Discuss the Family Portraits | Part 1 | Transcription

Let’s talk about several points to cover when discussing the family portraits or the formals. When it comes to who is guiding the formals, we like to have a specific name on who is going to basically be helping us to organize, actually, to guide the people into the right area, so that we can organize them into the photos. We recommend that obviously, that person is better off being friend of family. Someone that knows the family, so that they’re not calling out names blankly and not knowing who to look for. We want to know if there’s adequate time based on the list that they have. We’re going to look at the list, look at the number of people in those lists and we’re going to gauge it based on those time recommendations that we talked about before. Two to three minutes, three to five minutes, five to ten minutes based on the group sizing. Again, you can kind of take into consideration how long it takes you to pose those types of groups. In general, these are good general rules.

If there’s not enough time, then that’s where we need to basically tone it back and set the right expectations. We need to say, “Oh, this is a fantastic list. Based on kind of the numbers on this list it’s going to take us about an hour, but I noticed that we only have thirty minutes. It’s totally fine, we can spend more time doing family formals, but it is going to cut into the couple’s session. Is that okay?” What I’ve done, is I have presented anything in a negative way. I’ve simply given them the clear expectation that this might subtract time from other areas of their day. What do they want in the vision of their wedding day.

Saying things like, “Oh guys we can’t do this. We only have thirty minutes to do family formals and you guys have sixty minutes here. We can’t do that. We can’t do that many photos.” It’s a negative way of addressing something and it’s not a solution oriented way of addressing it either. All we’ve done is basically shut them down without providing them a solution. What we want to do is give them a solution and a choice and do it in a positive light.

Family situations and relationships. When we’re discussing the formals, it’s a perfect time to bring up and just say, “Hey, I’d love to know the basics of just your family. Give me information on relationships. Is there anything I need to know? All I want to do is help prevent any potential awkward moments. I love families. My family is crazy myself. Just let me know if there’s anything you want to discuss prior to the wedding day.”

More often then not they’re going to say something like, “Oh yeah, dad’s bringing his girlfriend who’s 22 years old and I can’t stand her. Don’t have her in the photos.” Or, “Mom is a little bit … She kind of has a tendency to drink to much. Just be aware of that. She might be a little crazy.” They’ll give you information that going to help you on the day of. Not only to avoid these awkward situations, but honestly it’s going to help you to personalize and internalize who they are and who their family is as people.

When going and creating photographs, if they tell me that their family is a bunch of party people, I know that I can do party type photos with them. When we’re doing the family formals, I’m going to scream at them, I’m going to cheer and we’re going to do all sorts of crazy stuff. Whereas, if she explains to me her family is all composed of lawyers and they’re all very serious, I’m probably not going to try and get them to do all sorts of crazy fun weird thing, because they might not be into it. It gives me an idea of who they are and it helps me tailor my presentation and the kind of images that I’m going after. Otherwise, further personalize the photos that we’re taking.

Next, gauge expectations. This family formals list again, for some people, the family photos is all that matters. They want to have amazing family photos, amazing formals. For others, it’s really not that important. They want to get through really quickly and they want to move into other things. It’s great to ask, “Do you want to do fun shots as well? Do you feel like your family would be into doing this? We can do like these stylized shots where you guys are walking and talking and having a good time.” Ask them these questions so that once again, you have a better understanding of who they are as people and you can tailor the photographs to their needs.

Certain situational questions. If it’s summertime and you’re going to be outdoors, ask, “Hey it’s going to be really hot. Is everyone going to be okay? Does everyone have water? Is everyone going to be okay standing outside? I’m just going to give you a heads up, it’s the valley in California, it’s July, it might be 105 degrees. We need to make sure that we choose a location that everyone’s going to be okay photographing in for say 30 minutes. Do we need chairs for grandparents?” Again, great stuff to know so that when you go into right after the ceremony and you start getting ready and you start getting your lights ready, you can also set some chairs up so you can place grandparents.

Conclude the conversation with questions like, “Do you need to discuss anything else regarding your family or family photos?” Make yourself available to them for any other needs. Basically, we’re kind of concluding the entire talk through at this point. We want to make sure they know that if they have anything else on their mind they can reach out to us at any point. I always tell my clients that, “Hey, I am frequently in production.” Again, I do not say things like, “I’m frequently working with other clients.” No, I say, “I am frequently in production. If I’m in productions and you call, leave me a message or send me a text. I’ll get back to you as soon as I possibly can. If you need something immediately, contact my studio manager Jackie. She’s going to be on the phone with you as soon as possible and we’re going to help get you taken care of regardless of the time of day.” I want them to leave this entire talk through with the feeling that again, they are my only client and my only priority.


The Initial Meeting

Prepping for the Engagement Talk Through

Engagement Shoot Prep & Communication

Prepping for the Wedding Day Talk Through

Wedding Day Preparation & Communication


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