Posts Tagged ‘family portraits’

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(Woops no one in the family picture was looking… I failed… or did I? haha)

Art for my models vs models for my art

I think it was a couple posts ago that I was discussing how a photoshoot is a collaborative effort… or at least should be.

There are many things that impact the way people view your pictures… when you go to a beautiful spot, or have beautiful subjects people will be more attracted to your pictures … or if you put it to a theme everyone will go crazy for.

But that’s not my whole job in fact a lot of my job is… GASP… taking good pictures.

Dealing with whatever lighting I have been given that day, whatever subjects, whatever spots… and always bringing out the best possible for those situations.

So what about mid day lighting… where the group was so large I couldn’t just put a big diffuser over their heads and add in my own beautiful lighting by flash or reflector.

I went au natural and found spots that worked well.

And the day and the people and their personalities and the lighting and my lenses and my brain all worked together to come up with something that worked for them.

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Bright shiny day… but we found a somewhat shady area and got a spot with the least amount of shine through and had people facing directions so it wouldn’t hit them quite as much.

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I relish that I took what might have been a cheesy idea… and turned it into perfectly normal and good.

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I threw in whatever they were doing… or pushed them to do stuff I could see them doing that would make the shoot a bit more funny and memorable.

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I took several opportunities to run through the whole family doing individual portraits during the time… extra attention to Mom as well.

And for one of the run-throughs at the end I broke out the lights, to kind of play around.

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This has got to be one of my favorite writeups ever by a client! Heck it’s probably one of the best posts on my blog now.

It captures totally what I want to always accomplish with my photography.
I feel very validated right now and encouraged that what I’m doing is really being caught by those that are getting pictures.

Perhaps that I’m just taking pictures of the right people that love photography and love their families and the personalities and embrace the crazy and even the imperfections and want to remember even that from year to year.

In The Words of the Mother


Been There?:

Runny nosed kids, mom’s nausea kicking in due to her first trimester of pregnancy, Dad’s in school studying for the day,  mom has to set up and clean up a large woman’s function, kids need naps and a bath, not to mention all the hair that has to be fixed…and mom scheduled a photo shoot?

What was she thinking?!  I’ll tell you what she was thinking.  She couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get phenomenal, out.of.this.world photos of her dysfunctional family that she loves so much, by her friend (she considers him that) Scott Jarvie.  Somehow, she was going to make it happen!

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I love this photo, because it sums up our family.  Dad’s intense personality, big sister lost in another thought, brother giving it all he’s got, lil’ sis showing off, and mom is shocked that things are going so well!  And all Scott said was “everyone open  your mouth!”  See what happens?

Lets talk about Scott:

To get a pretty good picture of what you’ll be dealing with, I’ll start with our arrival at the Aspen Grove.
I was sweating, Dad was driving like a mad man, we were slightly late, the kids hair was staticky, and I was trying to figure out how to smile again, when out of nowhere Scott’s great big grinning face jumped at me from my passenger window.  I nearly hit my head on the sealing.  Suddenly we were all laughing.

When I told him that he scared me to death, he smiled and said something like, “That was the point!  Come on up and we’ll take a few pictures!”

That’s Scott for you.  No shame whatsoever and totally happy to be himself…and himself can be a crack up.  He’ll ask you to do things you think are completely ridiculous (He knows they are. But, they help you relax and feel okay with acting out of your comfort zone…especially after you watch him mimic your actions.  You couldn’t possibly look as bad.  So, why not give it a go?  HaHa)

Then there are the tender moments.  He can bring out your sweetness too, believe it or not.  Scott has a romantic/sensitive side to him, and he’s even better than most at showing it.  So, you’re in good hands when it comes to getting those moments you’ve always wanted captured on camera.  In fact, he’ll get more of the “real” you than you expect, because he’s snapping away even when you don’t think he is.

Family photos don’t have to be a stress:

Scott Jarvie taught me that.  We had 30-40 minutes with Scott, I didn’t have a plan…somehow between all that had to be done that day, I forgot to re-think the poses I wanted taken.
We saw a log, suggested it, Scott jumped at the idea, and we gave it a go!  He had us laughing and goofing off in no time.

I completely threw out the whole “lets look really nice idea” when moments before our photo shoot began, one of our girls tore her tights in the stickers, our boy fell in the dirt, and our other little girl ate some dirt.

We were having fun as a family, Scott was getting it all on camera, and we were going to look superb regardless, thanks to Scott’s genius.  It’s amazing how many memorable moments occur in a family, in a matter of minutes.

