I sell tell you what come with me on my wedding this weekend and let's let's see if we're a good fit together so well he went to this wedding with me and during the process of the wedding I was had to photograph this family and they had a two year old little boy well that little child took one look at me and gave me stink eye I mean he said he was like no part of me he was he literally scowled at me and I certainly did not know what you do and he was like oh no I'm not going to get my picture taken I don't want you and michael whipped out that stupid crazy look fabulous magic ball trick and within literally thirty seconds he had that child eating out of the palm of his hands, and that little boy would do anything we wanted. And I looked at michael, and I went, oh, my goodness, I said, forget the weddings. I said, you're brilliant with kids that's so much more valuable to me, because before that, I really wanted to incorporate family portrait business in my in my rep dorcas, I've been told that you only do one thing, right? So I was a wedding photographer, but I just kept hating to have to refer family portrait sout because I'm going, why am I giving someone else? You know, thousands of dollars in business? Why I just doesn't make sense to me, but I didn't like it, it wasn't any fun, and I was terrified on top of that, so I so I hired michael to come and help me, and I tell you what, it's been the best investment of my whole life. I don't know what I would do without him, because he's, just so brilliant, he is not only brilliant with children, but he's brilliant behind the camera, I have enormous respect for him, and so I feel very, very, very fortunate it's I'm sure that I know I'm not easy to work for, I'm very noisy and I'm no loud and lot of other stuff that you don't want to know about kind boring but any rate so I'm happy to have him did that answer your question okay, let me move over now and we're gonna do some pictures are beautiful little baby claire and uh, ask questions while we're on the way over there I'm happy to answer so many people are wondering how do you work alone? There are so many people out there that don't have a michael don't have anyone else to work with and need to be able to do this and so how do they do it by themselves? Um well, I would have to say that if you have to work alone then get mom or dad give them a toy and have them come right next to you as they interact with their children. But I'm going to tell you there's no excuse for not having someone with you we all know somebody that osha okay, even if you have to get your little brother or your big sister or your mom or somebody get somebody to help you it's like you know I'm sorry, but you gotta put on your big boy panties and if you're going to do this is a profession, then bite the bullet and stop being cheap you get somebody to go with you to stop creating roadblocks for yourself I guess that's really my point is that sometimes we say I hear people say it, and I'm not trying to be mean, but I'm passionate about this because it's like, why would you want to just if you're going to do this as a living as a profession, why would you want to put that much more stress on yourself and say, oh, well, I don't have anybody. Well, then get somebody I mean, really, do you not have a mom or a dad or somebody that can help? And I mean there's there's always someone who's willing to help us out in a pinch. Thank you, that's the said, nice. You made me look good, so I would just say whatever you could do, get somebody to help you with it. I'll take even for weddings. I don't do shoot wedding, so I'm on my own because I'm a much better photographer with someone I can shoot, photograph children by myself, just remember, put him in the good light and and then interact with a miss, as will for moms and dads. I find that if I interact, if I have them interacting with the children, they're more of a hindrance quite often, then help. So what we dio we'll hand him the little iphone and say hey we want you to be able to shoot video put it up on facebook so mom come right next to me and you're gonna be able to shoot little eye pictures and it's great cause they stay out of your hair so ok that's ok so sorry and I hope I didn't hurt anybody's feelings but it's just really you know we have to do that in a zoo profession okay so where is our mom hi there hi there claire oh my gosh she's so cute so I'm gonna have we're going to kind of keep this area a little bit quiet except for our parents uh mer mom and then maybe our our film crew here and then we're going to put claire and jessica's our mom so clear let me have you put I mean jessica why don't you set her on that little couch right there and the other guy how she is on horrible oh my god oh my god claire back up just a little bit honey jessica sorry jessica what e claire I could well come to that clear you such a big car sitting there all by yourself oh my god uh huh oh ah uh huh oh hi clear little lady silly huh? I want to trade with your way need to be like right here ok, just go ahead talk to her stand up right where I was where you go but you get the whole color there you go mommy that's funny where's mommy give attention marketer attention so sory e how sweet it's called wait somebody come over despite her grab her no matter what if she starts beautiful this is huh wait go great yeah oh your mommy's pretty silly home awesome you know what I'd love to do let's move the couch and if we can I'd like to put her right in front of the yellow door let's pick ma you move the couch completely let's move it out of the way so jessica go ahead