Understanding Your Client

 

Family Portraits

 

Lesson Info

Understanding Your Client

this is a key element right I mean key you can learn all the posing we've been learning how to work your camera um I mean you can learn lighting if you don't really understand your client you're lost one from an emotional standpoint howto work witham and two from a sale standpoint on how to sell your client and what they value what they want to purchase and where is it going to go what does it mean to them what family portrait ce mean to one mom at this stage in her life means something different to a different mom at a different stage in our life so understanding that really is totally important so we're going to cover developmental stages of children and most moms kind of know this if you're you know it's been a while since you've had little kids some things you may have gotten but let's just talk about what's on mom's mind right you sit with mom and the first thing mom is worried about is well a fatter I mean it's just the number one thing moms worry about is my hair and makeup well...

my kids behave and not embarrass me this is huge for moms because for a lot of moms and this understanding moms the way their children behave is a direct reflection of who they are and what kind of mother they are so if their kids aren't like perfect and doing exactly what they're supposed to do they literally feel like a failure and so ah lot of times at this point moms are you know kind of do you're told me told you know and they kind of get on the kids and when you really just want the kids to relax um well my husband embarrass me that's another good one because nine times out of ten dads are really along for the ride it's a rare that it dad's like hey honey let's get a family portrait done right usually mom that wants a family portrait and so dad usually call right you have to take off work what is this going to take um I'm going to look good in the pictures that's another huge concern for mom and we as photographers want to make her feel comfortable knowing one don't worry about the kids if they misbehave that's okay yes you're going to look good um no your husband's not gonna embarrass you so a lot of these things we talk about we talk about at the consultation which you know a lot of people were asking about like the step by step process even getting to that session and we're lucky because we're going to be able to do a mock a mock consultation on wednesday but I'm just gonna go over a lot of the things I do talk about with um mom's now will I look natural and relaxed you know what if I have a breakout dio do do do photo shop that you know mom it's like a household word now you know photo shop I don't I mean back in the day of film nobody said well you know do do airbrushing I guess you know what we did um yeah that's a funny story to to anybody here ever ah retouch negatives I did retouching negatives is crazy right so I mean but that's what the old masters used to deal you see all those gorgeous hurrell portrait's and the skin is flawless and I retouched negatives so I took two weeks of negative retouching which was in same to you sitting there with a magnifying glass and teeny tiny brushes and adding inks two negatives yeah photo shops a heck of a lot easier saying um all right what's on dad's mind how much is this gonna cost really right is that it's like totally normal uh this makes her happy I'll do whatever makes her happy if mom's happy everybody's happy I hope the kids behave that's another thing uh and a lot of times parents will completely over prep their children and you can always tell you know because the kids walk in and they're all like you know like perfectly smiling or not even perfectly smiling but over smiling over trying you know really like training to behave and you know you can always tell moms who are just like he did your told you I told you remember we talked about this and if you do everything you're told remember we'll get we'll goto toys r us and get video tons of toys I'm like please tell me you did not do that to your child um that is the last thing I want to do today do I look fat is that that doesn't want to look fat either uh can she had a hare and photo shop I hear some dads oh hey could you add a little hair and photoshopped I can you won't look like yourself but I can damn well do it um how long will this take so when I first it with mom she's going to be worried about uh hair clothing location her children on dso I really talked to her about just enjoying the process the more you enjoy this the better the image is there going to be and it's totally nerve wracking and I tell you not to worry and I tell you not to worry about clothes and but some moms air very relaxed and that go with it and some moms will stress over which necklace to wear does the necklace match the earrings you know is this hair in places that hair out of place so depending on the client you really need to you know psychologically calm them down or build them up right if you have very nervous mom's and she's afraid it doesn't look good for your self esteem is one hundred percent there we need a builder out when you be like that's perfect you look amazing I love your hair today no it should be you know the insecure mom will ask a lot of questions what do you think of this shirt is this the right church practices because bright color okay yeah it's perfect you look amazing I couldn't have done it better myself okay you sure right yes well my hips look fat no you look great so you know I mean and then you have some moms who are like the commanding mother you know everybody's got to be in line and doing this this and this and sometimes I say hey let me do the work don't talk to the children my parents is low when you don't talk to children or sometimes I just have to say to the kids ignore your parents I'm the only person you have to listen to right now and I'm like yeah I was my mom I'm like unless you misbehave and then I handed over your mom so you know it's creating my dynamic it's uh when we meet dad sometimes I sometimes I mean that at the session for the first time and you have got her create a report with that on the spot because it's usually mom who comes to the session or the sales consultation it's usually mom who's interested in the portrait and a lot of times I'm either meeting all of the kids and dad the day of the session and I have about three minutes to create a report three minutes to just say hey this is gonna be fun and usually just say to dad and like yeah this is what you really want to do today isn't it and he likes start laughing you know if it's a sunday by any chance of like you'd rather be home watching football with you yeah I would I'd like don't worry I promise is gonna be quick quick and painless and like yeah and the best compliment you can get after a session was dad saying you know I was kind of fun yes if you get that from dad awesome that's you've really done a good job and dad's will just tell me straight up no I was really worried truly didn't want to do this my wife talked me into it but you know I gotta say that was a lot of fun you made it really easy and so that's what I want to hear from people ah lot of times when I meet kids for the first time depending on their age I just get down on the floor all the way down I'm pretty small to begin with but as adults we're pretty intimidating to kids especially when you like looking down over them hi how are you you know their it's pretty scary so nine times out of ten I just get right down on the floor no matter where I am sit criss cross apple sauce and I'm like hey you know how old are you what's your name and you know and then this is one of the funniest thing you can ask any like three to six year old are you married yet see like totally kid just like no married it was so kids love silly questions and really backing up to that consultation again I talked to mom about what her kids are into what ages are they what school they go to what greater than what hobbies are they into are they into sports what's their favorite baseball team football team if the more you know about the kids and dad the day the session the more you could be I hear you're