Monday, 25 November 2013

What about shooting "studio" portraits at home?

Family portraits are a wonderful way to create memories to last a lifetime - or longer. And there are many ways to create those portraits. 

In good weather, going outside can be a great way to have some fun and make some great images as well. But when the weather is drab, or cold, what can you do? Move inside, of course!

Studio portraiture has the advantage of controlled lighting which means your images can be sculpted more clearly and in ways that can be more difficult in an outdoor setting. It is different - in some ways better and in some ways not as good, but overall, you can obtain some wonderfully dramatic images.

Home studios give you the opportunity of taking it up a notch. Kind of like a doctor - when you visit them at their office, they do the same things as at a house call, but somehow their office always feels colder - more sterile - less friendly. When they visit  you at home, you can be more relaxed. Some even say it helps you to heal faster. 

Unfortunately economics and logistics have made the doctors house call a thing of the past, but it doesn't have to be that way for photography thank goodness!

Familiar surroundings...

One of the biggest advantages of the home studio is the familiar surroundings. Even when a simple studio backdrop is set up, a family knows they are at home and feels at ease. When not in the makeshift "studio", they can sit on their own couch, even eat their own snacks, and wait for the next time they need to be in front of the camera.

When not using the "studio" setup, they can be photographed in their own home's decor, making for a natural "environmental" photo that not only portrays the family, but how they live as well. Photographing the family doing something they all enjoy - cooking in the kitchen, or playing a board game - can make the images more than a portrait; it can create a little bit of family history - something to bring back fond memories for decades to come. Something for generations to look back on and learn a little bit about their family.

In our fast paced - moment to moment - society, we don't think about looking back 30 years from now at how we were. But it is a little like stopping and smelling the roses - taking those moments now to capture them will bring a lot of joy down the road. 

The Weather...

Having your portraits done in your own home means that you won't have to worry about the weather! Good old Canadian Fall, winter and sometimes even spring can be very unpredictable and relying on a good weekend to take photos can mean sometimes rescheduling several times. 

Inside, the light can be controlled, and everyone can stay dry, so the photo session can go ahead just like the postman - in rain, sleet or hail.

Rambunctious kids...

Kids are kids! They are full of fun and energy. They simply ooze life! But tying them down for photographs can be a real challenge sometimes. That's another reason home portraits can be so great. Kids can play the way they would any time they are home. They can run around (assuming that's allowed in their house) while Mom and Dad are getting their portraits taken, or as each of the kids is having their individual portrait taken. Their own toys are available and they can play with them while they wait, or even bring them into the portraits. 

It is their space and naturally they are going to feel more "at home" because they are. When it comes time to move into the make shift "studio", it is not something that feels odd or contrived.

Whether photographing families outdoors or indoors, kids are usually excited and run around and play - and that helps them to smile lots! Perhaps the energy doesn't seem like it to us as adults, but It helps them relax in the process! Capturing them at just the right moment can be a challenge, but thank goodness the camera is fast!

Moments...

At home, opportunities arise that would be difficult to recreate in a normal studio. Moments can be created in an instant - and be over just as quickly.

In the photo to the left, Mom was sitting on the floor and we called the boys over to give her a kiss. They ran in, kissed her quickly and ran away again... it was over just that quickly! In that instant, a wonderful memory was created that will be cherished for a very long time. 

Indoor portraits...

So why not set up a portrait session at your home. You won't have to worry about the weather, and you might just find it a lot more relaxed. Whether indoors or outdoors, you will have some wonderful memories to share with your kids and grand-kids for lifetimes to come.

(c) 2013 Gary Scott - Gary's Lens Photography

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