The high-street portrait studio, whether the independent or one of the new breed of franchise chains has certainly raised the profile of professional social photography in the United Kingdom over the last decade. The styles on offer have evolved to be closer in feel to editorial and fashion images consumers see in the media every day. But is there any need to visit an actual studio at all?
I offer two forms of family portrait photography that can take place either in the familiar and comfortable surrounding of your own home or at a special outside location in the local area (Bristol, Bath and surrounding parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset).
A portrait shoot at home
The first option involves setting up a photographic studio in your own home. I need a reasonable amount of space, but not as much as you might think, and many typical family homes will be big enough. Generally, I need an area around 12′ x 12′ for full group shots, although 3/4 length portraits and headshots can be completed in a space smaller than this. Just like a high street studio, full-sized professional flash heads are used, which provide beautiful, flattering light to make you look your best.
Because the shoot take place at home, if Mum or Dad fancies a quick change of clothes or needs to grab an accessory, everything is right there at their fingertips. Children can grab their favourite toy. Teens have access to their favourite skateboard or electrical guitar. You are not limited to what you take to the studio.
As the shoot takes place indoors the weather outside is not a problem and bookings can be taken all year round.
A location shoot is the second option. To mind mind, location shoots often produce the most beautiful images but obviously require a little more forward planning. For the most part I work with reflectors and natural light on location, but with have some flash lighting on hand if I feel it could enhance and image. The Bristol area is blessed with plenty of easily-accessible locations, from Ashton Court, Clifton Downs, the coast around Portishead, Clevedon and Weston-Super-Mare, not to mention exciting urban landscapes and rustic scenery. The client may already have a favourite location in mind. I usually meet at the client’s house to talk through what we’re hoping to achieve before setting out so more of time on location is spent taking pictures. There will usually be time to take a few pictures at home around the house of doorways. In fact, great individual portraits can be made in the shade of the front doors.
A location shoot usually last around one to two hours. In fact, on arrival I aim to spend around an hour taking photos as that allows everyone to stay focused (no pun intended) without fatigue setting in. The second hour affords ‘safety time’ if I’m not happy with what’s in the can so far. It’s possible that hundreds of photographs will be taken to create perhaps a couple of dozen brilliant images.
What can go wrong?
On a location shoot technical failure should not and will not be a consideration. If a camera or lens fails, I’ll always have a spare so the shoot can continue. When shooting kids there’s always the problem of non co-operation, whether the forceful ‘NO!’ of a toddler or young child or a body-conscious teen worried about a few extra pounds or a skin breakout, or just feels embarrassed at being around Mum and Dad when they’d sooner be rock and rolling with their friends. Sometimes, a reluctant spouse (usually the guy!) can take a little time to loosen up to enable effortless, natural portraits to take place. I’m pretty well equipped with techniques to get everyone looking good and getting kids onside, however – it’s usually not a problem.
Obviously, very bad weather in the form of heavy rain may scupper plans and rescheduling may be necessary.
What happens afterwards?
Ideally I like to meet up with with the client with a couple of weeks to show them the photographs. The images will be un-retouched but any that are chosen for prints will be. Print sizes range from standard 6″x4″ prints suitable for mounting on a personalised greeting card through to large box canvases and framed prints to take pride of place in the living room. My print prices are very reasonable and pricing is clear cut – I advise what I think would be wonderful, but there’s no arm-twisting sales patter. I’d rather let the images sell themselves. There is no obligation to buy.
For larger prints I prefer to supply hard copies as I can ensure quality. For a small extra charge however, I can supply a CD of your images with rights to make your own prints.
If you would like to book a portrait shoot or have any questions, simply click ‘Contact Me’ in this website for more information.