a yankees fan awesome are I hear you're a cubs fan and I don't know if I can take your portrait we might have a problem you know and they're like it's like oh cool she knows something about me more you can know about the people you're going to photograph the better off because you can put them at ease because you know something about that we have something to talk about ask any three four five or six year old little girl who her favorite princesses you can ask some boys to they might have one um but it's true ask any little girl tell me who is your favorite princess every little girl has a favorite princess I have a favorite princess and when I tell them that they're like you do you know the princess is absolutely ideo there's jasmine and bell in cinderella and there's milan and you know all the princesses there are and they usually like cinderella or belle like cinderella police she stands around waiting for mr right loser shoe where's pretty closed alec and little girls like what like you want a real princess you got to go with milan and I like really like think about it long single handedly saved china she goes into the army dressed is a man good on you right and she saves china that's my kind of princess she's a butt kicking save china kind of princess I'm not into the fancy dress little bell singing with the bluebirds kind of princess I like a cool princess jasmine dress is a little bit to scan scanning leaf yeah like she's shows a lot of belly not into jasmine and literally girls are like looking at me like we could have this whole conversation about princesses and I'm instantly engaged that we instantly have something to talk about they like me ask a little boy who's your favorite character from cars maeder lightning mcqueen sally so as you know as a person who's working with children and families you've got to get into movies yeah so that would be going child I have an older child who takes a long time to warm up to somebody what are some of your tips and tricks on kind of howto warm them up so they're not the iceberg right if that's an important thing to know in advance say something we talk about on the phone and that in that case I might recommend that you bring that child to the consultation so we can meet beforehand um sometimes you know kids are in school but if you have a really shy child it takes time to warm up to then let's talk let's meet beforehand this way we kind of can already create a rip poor and usually I'll wait for that child to warm up by working with everyone else so they start to feel safe like this is okay if you pick on them first to get very nervous they don't want to do it like you know and sometimes I'll just even say to the kids all right who wants to go first and then I instantly know who's the outgoing kid and who's the shy kid because the outgoing kids like me maybe I wanna go first and the shy kids like you know back in a way so I'll usually work with the you know them more adventurous children and then I'll move on and and my demeanor will change with that child I get a little bit quieter like you know maybe do something with them by themselves first and say you know is like didn't do not like cameras you know and you know I really like karen like you're quite I got one just like it home you know so anyway you confined to identify and create that relationship it's all this is about eighty percent relationship um and during that consultation with mom I'm begging her not to over prep the children this is like the best thing that moms do that totally crack me up um they make their kids practice smiling right and we get to this session that day and they're like okay show michelle your pretty smile remember that what we've been practicing all week and I'm like day because I'm gonna get this right that forced practiced nasty smile and the mom's gonna go no no no no no no not that smile and then the kids like well what I just smiled so instantly were now like knocking this poor kid's self esteem down because mom said smile they smile but it's not the right smile so I can't do anything right in this it's thinks and there's gonna be a bad experience and I'm like mom please do not ask your children to practice smiling because a lot of times I will never ask a child to smile all right I mean I'll talk to them and that's the point of being on that tripod being above my camera having that contact so you tell me what your favorite subject you know uh really like math math likes math like like what kind of math you know and then I start you know tell me what kind of mathew play sports what kind of sports do you play who's your coach uh oh hey who's your best friend oh my best friend is so and so are they funny why are they your best friend the best way teo get expressions from anybody a simple conversation and the best way to do that is to start with what you know kids like what moms like with dad's like you know what does that do you know what what what you guys like to do together as a family you know and ask parents what's your children's favorite movies anybody with young kids understands your child can watch the same movie for hundred times to the point where you just want to wreck the dvd like you just can't take any more but that like okay stuart little for me oh my bash I can you turn that on I can start like no quoting the movie but it works for me because especially monsters that kid's loves monsters a scully and in all your paperwork blue's clues the worthy explore the watch sesame street cookie monster elmo you know those characters were so endearing to children that's their whole lives think about little kids their whole life is their parents their house their siblings and the characters that they know from tv and movies and stuff right or books so if you can identify with those characters I'm telling you every person who photographs children in any capacity whether it's just children are families with children you better have a stockpile of kids movies at home and you gotta know if you know if he new movies come out and not take my daughter to like see kids movies just cause I want to see him so I know what's going on like if you know harry potter I'm not great with harry potter but you know the teenage there's a big group of teenagers at all harry potter twilight oh forget it talked to a teenage girl about twilight hello I mean you know talk about edward and there was dreamy creamy skin tones he has you know it's like you have to put your put yourself in their world what goes on in their world what can identify with so yeah so let's just talk about some of the developmental stages six to three months old uh no sorry three to six months old um they're beginning to play peekaboo this is a great age get kids making the little hand movements um at this age they really believe when they cover their eyes you're not there and there was surprise like peekaboo their surprise that you're standing there when they open their eyes because in their mind here you're not there and then I look you're there they can respond to their own name so this is a good you know obviously behind a camera a like you know taylor you're again they will respond to their own name um I need to back up just a little bit too like infants infants don't respond to their own name on guy was saying earlier to these guys before what came back from break that actually had a mom once cuing her five day old infant to smile which I thought was like really bizarre so I'm getting there I'm setting the baby opens his all curled up and cute and mom is like literally over my shoulder gone bella bella smile smile for the camera and I'm doing these you know she's only five days old right like she can't smile if she does it's because she has gas like but you already have super high expectations of this poor kid like what could happen in first grade are you reading like the encyclopedia I graduated college and she's actually one of the babies I had to send home because it was really colicky and end up crying the whole time she had to come back the next day but um you know infants if you photograph infants a couple of real quick tips could you may photograph infants is part of a family grouping ah if you do infants recommend