This was a fun, candid family portrait session I photographed back in November for Robert’s family holiday card. I loved the playfulness at this location shoot; I had a blast playing with Riley and Andie on the different structures at Fort Point while capturing their natural expression. The resulting images are fantastic samples of my work as a lifestyle family photographer.
I had always wanted to have a photoshoot at Fort Point, and Robert was so easy-going with location choice, I got my wish granted at his family portrait session! Fort Point is a historic location in the north end of San Francisco, under the Golden Gate Bridge. Its construction finished in 1861 as a defensive fort to protect the San Francisco Bay, and now it is a National Historic Site open to the public.
When I first met the kids Andie and Riley, they were so timid and camera-shy. Initially, Andie kept hiding behind her dad, saying the fort was too dirty and was haunted (which she probably was right about, haha!). Robert had warned me of their behavior beforehand, but I was not discouraged!
The important part of getting any natural lifestyle portraits is to allow the subjects to let loose. Photographing kids is no exception! So we went from floor to floor, running between columns, making faces at each other, until we reached the rooftop. After about half an hour of our portrait session, Andie and Riley started to warm up to me as a friend, not just the lady with the camera. It was so much easier to capture portraits of them being active, playful kids once they’re comfortable!
When I’m photographing kids, my main focus was to give fun “posing” instructions that are engaging their creative little minds, then let the magic happen. A lot of times at a portrait session, parents wanted their kids to stand still and smile for the camera, but from my experience, rarely would a 6-year-old follow that prompt without making a strange face or running away. And with this rigid attempt, we would end up with unhappy parents who didn’t get the smiling photos of their family, while the kids didn’t have a good time either.
To get a win-win family portrait scenario, here are some examples of the instructions I gave to achieve these shots: “stand up here and spot me a pirate ship”, “how about we walk along this ledge with our arms spread as if we were flying”, or even just a simple “look at each other”! It might seem strange to an adult to hear these prompts (and I promise I don’t use the same posing instructions to my headshot clients), but now a proper photoshoot turned into a fun play date – with photos to keep!
Thank you, Robert, Riley and Andie, for trekking all the way out to Fort Point from the East Bay for your family portrait session! I had such a lovely morning with you all, and I hope I’ll get to do this again soon!
Do your kids not “behave” in front of the camera? Are you having trouble finding the right family photographer? Do you want family photos that are more true to you than the typical portrait studio look? Contact me to set up a portrait play date :)
On a side note, I traded this portrait session with Robert, who is also a photographer, for some new headshots. We did some location portraits at Embarcadero Center, and I’m waiting for the launch of my newly designed website to reveal my new profile photo. Stay tuned!! Thanks again Robert!