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Our girls. They couldn’t be more different.  Scott suggested we get out of the way and set the girls apart on the log, then gave them the go to “smile!”.  They did whatever came naturally, and I wasn’t stressing over getting them to smile just so, or placing them in the right pose.  What a relief!  And look at how perfectly “them” it turned out.

What we did not want & what we got:

We didn’t want the studio family perfect photos.  Sure, we needed at least one to send to all the Grandmas, but that isn’t hard to do when everyone’s laughing.  In fact, I found that I was the one looking the wrong direction, making a goofy face, or not paying attention, when all three kids and dad were grinning at Scott.

We definitely didn’t get the studio photo.  We got a real, personality filled photo of our family, and we love that!

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See what I mean?  I look like I swallowed a bug, while everyone else looks fabulous.  But, this is still one of my favorite photos, because it’s easy to see the love that’s felt between us.


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These two are my favorite of our little man.  The close friendship he shares with his dad shines through this photo.

I’m glad Scott took the time to listen to what dad likes to do with the kids, and then suggest we try it!  And the second picture has got to be the BEST picture taken of him in a loooong time.  He usually looks angry, preoccupied, or like he’s cringing over something.  Scott actually captured his genuine, happy smile!

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These girls are 18 months apart and pretty much inseparable.  How could someone actually give you a glimpse into their world as sisters without seeing it daily for yourself?   In just a few moments, Scott captured it all just by encouraging a hug.  Enough said.

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I don’t know what Scott said to her, but she seems quite taken with him…wouldn’t you say?  She lives in a world of make-believe, usually caught daydreaming.  This picture looks like it was taken from The Secret Garden or something.  In her world, it probably was!

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The security that she feels with her daddy screams through this picture.   She knows he’ll always keep her safe, even from Scott. 😉

Scott will tell you that I’m one of those moms that’s always saying, “Girls, put your dress down.  Sit like a lady!”  And look what he does…suggests she shows off her dress and takes a picture!
Now it’s one of my favorites.  I love, love, LOVE how her baby legs and sweet, chipper personality are portrayed.  This ones going up on the wall.

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Good Golly!  I married up.  What a stud.

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This is my screen saver.  I like it because I was actually caught smiling at the right time!  And because I love seeing the individual.  I understand why Scott spends so much time on the ground.  The color, the detail, and the character just sucks me right in.  If that takes getting down and dirty, I’m glad he’s willing!


Time friendly:

I actually like the 20-40 minute shoots.  It’s just enough time to get what you’re looking for and get out.  For a mom with kids, that’s all I want.  Why do you think Wal-Mart and Target do so well?

Yes, of course there are those times when the baby just won’t cooperate, someone gets hurt, or you have a stubborn child with attitude (I’ve had all three), and it’s nice to have another go at it maybe later on in the day.  But, if that’s just not an option, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Scott will somehow find a way to coax out a smile, or just make everyone look good anyway.

These pictures have become some of my most treasured.

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This picture was taken last year at the (2009) Charity shoot, on a day when our baby girl was more interested in playing with the grass then smiling for the camera.  Scott captured the grin we couldn’t get enough of.  Now that she’s going on two years, I can’t bring myself to take it off our wall.  This picture brings a smile to my face even on the worst days.

In my book, that’s what family photography is all about.

Try Something New:

Our oldest is five, and I’m just now getting the photos of our family that I’ve always wanted.

Photos that portray who we really are.

I think pictures like these on our walls and in our memory albums give our homes and family character.

Scott introduced us to a new kind of photography experience.  Plan some poses in advance if you like, but most importantly, just be yourself, try something new, let your kids pick up rocks and play in the dirt, don’t be afraid to act crazy, or portray raw emotion (easier said then done).  It’s okay.
He will somehow make you look awesome.

Scott’s easy to like, and although I’ve only met him twice, I feel like he’s a close friend.  Once I learned about his Charity shoots, I haven’t been able to pass up the opportunity, and couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of them.  Just when I think I’ve got Scott figured out, he does something else, either through his art, words, or actions, to AMAZE me.

When it comes to photography, He has a style all his own, but that style will always include yours too.  So, between the two of you, you’ll be blown away with the outcome.

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Score!

Like this picture? Well let’s take a step back to show how we got there.

The family mentioned very briefly “the log”… so i said well let’s run with YOUR idea (since I don’t have to sell you on it.) Well that’s what I was thinking at least… that they’d be involved in the creative process and we’d come up with pictures that they didn’t just feel they could have gotten at a studio… but something they were involved with.