indoors in the studio uh the room needs to be warm infants don't like to be cold if you doing like anything of mom and baby meal naked baby together or dad I really need to have a warm room probably any degree it's not warmer than that you need to be prepared to be pete and possibly pooped on it's gonna happen you need to let dad know to be prepared to cause first time dad's never prepared for that and then they're like that but I'm dumb what e just turned into a comedy scene um you know patients I used usually scheduled four hours anytime in infants coming in and if it's an infant with older siblings out probably even schedule a little bit more time because you just never know how long and infants gonna take to settle down if they fear the sleep like there's just all kinds of variables um and I like to just really take my time with that age because mom's generally still not feeling one hundred per cent because you just had a baby within a week or so but those were some really good tips for working with infants room's got to be warm if you take clothes off a newborn baby and they're crying they're probably cold so and I say to dad you're going to sweat and I'm really sorry and as you like man it's really hot in here and they have to walk outside so that's actually newborn and yeah they just they'll curl up and you know I don't like to do a whole lot of ridiculous things with infants because they're just so perfect the way they are but just just so you know that but anyway so three to six months um they respond to a parent's voice differently than they will respond to your voice there they're already tuned into a parent voice so sometimes will have parents talked to that age over my shoulder or even grand parents or voices that they're super familiar with um they'll attempt at this age to imitate sounds you teo who are you know uh like you get vowel sounds out of them and they laugh out loud six months is like my favorite chubby roly poley baby age because they they're usually brought us six months like pretty chunky and stocky but they can't really go anywhere so roll over like little weeble wobbles at this age um and they just laugh so it's probably one of my favorite favorite ages to photograph like six months old and they smile spontaneously they just happy this like your life is good six to nine months they'll can express strange rings I this is when kids are like way want mommy um sometimes you can't photograph on by themselves because they really do have a lot of stranger anxiety they'll be clingy to mom or dad they respond to language language and gestures and khun distinguish friends from strangers so at this age if they haven't met you before they'll know like stranger stranger on dh they'll be more comfortable with mom or granddad or you know a family member in the room so but this is being of stranger anxiety so if you have a super clingy six to nine month old it's totally normal you know use mom and dad as a prop at this point so let the baby stay with mom and dad maybe get something over the shoulder or sitting on dad's lap where the baby's holding dad's hands you can use parents is a prop at this point without sacrificing say getting individual shot of the baby but just know that that's totally normal and you know it's okay to say tomorrow because mommy like I don't know that she's usually love this she's really not like this she's such a friendly baby or my kid loves the camera and then as soon as you lift up your camera kids screaming all right this is so unlike my child I don't understand it's totally normal and the more you can tell mom her child is totally normal the better she'll feel really is especially first time moms this's normal really yes okay could you somewhere mike don't worry it's okay ages nine to twelve months this is when they can start walking and sat wobbly fall down there but uh oh you know getting ready to talk they definitely respond to a firm no and then they go you know that look like how dare you they still experienced stranger anxiety at this point they can hold small objects in their hands so this is a great age for distracting kids with like a little cheerio are raisin or a little baby book or a tiny stuffed animal little flowers so this is the age where they'll get distracted and they can hold something in their hand and if you give him something to hold it'll probably end up in their mouth but you have a couple of minutes or seconds right before they do that catch the images that you want or being able to put something in their hand teo you get their attention and sit them on mom's lap and keep him there for a minute because otherwise they're like kind of ready to go um they understand that objects still exist when not in view different from that like three to six months old when they play peekaboo when they're surprised to see you because when they didn't see you weren't there in their mind so at this point they know if mom steps behind the wall she's right there she's not going anywhere andi respond to silly noises he's right you know uh little squeaky toys and um you know high pitch in ways I have a very high pitched sounding voice when I wanted to be so kids often you respond to that so as long as you know what to expect at thes ages and that it's normal you'll be like okay no problem one to two years oh boy attention span two to three minutes that's it so every two to three minutes guess what you have to take a break every two to three minutes like it's time to take a break and that kidneys you just run and run and run and run and then come back okay ready to go again and this will far straight parents to no end especially the parents who feel if their children aren't behaving exactly perfectly like angelic little cherubs with wings on their back that somehow you're going to think badly about them and again I have to say this is totally normal for a fifteen month old an eighteen month old you know two year old run run run run run that's all they're going to do they do show pride in new accomplishments so this is a kind of a time where you could say I bet you can't do that betcha can't I bet you can't sit there oh yes I can I'll show you I'm very proud of my accomplishments so you can start to use that psychology of I bet you can because they take pride and showing you that they can so if you know that you can pull that little line and sometimes it backfires and you get no I don't want to okay they can express negative feelings no I don't want to write there's there's all kinds of stuff that kids dio they can show affection for their parents at this point they could begins a match similar objects so sometimes if we're out on locations I'll have like a two year old go look for a purple rock with green polka dots they're never going to find a purple rock with green polka dots but they sure are gonna look cute trying to find it right looking down leaning over looking back me when I don't see it there's no purple route right and so we're gonna get what do you mean there's no proper I'm sure there's thousands of rocks there you can't find one purple rock with green polka dots but they want to find it because they want to show you their new accomplishment and finding it so they're going to be hell bent on finding that rock so you got to notice about this age isn't they find the psychology kids and he's crazy all right two to three years I told you hang up on parents with kids this age I'm really sorry I'm just put put a waiver in my contract if your child is between the ages of two and three I'm out I'm kidding I'm really really really kidding but this age has an attention span of only three to four minutes long right what does that mean every three or four minutes we have to take a break there more assertive they love to say no at this age no no no no okay no they experienced rapid mood changes they're worse than teenagers they go from like running around happy as can be to like throwing a temper tantrum and smack in their head on the floor and you're like what had happened I don't understand right it's normal in thirty seconds they're going to be fine gonna walk away we're not going to make a big fuss over it that's probably the best thing you can do for kids who throw