take her here's her little thanks. Where can we go with us? Uh just that way yes thank you. You want maybe a cushion on the floor just move some of the stuff for here but um yeah that my work will be ok I'm using a tripod oh yeah actually that so that she does fall forward and actually they'll be great in there okay so just know what we're gonna do is we're going to set her down right here we're going to turn her feet a little bit that way because we already turned the other way before so now we're going to get her other side there's the miss claire there's miss claire she's carol I can have somebody bring that reflector in a little bit closer you know whats thiss bring that switch we'll be okay come down a little lower there oh there's your teeth thirty I'm gonna have to reposition her just I just needed to balance her a little bit hey, look what we have here there's another pillow did another pillow way mommy no absolutely please do okay she's pretty good, huh? You see something? You know what I want now I want my big black chair I've been waiting for a baby to put in my black here actually don't leave her there for a second will you go grab the chair? I want to do something I want to shoot down on her I think she's yeah and then mommy talk to her uh let me try some approach with the baby like this but when they start sticking their tongue out and suck in their lips and stuff doing a little something like that what oh, teo way sometimes will make him pop the tongue back in there we go. Oh, you heard me say telling didn't you can you get you get you get way ah, she is so darn cute. Okay, let's put the boat let's get the chair. She is just so during cue okay, we'll put our chair and we'll move the yellow wall okay, great. And do we have any questions while we're re changing our said, huh okay okay what we're doing is I'm trying to create I want more variety and the kind of images that we're going to show so I want to get rid of our white in the back and now I want to just create something that's a bit more of a I love contrasts I think they're really important so contrast of hard and baby soft so I was I want to do a serious just a few images of her sitting in this chair one of my favorite things to do with this chairs to turn it sideways so that my goal is to kind of have claris face um kind of framing in this little piece right here of the chair in the arm of the chair so okay let's see let's set her up in there michael and what we can do excuse me darling go look atyou make it a big girl look a big girl awesome I love it already uh because we're looking towards the light peekaboo uh buh bye come this way just a little bit more uh gorgeous well what mommy go here switch with me, mom in fact I just saw something that'd be really beautiful too. Hey, claire, get down right in front of her and come in really close with your face when you put your hair behind your ear and then come in really close so and we'll do a couple of you two together come in real close claire let's go she's dissecting okay good okay clara back off and just talk to her and michael let's let's try to get her oh I love that I love her hand is sometimes you just have to search for the sound that she's going to relate to oh yes I love you seriously ok turn the chair towards me this way now so I can just get her right inside I want to see her sitting can you scoot her little booty back says she's sitting right back in the middle of it right a little bit turned towards me a little bit of this is just priceless awesome can we move that screen to the side just a little bit like ah some perfect really good uh uh big boo wait for it gore just well that's just beautiful you keep bringing up a little higher you like that song, huh gorgeous three thank you oh yeah that was perfect oh my goodness I was still also they're always fantastic political heir awesome that's a beautiful hey you know what do me a favor I'm gonna have you put the squirrel down and I want you just to hold your arms out social and good and like reach for oh you know what mike let's put the pink chair in there you said she's standing she stands by holding a holder for second let's bring in the pink chair on your way turn it a little bit yeah that's why and let's put her on that on the side where michael's at okay mama stay real close with her to the squirrel not we'll switch e ah you could just hold she o tio big boo boo big mover michael a little bit I think I want her on this side ok you won't turn the chair to alistair actually turned the chair the other direction and now put her right where she wass yeah pink background yeah uh mmm mmm mmm mmm hee hee hee teo teo okay gorgeous just too cute are you okay do you think we could have her let's keep ever sit in the chair but again it's real important have you sit really close right there mike I just want to assure okay okay I'm going to switch with you I'm gonna let you okay entertain her yeah that'll spotter you like the way she's turned and everything turned out just a little bit more towards the window right there perfect, good, good, good, good, good yeah, you know, they had somebody's always gonna catch you, huh? Are you getting full length or close up? Uh I was gonna get full like I just want one so just move right got it all that's sweet. Now get close up good e e mommy get you get you well, look at that theo got it got it and got it I'm good I got it. Okay let's take some questions from the audience wei have first of all a huge hand for jessica and claire aren't bambi well, people are absolutely loving watching you shoot again like in your environment with your pieces it's