For many families, the reunion at the beach is a big deal. Everybody together at one time, in an idyllic setting, enjoying each other — truly a once in a lifetime experience. But getting everybody together for a family portrait can be a chore, and not everyone in the family approaches the experience with a great attitude. Everyone wants the irreplaceable portrait of the whole family, but a portrait of stiff and serious people isn’t going to cut it. The beach is a place to unwind and have fun, and the family portrait should reflect not only the presence of the family members, but the personality and relationship of the family members. There is a huge difference between recording an event and capturing emotion. And those emotions have to be real, even if they are not conventional “smiles”.
Here’s the secret: your photographer has to interact with your family members, and that requires eye contact. If your photographer has his eye in the camera viewfinder, there is only so much that she can do to get you happy. She can talk to you, but that’s about it. The secret is for the photographer to get out from behind the camera. To do that, he has to use a tripod, and a remote control shutter release. This technique allows the photographer to move — whether it’s to jump in and tickle a surly toddler, point at Grandpa and ask something foolish, break out a rubber chicken, put on a clown nose. . . generally play the excited clown role until the group lightens up and begins to laugh. And when you have laughter, you can capture true happiness. From a photographer’s standpoint, we know that expression is what it’s all about, especially with the kids.
So why don’t more photographers use this technique? Maybe they don’t know technically how to do it. But it’s probably because they don’t have enough experience dealing with Moms looking at proofs of the session. It’s the kiss of death to hear “that’s not his real smile”, but it takes hundreds of sessions to figure out how to get the smiles that make your heart skip a beat when you see them in pictures. That’s the kind of portrait you want.
I recently had the honor to photograph a wedding proposal on the beach in Naples, Florida. These weren’t the structured “engagement photos” that many couples have made, rather this was the actual process of Damen asking Samantha to marry him. These photographs capture the love and joy they feel for each other as well as documenting a major life event.
The photo session was orchestrated by Damen. He asked Samantha if she would like to take a romantic beach walk to see the sunset, and what women would say no to romance? Meanwhile, I was also on the beach “photographing birds” with a long telephoto lens, but my real purpose was to capture the engagement as it happened. The emotions were real, and the photographs were “once in a lifetime” quality. What a great assignment!
Ft Myers Beach Portrait Photography should be fun!
Don’t settle for old fashioned stiff and expressionless beach portraits of your family. When we hit the sand in Ft Myers for beach portrait photography, I am going to work hard to put your personality into your beach portraits. Ft Myers Beach Portrait Photography is different from shooting in the studio or your back yard. It’s a happy place. You’ve come here to have fun. So let’s have fun at your photography session!
Here’s the first beach photo session of the 2015/2016 season — a great young family from the frozen North, in Cape Coral to thaw out over the long weekend. The weather was mostly cloudy and cool (by FL standards), but these guys had a great time at our beach portrait session on Ft. Myers Beach. Working with a 2 year old and an 8 month old is a challenging assignment, but all I had to do was break out my rubber hammer and hit myself on the head a couple of times, and we had happy kids!