themselves on the floor let me know when you're done I used to do that my daughter all the time you know she luckily didn't throw many temper tantrums but even as the photographer the more attention you give it the longer will last no joke so all right let me know when you don't that will temper tantrum I'll be over here at this age if you say okay if you do this now give you a lollipop I feel like I want to know I want to like right now right now we'll deliver session over done like I'm not kidding exit right anybody with this age knows no no no that this ages it's away more about mental manipulation at this age and it is about a treat or reward because this age cannot corley if I do this now I get a reward later they hear the reward and they want it right now it's the most narcissistic age that exists this is age no joke right um they require instant gratification now right now you know it's it's the front you see you know what I'm talking about two year old um self regulating is a big challenge they don't know how to do it they don't know how to regulate their emotions they don't know how to say okay if I do this now this will happen later are they defend possessions my mommy my that's my daddy the best thing I can use no that's my daddy no it's not it's my daddy they get so mad it is so funny oh come on can I just can I borrow your mom I need a mom no it's my mom okay so we could like kind of have like a little banter with that okay okay you can keep your mom okay yeah um they couldn't participate in simple group activities you know at the ring around the rosie or you know something where you can sit in a circle and passed something around so a lot of times with this age if they have older siblings and I can't get this age to co operate I'll put a minister in an area that has beautiful texture depth light direction and I'll say you know what you guys just play ring around the rosy oh and that would play ring around the rosey and when that's happening and they're hopping and they're looking at each other and we're getting great candid images because at this age they're sometimes you will not be able to pose this age at all and you just have to figure that out and it's okay um they have a short memory so if they threw a temper tantrum ten minutes ago most likely they're going to forget about it it's going to be over um and they believe everything you say this is the age of yeah really like they totally like you know there's a green monster with big ugly scary teeth behind that door mom there's a big monster behind that door like just believe anything that you say at this age so be really careful with what you say right um they're very curious they in every what's this what's this when why how right this is the age of like between two and three when they're just they want to like play with your camera they'll walk up to a camera like check out your tripod they'll wanna touch stuff and you know parents are like no don't touch that you know um they're completely self centered this is the most narcissistic age of children honest to god um you know it's me me me now now now right now me me me not you they meet frustration with crying kicking and biting you know the temper tantrum if they don't have express themselves yet so when the kid is throwing a temper tantrum or they're biting something or they're yelling and break down crying it's their frustrated and it did not have the skill set to express what's going on so he kind of just have to let it settle now walk away you know and sometimes moms and dads can escalate it because they don't understand that age you know okay no it's easier to say okay what can I do for you you know okay what do you need right now and sometimes a kid will be able to articulate once you ask him the question but they will often not even know why they're upset right it's pretty interesting three to four years we haven't attention span of four to seven minutes so what does that mean every about five minutes or so we need to take a break so if you pose in the family and the kids were all sitting nice and need together and then all of a sudden that kid that was sitting up nice and tall and really behaving also like slumped and like doing this it's because they're bored and they need a break right so we needed okay break going around go have a conversation or you know whatever it is that you need to do is just take a few minutes this is why I say to parents a session can take anywhere from an hour and a half with kids age on hour and a half to two hours and that doesn't mean the shooting that whole time means they'll be breaks means we'll be taking our time means well you know give the kids time to run around blow off some steam have some fun maybe I'll do some candid images of them um but you know don't feel like you're gonna be sitting posing for an hour and a half will be moving to different locations the more you can prepare mom and this is why I can't pre consultations air sole vitally important the more that you can prepare mom for what to expect the better off you'll be um this is like they want please age like you know I wantto like please you don't want to do what you say I want a smile for you they want to help there's like hole you let me show you hey I could do this you know they want to pretend at this age they pretend to be animals this is a great age of you know what sound is this made with sound and what is a tiger look like you know they're interested in others so if I say I have an opinion about something they'll be like they'll listen because they're not quite so narcissistic now they kind of care about um what you know what you think this is the how and why years why how how and why why do you have that camera why do you have that what's that right and so sometimes a lot of your session is taking up answering questions well this is a device I used for white balancing what's the white balance well white balancing is did it a well why do you need to do that and then you all say we'll know why do you have on blue jeans well because my mom made me wear them just totally silly things ages four to five years uh now we have an attention span of five to ten minutes right this is good stuff now we can really get into the meat of our session uh attention span of five to ten minutes and they're beginning to understand moral reasoning they understand right and wrong starts understand good behavior over bad behavior they understand throwing a temper temper tantrum is not a good thing and now they really start to understand cause and effect all right if you do this for me now I have a treat for you later oh okay so and they kind of like to know in time you know okay in five minutes we're going to do this in ten minutes we could do that okay well can we do this yes I would love to do your pose because that's a good one I see where you're going with this but we need to do what I need to do first and if you do what I do then we can do what you do okay well can I take your picture have you ever had like kids say hey can can I take your pick in pairs like you can't touch that cameron like it's okay um I had a recent uh blended families are particularly interesting right I know I'm queen of photographing the blended family and I'll tell you why because I have a very very blended family all right so the dude and she is my ex husband who I'm still very close with the dude machine so I was still very close to still live in the same neighborhood there's actually great acknowledgement to him in the beginning of the book on dh he's married to amazing woman named louise who I name that you're this camera is least because I felt like if I was talking to louise in the camera and feel more comfortable so I named camera one is which I'm talking to right now lise so poor tracy's actually running that camera is now louise but anyway so families is named after well the cameras named after lease but louisa's my daughters stepmother right but over the years I've developed a relationship and we've become very good friends and really bottom line is I would like her if I met her anywhere and since you know very amicable with my ex husband I'm just happy he's happy so over the years so we did yoga together I train