Here are some responses from clients when I asked them why they chose me as their photographer:
"I was captured by your photos due to the lighting and it appeared that you were able to capture the moments naturally."
"We were looking for something natural and in the moment."
"I like pictures that look natural, some posed but also relaxed. Your photos all seem to capture the natural beauty."
"We like the natural lighting and natural interactions that you capture."
"Your style is unique from other professional photographers. The color and vibrance in your photos is noticeable as well as a focus on the subjects eyes."
"I personally am drawn to the locations and the way the lighting is used to your clients benefit. The pictures capture your clients in the moment and aren’t staged or prompted, this allows viewers to feel the moment /love between the people in the pictures."
I seem to find that a lot of people write about the natural interactions and my use of natural lighting. When I set out to become a photographer, my goal was to be a lifestyle photographer who cared less about posing and props and more about the interactions and the moment. I don't own any lighting equipment and I am not much for posing. I do understand posing is a necessary element in some sessions but I far prefer the natural interactions that you couldn't recreate even if you tried.
So, how do I accomplish images like this?
There is no way that I could recreate this above image because it simply isn't posed (merely prompted). Dad's eyebrow raise, the kids expressions, mom's beauty. Images like this is what I strive for. But, how do I capture it?
Let's be honest, every session starts out with an awkward moment because most people (including me) don't like to get their picture taken.
This is how our session started:
I'm pretty sure "grumpy pants" wasn't in my wardrobe guide but most of my sessions start this way.
In order to get real images, we have to get real.
Sometimes that means using words that are guaranteed to make kids laugh...boogers, booties, stinky feet - whatever it takes. In this case, I had to talk about dad's lack of hair to get Liam to giggle. Pretty soon, he realized it was okay to have fun and dad realized that I was going to pick on him for a minute but he didn't mind. I guarantee that I will act like a complete idiot in a photo shoot. Some things I do work to get genuine laughs and others are an epic fail. The key is to keep trying and to not take me or yourselves too seriously.
When my clients realize that I don't take myself too seriously, they begin to not take themselves too seriously. This mutual understanding has to occur to dissolve the formality of family photos and allows the natural interactions to transpire...and that's where the real magic happens.