My first ‘paid’ commission – a beautiful family

My website came about after some friends I have taken photos of expressed how they loved my photos and that I should start charging fees. One of these friends recommended me to a friend of hers who wanted some family photos. After a few emails and phone calls, I made my way to her house expecting to photograph her parents and some 7 grandchildren. Can you imagine my surprise when I was met with 7 adults all dressed in their traditional cultural attire and 7 beautiful children from 3 months to 5 years of age to photograph during the 1 hour session!

For an hour’s shoot, that was a big challenge and I didn’t want to get it all wrong especially as they have dressed up for the occasion. I made a mental note to take as many group and individual photos as I can and decided to shelve any creative ideas which would take too much time with 14 people in an hour’s session. Thankfully, it was a cloudy day so the light wasn’t too harsh and they had some lush greenery in their garden as a backdrop. But I think the best thing that helped me take good photos within the given time was that everyone in this big family is very good looking and photogenic to say the least! They were not afraid nor shy of the camera and their beaming faces and gorgeous smiles followed my lenses without much effort.

I took about 250 photos and whittled them down to 65 after re-touching. I did enjoy the session although I ended up spending almost double the time commissioned both during the shoot on the day and at the post-production stage.

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From this session, I learned 5 things:

1. Have a detailed plan. Spend time discussing shots, especially the ‘must do’ ones, with the client.

2. Have a list of creative shots and discuss these with the client, not forgetting to factor in the set-up time and location spots etc. If appropriate, suggest props, stage play and other things that could make the session more fun and unique.

3. Give simple and clear directions on what you want the clients to do especially in posed shots.

4. Show them some of the photos on the camera LCD; hopefully they will be more at ease and comfortable when they see how they look on camera.

5. Stick to the time limit agreed beforehand!


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