her gym and every year I do their family portrait all right I know it's great the first year we sent out our christmas card and to the door and said you know portrait's by michelle's helen tanno and our family cauldrons like all your cards beautiful wooded your christmas cards and she says gerry's ex wife you could only imagine the reaction she got from her entire family but anyway so we do it every year now we call it the functional dysfunctional family portrait and so I have to step daughters of my own and my husband and so anna's got a stepmother step father one year we're just going to do all the whole family together like anne is going to be the center of my daughter that's going over dad me paul my daughter's and then her set family you know louise and the kids on this side is going to be again and you'll be like me and my family all right like there need to be reality show about us for sure but anyway so but the interesting thing is you know a photograph a lot of blended families and they're some of the craziest dynamic because you have say for example a step mom with new step children and they're still not comfortable in their rules and sometimes the kids still aren't comfortable seeing their parent with another partner and so will act up and it's totally normal because they're just not used to it and sometimes parents like oh it's no big deal everybody gets along fine you know the kids really love her like yeah they really like her but it's still really hard for kids to see their parents with someone else and it could be for the rest of their life so sometimes you'll see a normally well behaved child acting up because this is a really uncomfortable situation for them and I get it I totally get it and so I'm able to work around that and I'm able to say to the adults and the parents it's okay it's an uncomfortable situation for them and a lot of ways one because okay we're having portrait and no I don't wantto insult or hurt my other parent right it is really the pressure on kids is huge if you understand this you'll get through this a whole lot better if I wasn't exactly planning on going off on this tangent but it's a good one um so anyway the a blended family well I've had kids like I'm photographing the parents you know the step mom and the dad together and the kids all of a sudden like acting up jumping in front of the camera you know like trying to put their faith because they're not comfortable with their dad being in a picture with this other person and they also feel loyalty towards mom and this would make mama unhappy and I can't tell her so they feel like they're hiding something from their mom there's all sorts of deep psychological things going on when you photograph families like it's just crazy and so I had one little guy jump it up in front of my camera jumping up jumping up jumping I'm finally like austin come over here I need your help come over here sen it's me and even make you make your dad laugh here's what we're going to take the picture I said okay I'll make you a deal if you stand over here and get your dad laugh I will let you take the last picture of the day and I'll get in it he's like you will I said yes so the last picture of the day austin took it and it's me my clients and their wanton little kid and he totally chop my head off it's so funny but it totally got him to where he had a little bit of control in that whole situation because kids need to feel a little bit of control which is why I sometimes have to say do you have an idea what do you want to show me what you would do and it gives a kiss a little bit of like oh okay I'm a little control here and then they're way more adaptable to doing what you want todo so instead of me just yelling it on because his dad was already l austin cut it out cut it out cut it out stop jumping from the camera right that's not going to get us anywhere so for me to turn it around and give the kid a job and then give him a little control made him way more comfortable we got the images he sat for the next session that we needed to do in a new location it all worked out and I was explaining to them the kids are in the no no they're not responsible they love her like yeah I know I get that but there's a still deep underlying feeling of my parent is with some what else and even though I really like her I don't know if I'm supposed to like her will my mom be mad if I like her it's so difficult and if you if you really understand this it's okay so like you know with ann and louise I love that they have a great relationship and like I'll do their portrait separate off photograph we's in her daughter olivia and anna and olivia and olivia and and and I said that and then wees and anna and so she has a picture and then everyone you know wants while blake hey can I jump in this one yeah so I like jumping the shot and you know in olivia will take my picture and with an s o you know it's the most important thing you can do is make those kids feel comfortable and the parents too so when it's not a blended family sure it's a little bit easier but how many of us are photographing blended families more and more right it's pretty common so just understanding how kids feel about that whole scenario can really make your life a whole lot easier wow that was a good tangent huh good stuff all right where were we oh yeah the beginning to understand reasoning at the age of four to five they understand cause and effect if you do this now we can do this later and they're starting to compare themselves with others right I'm faster you're going to see us race I'm faster so they're all of a sudden like a competition so there's a great age of like let's say you could sit nice the longest all right I can do it I can I can sit long this because I'm in competition but I want to be the best and I'm comparing myself to my brother and so I'm I'm gonna do the best job if you know that then you know how to pull out okay who can sit their longest okay who's going to be well behaved the longest who's goingto who's not gonna crack who's not gonna smile first all right um they're aware of other people's feelings they still like to pretend so a lot of times a little kid I go ok let's pretend you're in a movie and this is a set and it's like you know some whatever movies out yeah yeah and you're the star so I need to be a star in a movie okay I've given them a role bring them something to do they like to be helpful at this age can carry a bag sure you know carry this gonna carry that no problem they enjoy obedience and they thrive on praise at this age you're all great job great job really good you're such a good boy that's awesome so at this age is so four five really cute it's really an awesome age and the other thing with all of these ages is you know working that expression and most the time like I said I'll never really say to kids no smile if you say to a kid smile you're gonna get right it's what I call that eat and smile you know I'm talking about anyway and so you know when parents will do this to kids no no no no no that smile your pretty smile what does that mean to a little kid they don't know so you say this poor kid who thinks they're behaving they think they're smiling they I think they're doing the right thing and then mom comes in and shoots him down with not that smile I don't like that smile like and you know instead of building the kid up they instantly knocked this poor little kid down and they're like well what smile did you mean I mean you're like the smile like I did what you asked and and so I did I do his parents all the time which makes the kids laugh right so like you know especially because I love this like you're shooting you know family kids and like mom's over your shoulder and go ok lean on lean in lean toward you david lean towards daddy lean and just a little bit lina did you hear she said lena this is shut up all right you know what I'm talking about is the cream parents like reiterate everything you say because they think the kid's not gonna listen to you you're really gonna listen to your parents so I'm like okay that's enough over there really yes you want good pictures of your kids or bad cause I can make it happen either way I don't want this to go