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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Money Shot

Some times all the magical elements of light, emotion and camera settings collide and I capture "the money shot".  That shot that takes your breath away even when I see it at one inch squared on my camera view finder.  I get a few of these each session.  More typically though I get toddlers and who are shy, squirmy or just plain uninterested, basically they are normal kids.

Moms let me start off by telling you, this is so typical and does not faze me one bit.  I am after all the mother to a little girl who comes by the nickname tornado honestly.  Shooting her is like capturing a firefly in flight!  I actually have found my self commenting on how still your children are compared to mine.
One of the biggest secrets of the trade it that I use a technique called composites.  Basically I will ask you all to stay in one pose with the same back drop and lighting until I get a shot with each person smiling.  I will ask mom to break the pose and tickle baby to get that smile, that one only she can get baby to make, next we get dad to make his toddler son laugh at a fart joke, finally I ask mom and dad to let the kids wander off and just give me their own 20 watt smiles.  I then blend all the photos with a little bit of faerie dust and voila the money shot.

When we remove the pressure to have every one looking at me and smiling at me in unison the stress of the shoot melts away.  I will achieve that look for you behind the scenes and you can just relax and have fun.  Usually as soon as I explain this process to the parents, they are so relived and I see the real smiles come out of every one, you look less posed as a group and your children enjoy the session more, and that translates yet again in to better photos as the shoot develops.  Its's a win-win situation for all of us, and I can tell you that I would never want to photograph a group of people any other way again.

As you browse though my portfolio you may be thinking to your self, that looks so nice but I could never get my kids to do that for me.  Every family tells me this, and I also felt this same frustration for years as I saw beautiful family portraits and I felt there must be something wrong with my family because we could never achieve that sort of photo.  Let the mommy guilt go ladies because I am telling you now those photos you envy are 90% composites.  Your less than perfect family can also have a photo of equal beauty, serenity and joy on your wall!

Here is a before and after composite shot from a recent family session:
Before Faerie Dust
Final Product

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