Prior to the picture below we had done some full group(family) pictures on the log and then we started breaking it down a bit into groups and that’s where we pick it up below.

To get to the picture above we must understand what happened below.

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We did the full family, then just the boys and then we got just the girls sitting on the log.

I separated them for a shot because I wanted them to be all their own personality … 3 individuals in the picture. Then later have them interact to show the personality between all 3.

Then I see the one girl and how she chose to sit… a little bit further… enough that the way her dress was out and on the log caught my attention.

I told the other two to leave … probably my exact words something like “get out of her picture now” said with a big smile so they always know it’s said with love. haha

…and then I took this picture below

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Yes I took the way she chose to sit and the way her dress was and exaggerated them out a little bit and then her hands went down from off her knees and it was just perfect.

But then I thought well that’s a good one of her… but how about just the two little girls without the mom, opposite sides of the log.

They don’t need to match the way they sit nor have their arms in unison in my opinion (though I might throw one variation in there like that.)

Then as the two sisters sat far apart it was time to see what life would bring us.

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I’m sure it was just some simple random command or encouragement… “get close to your sister”, “hug your sister”… something like that they’d both understand.

Who went to who… it didn’t matter… I was ready for anything. Maybe it’s fun psychology to see that it was the little girl moved over and how she moved over and how the big sister reacted.

This is a family… this is personality… this is love.

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Obviously not a pose I could think of on any given day: with her leg practically straddling the log and the other sister awkwardly leaning over and giving a choke hold hug. But these are kids not yet reformed in poise and haven’t studied the delicateness of interaction of hundreds of movies. They just do.

It’s the fluidity of the events, yes there is plenty of direction being given, where we were wasn’t entirely a fluke, who we chose for the log wasn’t either, even getting them together wasn’t either.

But in the end it was their own photo shoot, entirely different than any other and reflecting of their personalities.

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It was a busy busy day.

Day 4 of the charity shoot had me in the Studio for only one shoot and outside for 11.
It’s a really amazing experience to take 11 shoots in the same location. seeing 4 hours of changing lighting affect one area.

I was doing really short shoots so I couldn’t go far so that incoming groups could find me. Therefore I didn’t wander around as much as I usually do.
It really stretches the photographic ability to keep shooting in the changing lighting situations and keep shooting in a small radius and keep things fresh and now just go with what you did on the last one.

Of course I focused on the highlights of the area such as the mountain backdrop and the sections of trees that were still changing color.

The Location

This location is awesome because the mountains start blocking the sun about 3 hours before sunset (on average) which means it was perfect lighting starting around 4pm

The above picture was about half way through the shoot and already the mountain was providing a great backdrop with only a little bit of light compensation on the subject.
(More examples when fully edited)

Below is the last shoot of the night when it was pretty dark and sun had already been set for a bit… we were working on twilight light by then with a bunch of external lighting.

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STUDIO

But I did start experimenting even more with how to make studio interesting and new.
Since I’m not a studio photog and have never even read a book or watched a blog on studio setups I was just winging it.

I guess that’s how I did my whole photo existence just coming up with random ideas.

But I must admit I’ve heard of the idea of lighting the backgrounds and even seen a good friend David Terry setting up a studio setup at Suzanne’s house shooting through something colorful to get some background color.
So I had these filter strips perfect for my SB-900’s which I got from Pictureline for pennies (well worth a stop at the Draper pictureline to grab, even if you never use them… like me up until this point, at least you bought a photo thing for a couple dollars when everything else is too expensive)

So anyway I’m playing around and having people pick random pictures and shooting the backgrounds. I’ll continue to experiment of course.

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The Seasoned Charity Shoot PRO

Ashley is the only one to have been to all 3 of my charity shoots… at the first one I didn’t even know her.

She’s a way awesome model when she’s sure of herself and not worried she’s acting to vain in front of Angie who acts it up even more than Ashley.

So having been to all 3 Charity shoot either she’s super duper smart and/or cheap… haha.
But in any case it has always been a fun shoot with Ashley and Angie around!

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I was excited to do this shoot because I was offered to do baby shoots a while back but never could get the time or whatever, and I was happy to be doing pictures for a good friend, and even though this little girl is now a bit older I’m glad we could at least get some.

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Model Photographers

Many might think Angela looks familiar and that’s because she’s featured in several parts on my blog ever since I did her wedding in California.
We refer to her as the “Beach Bride”

But angela is also a photographer and so is Liz the girl in the blue, and for that matter so is adrienne and Monica who came for shoots as well.
In fact yesterday 2 of my interns came with their families to get pictures taken. (We missed you Heidi and family)

In fact many people that took advantage  of the charity shoot were photogs.