down so sometimes it's just like that little trust me okay anyway that's kind of funny that's often another tangent I'm just I'm full of it today in filling you um but yeah it's okay to be that direct you know if you're the master of your craft and you know your parents are getting in the way of good photographs send them away you know and sometimes the best thing you could do with kisses my favorite things to do um a lot of times it's just actually warming up facial muscles so they can relax because kids get tense as well and so little kind of me you know you know that that tight lipped when sometimes when their teeth are ronin or that braces they get really awkward and so some of some of the times I'm just like okay let me see your mad face let me see your sad face let me see your happy face let me see your mom could I please have some ice cream face and so I I worked all these different expressions and here is the funniest thing mom's over my shoulder I don't want that face I know I know she is okay because somewhere in the middle of all those funny faces a natural smile comes out the natural smile that mom knows best and here's the thing mom always misses it she doesn't actually see that the kids somewhere in between all their smile naturally when she comes back to the studio see the images she's like I can't believe you got that expression I know oh that's my favorite face he makes because it's natural you know it's that moment when you know what mom's always know oh no that's that's a fake smile that he's trying too hard so instead of asking for that smile ask for all kinds of other crazy things let me see this face let me see missing really mad miss you like hold your breath for five minutes and then they can't help but they start laughing or sometimes okay I want to see serious really serious face and they'll try and you see you see their face like and then you get this like big laugh out loud because they're trying to be serious some kids I have to be like all like super serious like you know they take it and my okay maybe not that serious so that's that's kind of what we do right sixty eight years attentions fan of fifteen to twenty minutes they're very direct they will nothing back at this age they're filter lis just like me they thrive on praise and acceptance and they begin their beginning to have a little self confidence oh yeah check this out ah they want to be first best in the winter so that little competition things starting to come up again this is a great way to manipulate the thinking of this age to getting him to do what you want to dio who wants go first okay who could do this better um whose mom's favorite like you know don't joke around like no I'm just kidding okay mom doesn't have a favorite um or you know you can ask the kids okay who is the silly one and usually they're all like point to one you know okay which parent are you most afraid of but in the all point to lie dad so you know it just it relaxes them it puts him in a great space and when mom and dad start to see the relationship you're creating with the kids and how relaxed they're becoming and how they're responding teo mom and dad instantly get more relax and then they're like okay she really knows what she's doing right and so this is so critically important nine to twelve attention span is about thirty to forty five minutes so this is good this is a great age they like a challenge they understand rules they want to join in with the adults in their lives and they're sensitive to failure this is like that self esteem age you know that little bit of an awkward stage where they're sensitive to failure this is definitely the age where you never want to say to them oh no no no no no not that you know even if it's like yeah oh perfect that's great let's let's work with that let's keep going um so we want to want to build them up not break him down at this age and again just working with mom and dad now dad's in here all right and we're still working on dad and you've got hands off dad and you've got control freak dad's I'm talking about son do everything in the starr says no not like that and I and I have to say that I'm usually looking up political oh are like god you know so there is a certain command they have to have with your clients that they have to be able to trust you and again a lot of this happens during the consultation when I'm saying mom please don't over prep the kids it's the worst thing you can do don't tell him you're going to go for a special toy don't offer them a prize for behaving you don't want them to get expression for reward we want to just get a natural expression and I just really have to talk about how much fun this is gonna be that knowledge is a family portrait but years from now when you look back on it I want that time to have been special and fun and the family had a good time and it wasn't like awkward and weird and you know that your kids have a good time and that you may be after you all go out for dinner and you hang out and have a good time together and it should be an event it should be an event that over the years I look back on and say that was a lot of fun and that's you know that's part of where the albums come in to um and you would talk about it you know what the album and the opening of the segment but one of my favorite things to do is to sell albums right aren't we becoming an image list society right I'm so afraid that in twenty years from now there's not gonna be any pictures anywhere there's just going to be a bunch of hard drives and whatever the new devices hanging around with images we can't find right because I mean even as photographers I'm not that great at organizing my own family portrait so you know and a softball game and football game and is this game and zach came out of that you know birthday party and they sit you know so I feel like his photographer is this really our job to get these images printed on something tangible something that we can you know with through and look at and like you know remember the days when you were little and you'd flip through album since you know christmas time and making fun of people's hair and clothing and all that good stuff right um so I think we're missing out on that so as a photographer is a person who sells photography really try to encourage my clients to make albums to make prince make something tangible that they're gonna have toe old onto so those are your major ages anything twelve and up we're pretty good it's practically adults now we got seniors and I don't mean high school seniors right I mean like really seniors like old people you know I'm a sucker for old people I don't say old but elderly people I grew up in brooklyn new york I was raised you know by my grand parents my mom was single mom we lived with my grand parents so you know anna and anthony raised me from you know when I was two until my mother remarried when I was thirteen and we grew up in an old neighborhood so all of our neighbors were elderly and it was a community of rooted families that have been there for years and grand parents lived with the grandkids and so I grew up with elderly people and so really love elderly people and I love everything about them the wrinkles right all the things that elderly people really don't like about themselves once they get you know we're like bo tox nation right for none of our secrets wrinkles that people can appreciate at the time like we're supposed to write um they're funny and they're vain as all get out like really there just this vein as we are only worse they're worse you know because they know they're past their prime so you get this person coming in for a portrait and they know they're passed they feel like they they're past their prime their best looking age their youth their vigor all the things that you know what kind of value um when we're younger and so they're kind of pissed that at this age you asking to have their portrait done my friend terry who's actually camera number two you're very um I named all my cameras um she her grandmother just turned like ninety three this past weekend uh think it's ninety three and a couple of months ago I said you are I say have you had like a photograph or a portrait