just very fun so one of the questions that keeps coming up is when people are watching the shots that you're coming up with are you cropping wider in with your end product in mind or are you crapping in camera what's kind of is it different? Is it different with children than it might be for other subject? Great question actually I'm doing both there are sometimes when I'm cropping I'm giving myself a little bit more room because I don't know what I will need to do with that file later on I might decide that I want I know that the the sequence of this image might need to be ah horizontal when it it's a vertical and I just shoot it is a vertical for whatever reason on dh so there are occasions when I will crop it later on but as a general rule I like to crop it in the camera the way that I intend to show it I really I want to be able to do that you'll notice that in some of the shots like michael's hand is maybe in the picture I'm not worried about that I'll crop it out later on if I've got a great expression so there are times when I have to air on this I have to make a mistake I have to take a shot knowing that it's not perfect on dh then I can correct for you if I've got a little bit of his face in the shot or his hand or something of that nature that's great um picks by shauna is wondering do you take into consideration nap times and etcetera one booking your client a question? Do you communicate about napping and feeding times for younger babies as well? That is a terrific question absolutely in fact player her naptime is from like nine thirty to eleven so we schedule for appointment at eleven thirty and as you can tell it was perfect I mean she was just like the perfect child she was just if she would give us anything we wanted and so I do try to do that and we try to communicate that with our families as well. However it doesn't always work and that's one of the reasons I think that it's important to try teo be who you need for that particular client, you'll notice that we behaved completely different with this family with this young baby than we did with the family that you saw earlier and I think that's important for you to see because you have to handle each client it's kind of feel out what you need to become and become that person that you need for that client some kids maur energy is great you get him all excited and they haven't fun and then they start running around and it's a great thing other children if you have if you have that kind of approach you frighten them and our goal is not to frighten them we want to just make them enjoy the experience who wanted to come back and make it just a real positive experience for the parent as well child and that's one of the reasons why we try to keep our set very, very simple you'll notice that we don't have to we're not having to spend a lot of time moving things around also when it comes to our props are props are very simple this by the way is also one of my consignment store finds I paid fifty dollars for this chair the cool thing about that because it was so inexpensive I could take it down to the beach if I want teo and me can get totally dirty I could put nick and babies on it and they pee on it I don't care I'll just you know get rid of that you know after after I'm done so there's very little investment and yet it looks great on film or it looks great through the camera all right, one more question before we go to break and that was from fashion tv who is wondering about your choice of lens with children and babies? Oh, so in your studio right here you have enough space for that seven aged two hundred is that what you always use for children or are their recommendations for lenses if you don't have that much a place that you would use in the scenario? Great question as a general I like the seventy two, two hundred millimeter lens I'm real comfortable working with it, but I also will use the fifty millimeter lens that's actually probably my second favorite and if I had a smaller camera room that I'd probably I'd probably opt for that lens I'm not a huge fan of wide angle lenses with the exception of there are occasions when you want the entire environment to show up um and francis when we're photographing down the hallway, sometimes we may want to have all of the art just show up and you could do that with a little bit of a wider lens, so I think it really depends on the situation fifty would be second in line but seventy two hundred is is really good as long as it's like one child if you're working with a group of children like a big group is a family the seventy two hundred can still work as long as you're back a distance from them if you get too close and you can have problems. It's focusing on the back people so

Class Description

Are you thinking about creating, revamping or maximizing your home or studio space? In this creativeLIVE photography course, Bambi Cantrell shows you how to take everyday materials to design stunning shooting spaces, and how to use available areas such as doors and windows for special effects. You'll discover how to use your marketing money in the most efficient way, including strategically working with local businesses, auctions and bridal fairs, as well as how to create a strong marketing brand. You'll come away from this photography course with everything you need to identify and create inventive shooting spaces, a strong marketing plan, and a new look for your business!

In this in-depth look inside Bambi's studio, you'll see all of the materials and processes she uses, including how she scours thrift shops for props and sets up her award-winning shoots.