I think it’s an amazing learning experience for a photographer to have pictures taken of themselves, I think it helps to be in the shoes of the future clients.
Now you know the feedback you should be giving when you’re the photographer.

You can tell Liz and Angela know what a good expression looks like and are able to capture it in the pictures.

I’ve always enjoyed shooting angela because she’s so creative and I think that will make her a great photographer one day.

And Liz was a joy to take pictures of because she had so many looks and was so fun to be around. The Camera loves you all… (as the saying goes)

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Schedule is set – Now booking

This should be the best year ever of my free charity shoot… I’m excited get ready to schedule your spot (starting tomorrow/Friday)

If you’re interested please read through the full blog before asking questions, if not simply enjoy the pictures at the end. :)

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Everyone should be just about this excited for this opportunity!

How to Book a time for the charity shoot?

Booking will officially start tomorrow (Friday)

Send an email to scheduling@jarviedigital.com

see the online calender for openingsClick here and go to OCTOBER 5th through 10th

we are taking pre-bookings for those that participated in my survey last week.
And my interns have a days head-start to invite their friends to the shoots for the days they’re in charge of.

There should be plenty of spots available up to 60 canyon spots and more than enough Studio time.
I will help with scheduling but I am not in charge of scheduling.
If you send the email it will get to the right place… maybe even doing a comment on the post will work… but no guarantee.

To double check you are official make sure your name is on the online calender.

The schedule is now set

Every day mon-friday 10am-1:30pm = Studio shoots in North Lehi

  • CANYONS = Fall Colors
    • Monday 3-7pm = Little Cottonwood canyon
      • White pine trailhead parking lot – it’s 5.5 miles into the canyon -.5 miles before snowbird
      • Here’s a link to the google map
    • Tuesday 3-7pm = American Fork Canyon (At the summit parking lot area)
    • Wednesday 3-7pm = Big Cottonwood Canyon (Silver lake area)
    • Thursday 3-7pm = Provo Canyon (Sundance/Alpine loop area)
    • Saturday 3-7pm = Provo Canyon (Sundance/Alpine loop area spot #2)

I had so many examples that I doubt I’ll fit them all into one post

But you can see a gallery of 200+ here

And if you ask for a password you can see all the 650+ that made the cut.

There are also two galleries on facebook2

You’ll notice there isn’t one focal picture in the bunch. There’s not one that is the pinnacle of perfection… but to this family there are many many that represent each person and will be fun to them.

Here are some examples:

I’m not to into taking family portraits…
There’s a lot of stressing out going on in portraits.

Feeding Each other STRESS

Parents get stressed because they want things to go perfectly.
When kids get grumpy or distracted… the parents start to freak.
Which in turn makes the kids freak out more… which in turn…
I’m sure you get the picture.

Not “Good” Money

Besides family pictures aren’t really good money (comparatively)

It’s my opinion that the price structure for family pictures was based on buying prints.
This mindset of wanting mainly prints is largely disappearing for most families.

Prints aren’t as “big” as photographers would like

Heck I personally would rather have the disc than a print on my wall… specially since I move more often and I use blogs, websites and facebook mostly and I can print stuff up myself just fine.

So people don’t want as many prints but the sitting fee for portraits has largely stayed the same.
Then there’s the people who think that because a CD costs $1 (which it doesn’t more like .15 cents) that charging them $100 for a CD is next to highway robbery.

Personally I don’t like being in charge of printing… I want to be paid for what I do (photograph) I don’t want to push products (like prints, albums etc)

I understand that the market and the abundance of new photographers will push prices down for photographers as some raise their prices (like I do all the time)

Not For me

All I’m saying is Traditional Family Picture sessions are not worth it for me.

I put up with boring weddings because they’re a lot of money and they’re very important.

Go to a studio for the traditional Shots

But i think if people are looking for good prices for family pictures they should go to studios, that’s their thing.

The Exception

That being said I have actually had a couple of families that were all right and enjoyable experiences
And in down times I’m sure I’d say yes because the money is nice… I’m just saying I don’t like it much.
But I like a “real” job…. way way less!

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It was certainly cold!

But Downtown Salt Lake is always fun and produces certain kind of pictures.

The Young Family is from Texas so they were especially not used to this weather.
But they were always smiling and did really well.

Open Gallery

Selective Gallery

Full Gallery
(Password)

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Continued…

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