done a first like no we never having like and I know it probably came out totally the wrong way I'm like you need to do that before it's too late right but I mean that sincerely I know it came out like totally the wrong way but I genuinely sincerely mean that because we stopped photographing elderly people like there's a value that starts disappear because the image that we have of what youth and beauty is not but it's the people that we love the most that have most character that have the most stories to tell that raised us that we love no matter what and so terry brought grandma jenny and I don't have the images here but um scooter's little thing a little mexican lady you know like smaller than me and terry's like my height and then terry brought her daughter so we could do great grandmother mother daughter right so he didn't like four generations it was so much fun it was funny because it was freezing out that day and and jenny was like the grandma jenny was like the first elderly person be really excited about having your portrait done and terry was telling her to dress like in subdued colors like dark you know black and whatever and she came in hot purple pants and like a printed purple sweater like with flowers on it and then like a little black sweater you know like the ladies wear those old sweaters and tears like I'm sorry I had told her not to wear purple like it's fine that's who she is great but it was freezing out it was really cold this it was having to be during a cold snap in um haven't be in a cold snap in arizona and so uh you know poor grandma jenny's out there like literally playing freezing and I'm like do you wanna go inside you know we can take breaks like no no no and we did all this great stuff and uh this weekend was a birthday party and I made terry a print of just graham off for the party and they could have been more happy because they had that of her you know my husband's grandmother past couple of years ago and like a year before she passed it in portrait of her my mother in law and my husband and you're my mother in law so grateful that that we did that so they're funny and they're vain this is carolyn and valetta and I love her hands and you know she hated her hands right you're just like oh my hands are old and sun damage and spotted and wrinkly and I just hate them and uh it was caroline who asked to have this portrait done her mother lived out of state and was coming to live with her because her health was failing and she understood the importance of having a photograph so she brought her into the studio and that this is one of the images we created which was really it was so much fun and valetta was a very old school like dignified proper posture piano playing like you know just like this beautiful dignified older woman that just like you you leave the house dressed properly everything is pressed your hair's always fix joys have your lipstick on you know you speak properly like she's just adorable and caroline is actually piano teacher so I do a bunch of different things of them together and this is one of the last pose I did where had you know valetta come around caroline put her arms around her and you bring her I wanted a little closer john or her temple but she kind of landed up there and I love the way she looks I know you no allowed to just put your eyes down and caroline you know we've printed lots of different images for for them and caroline wrote an article for a local newspaper or magazine for a mother's day article and she talked about the value of having this portrait done and how she didn't even know at the time how much it meant to her you shoot but she did it for mom because they wanted to send out a little announcement villette has moved out of you know blah blah blah she's living with us you know here is how you know here's where you can contact her and she wrote in that article that um she knew when I did this pose of her that would be the last time her mother would have her arms wrapped around her that way because it's not something people normally do right and she said it was probably one of the most special tender moments that she ever had with her mother because she knew right then and there that it was probably the last time her mother would embrace her that way and was because I had asked him to do it I know it made me everybody cry I'm sorry at home I really am but this is why I love the idea of photographing seniors because you know look at a lot of her face and caroline carolyn's you know in her sixties and her mom was in her eighty so that's pretty special um I I love it anyway valetta did pass a couple of years ago on I took my daughter and I went to the service and my portrait of her was sitting next to the guest book which just it just moved me completely because that's the impact that we have on people that's the impact that we create in the portrait's that we make for people and her other children came up to me and hugged me and thanked me for doing that portrait of their mother because they all had one caroline had given it to them and then our grandchildren so that was the most beautiful portrait of my grandmother will cherish it forever you know I kind of think is his grandkids you don't remember your grandparent's is young in their twenties or thirties or four you remember your grand parents just like that right that's the most important thing like that's how you remember your grandmother so that's how we want to remember them so when they walk in and they're like I'm old I'm wrinkled not going to smile I don't know why she waited so long to do this and you just kind of have to grab ahold of women say it's okay it's just perfect the way it is so um this is my other favorite right I love love love this portrait again I love the hands and you know there's a couple things that we take with us when people that we care about pass and it's usually photographs and a piece of jewelry right and so I know that cathy you know the ring on anna is for mom and first of all her name is anna my grandmother was anna my daughter is ana she's a little tiny thing like my size I fell in love with her immediately because she comes in on our walker I think I was telling this because I tell the story today or yesterday I don't remember is it still the same days when we started that's awesome so anna walks in and it was about an hour from their house to my studio time and she walks in she got a little walker in a little one with the tennis balls on the bottom of the feet and she's like her this is like literally grunting at me like I'm not happy about this and she's like I don't know why kathy waited this long out my portrait done it's like my teeth were yellow my skin is wrinkled I'm fat my hands roll they have sun spots like do you couldn't have done this twenty years ago I'm just telling you right now I'm not going to smile like okay I'm good with that what whatever you want so it was kind of difficult for anna to move around so it's easier to have her stand and have kathy sit but also I love the fact that mom is wrapped around her daughter all right so that's a relationship I'm creating in the images that mom is wrapped around her daughter so I had a kathy bring her hands up and and has gotta rings on which you know and there's a house thinking cute they are and the great story behind this is with this whole session and it was difficult for them to get to me because you know it's hard for anna to get around um she didn't want to have his portrait done but she cooperated and so when it was time to deliver the portrait I called kathy and I said hey listen I said you guys already been out to my studio twice I know it's a long trip and it's difficult for you I'm going to come out to you I'm going to deliver the poor order it's and I'm gonna bring my anna to meet your anna so she's like oh you know well that would be wonderful will put out tea and cookies and like you know like old school going to visit like people in the neighborhood so we took a ride out there and I brought my anna and here's the funny thing so we walk in and they're all happy to see me in their love of portrait and anna takes me by the hand walks me around her house and shows me every picture and tells me about every person in that picture this was my husband before he passed and this was my sister and these are my kids when they were little and and I'm looking and I'm like that's the power of what we do she didn't want to have that portrait done but she loves portrait's right it's what she had all over black and white pictures this is my husband we were young it's me my husband on our hunting with all over the place like totally totally made my day I was like yes this is why we do what we do and so we stayed the whole afternoon we hung out with anna and cathy and um it just had such a great time I totally got lost coming home which was bad but um I didn't know the ana had passed until like maybe here after I had heard through the grapevine through some other clients and so I called cathy as soon as I found out and he said you know kathy I'm really sorry like it just heard about your mom and she's well thank you so much for calling and she says you know what I have to tell you my mother was a pain in the ass and she didn't want to have that portrait done but let me tell you something it was her prize possession when anyone ever anyone came to the house all she could do was talk about that portrait that you did because I photographed her by yourself and she was in those pictures meant more to her than you could ever know even though she was a pain in the ass and give you a hard time about it so I put them in the book when I called cathy to ask her for permission she just bald on the phone oh my gosh you want to put me and my mom and your a book and I would just be amazing pores and oh I might be so honored and so you know this business is so much about relationships I mean truly and honestly it's just about relationships um it's the eighty twenty rule right it's it's what we leave behind after we're gone you know after our clients have gone someday grandchildren and great grandchildren are gonna have these pictures that we took and I hope by the grace of the gods of photography that we have prints on them and they're they're not stuck in cyber land somewhere sitting on a cloud where no one can find them right make prince people please make prince don't sell dvds we'll get into that on another day but um right I mean I don't know I'm very passionate about it right cell photography not digital files anyway um eighty twenty rule it's all about your personality you know life in general is about what you give out everything you put out in life comes right back at you and it's the same in your business the same in your photography it's the same with the way you interact with children will you interact with your clients and the number one reason why people do business with you because they like you it has nothing to do with who's the best no it's such a misconception of like well you need to be the best photographer to get clients know you're just really kind of need to be the nicest one being a good photographer is a bonus but you really need to have that connection connect with your community the people in your community to do charity work for the people in your community to connect with elderly people maybe start a marketing campaign for really seniors not these high school seniors right I mean why aren't we doing senior photography more of it you know before it's too late I'm telling you I'm catholic I'm italian ided the guilt you know before you'd gone right and I use the someday when you're gone and your children have children on their own what will you have left behind for them right here right but that's how passion I feel about my work I wish everybody felt that passionately about their work and you know not just selling the idea of selling pretty pictures because we like taking pictures but selling the idea of leaving something behind that is bigger and and greater than you or the sum of the portrait that you did you know I have a hundred year old portrait of my grandfather at the age of three with my great grand parents it's actually it's in the book and I love that portrait it's over one hundred years old and you couldn't you couldn't I couldn't sell it to you for a million dollars you know I just I couldn't so connecting with people creating a following of people that really like you for who you are for what for how you make them feel it's really people like you because of how you make them feel if you can make people feel special and beautiful and like really cared about in that moment that's what life is all about you khun translate that into work then you're going to be successful no matter what you do the poses will come trust me he saw the early work but I still care about people just as much then as I do now the work just gets better so if you just have that driving passion behind what you do you're going to just grow is an artist you're going to grow in your community and people are going to come to because what you have to offer is so much more special than just a file or an image you know it's the experience it's eighty twenty rules eighty percent personality twenty percent technique twenty percent camera skills twenty percent post production and eight percent you eighty percent connecting getting your face away from the camera making kids make silly faces you know just adoring elderly I hold and his hands and I was like honey you are so stinking cute do you wanna do with her I said tell me about your because here's the thing with elderly people nobody asks them anything anymore you know they don't value the information that they carry with them you know we all think we know everything we're taking out a google it I wanted to ask you but all people love to tell stories they have the best stories they have the best stories about people and experiences and what it was like in my day and you know funny enough I'm already against that adrian michael in my day you know my dang I really just say that well back in my day because I feel like that sometimes I feel like we're back in my day of film and you know uh c forty one processing and in large er's and burning and dodging with your hands anybody remember that burning and dodging with your hand to be in the dark room I'm like this and you look at your imagine hot daren t too much you have to go back and put another print in right so like they tell stories like that tell stories about the war and their kids when their kids were growing up so a great way to get an id a warm up to me we just tell me about your husband what did you do no because her husband was probably in world war two and what did you do when he was that well you know I had a work I worked as a receptionist for this company well that was such a fun job and it was tough being a working mom at the time I don't envy these young moms today having work full time and you know and the information that she has a so valuable that that session was so much more about photographing her well is giving her a chance to voice who she is the life that she lived to have a new year toe listen to like that's all people want they just want to be listened to they just want somebody to tell their story to like really we all do right we are really all just wants someone to tell our story to this please listen to me I mean that hey I'm here right I'm just telling my story but I mean that's the power of what we do it's not about the piece of paper it's not about the file it's about the relationships we create so we make a peep well feel it's something we leave behind for children and grandchildren and hopefully great grandchildren wow I'm off on emotional tangent who chat room is crying tio they wanted teo ryklina several just like it for people make everybody crying yes kidding

Class Description

Learn family photography from Michele Celentano! You'll learn how to pose and light groups, but to be a family photographer you also have to be a psychologist, director, sales manager, a marketing director and postproduction expert. Spending three days with Michele will help you find the style of family portraits that you love, learn how to create portraits that illustrate family relationships and learn how to work with people of all ages, from newborn to 99.

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