Tips And Posing Tricks For Successfully Capturing Your Multiple Babies On Film
How often have you passed a photography studio, admired the adorable photos of infants and toddlers on display, and thought, "I would love a picture like that. But how on earth do their parents get them to 'perform'...and smile while doing it?" Once we acknowledge how much we'd like to have such a treasured snapshot, it can feel as though there is a great crevasse to be jumped in order to actually acquire it. But fear not. With a few simple steps, you, too, can ensure that you are able to capture as much of your children's lives on film as you'd like -- without having a nervous breakdown in the process!
First and foremost, you need to decide what kind of a photograph you want -- and how much you are willing and able to spend in order to get it. Do you want a formal portrait? A fun, whimsical photo? A group photo with your entire family -- including two dogs and a bird -- that will be blown up to 20 x 30 and last forever? It's important to identify what you're hoping for in the final product in order to target the most appropriate photographer or studio.
To simplify matters, the least expensive and potentially quickest choice is likely a mainstream department store photography studio such as Sears Portrait Studio, JCPenney Portrait Studios, or WAL-MART Portrait Studio. However, if you're looking for a keepsake that will last forever, or if you're looking for a customized product, it's probably best to hire a professional photographer.
Department store portrait studios
Department store photo studios are extremely convenient -- especially if you need a lot of photos for friends and relatives and are on a budget. You can view and select from digital photos immediately, the printing is done in a short timeframe, and there are almost always package deals available. Additionally, many of these establishments have a portrait club. If you plan to take your children for photos frequently, club membership can save you a considerable amount of money on sitting fees.
A downside of department store studios is that they can feel like portrait drive-thrus -- especially if the photographer isn't terribly interested in photography that day (or at all). You're in, you're out, you're happy (or not). Your satisfaction isn't always the name of the game, and the photographers aren't always heavily trained in the art of portrait photography. That said, there are always exceptions to the rule, and I know a good number of people who have been thrilled with their photos from studios such as these because the price, the package, and the photographer were exactly what they needed.
Photo studios such as The Picture People or the studio available in some Babies R Us stores can also perfectly fit the bill. You can make an appointment to avoid waiting, or if you happen to be in the mall one day and your kids are unbelievably happy, dressed in coordinating outfits, and there's no line at the photo studio, you may be able to pop in spontaneously and get the perfect shot in no time! Be sure to keep your eyes out for coupons for free sittings, as they are availably almost constantly, and will save you enough money to buy an extra photo or two. The only downside to such studios is that you can't really mix and match photos. You can't get a 5 x 7 of one image and an 8 x 10 of another. Typically, you are offered packages of, say, one 8 x 10 or 2 5 x 7s or 4 wallets.
Another issue to consider when using a department store studio is time. The studios aren't always able to offer much flexibility should your children need a break to eat or to "get happy." The photographer may not be able to wait if there is another session scheduled immediately after yours. Therefore, when you make the appointment, inquire as to the length of your appointment slot. That way, you can determine whether or not you believe that the block of time is substantial enough to accomodate a few minutes here or there to settle or otherwise tend to a baby.
Professional freelance photographers
A freelance photographer, while perhaps significantly more expensive, might be the right choice if you're looking for a more artistic, longer-lasting photograph and/or if you're looking for a more customized image and finished product. When my oldest child was four and my twins were two (and baby #4 was on the way), I wanted a professional photo taken of the four (five) of us during that time. I wanted the photo to be a piece of art -- and since I wanted my very pregnant stomach tastefully showing, I didn't think that the middle of the mall was the place to have the picture taken.
I found a local photographer whose style I loved. Because she viewed her photographs as art, she wasn't happy sending them home with a customer unless they were perfect -- not only by her standards, but by the client's standards as well. One of my twins was not real cooperative during the session, and she assured me that if I wasn't thrilled with the final results, she'd redo the session at no extra charge.
If the photographer you choose does not use a digital camera, you'll have to wait for proofs to determine if she got anything that will work, so be sure to inquire as to her retake policy should you not be satisfied. Honestly, most professional photographers are so good that, while you'll initially worry, you'll probably be suprised in the end by how fabulously their shots of even an exasperated child turn out!
Using a freelance photographer allows you almost complete customization of your final result, making it a wonderful choice to capture a special time in your children's life or to provide someone with a wonderful gift. Nowadays, many photographers can transfer an image to canvas so that it resembles an oil painting, some can have the image transferred to the outside of a purse, and some even do their own hand etching on the image after it's printed so that it is even more an original work of art.
If you think that a freelance photographer is the right choice at any point in time, check to see if any of your friends have recommendations. Or, when you notice a display of a photographer's work that matches the feeling you'd like your own photo to convey, note the photographer's name, phone number, and website if provided. Then contact him personally to determine whether or not he's truly the right photographer for you. Prior to finding the photographer who took my family's photo, I admired some beautiful shots displayed outside a well-known children's boutique in town. I called the photographer to set up a session, and she informed me that she didn't really enjoy working with two-year-olds! Even if you love their work, it's important to make sure it's a good fit on all fronts before donning the studio doorstep with everyone dressed to the nines.
Become your own photo studio
This is an option parents sometimes overlook because they don't altogether trust their own photo-taking abilities. In the age of digital cameras, parents can take the most wonderful photographs -- candid or posed -- of their children. The photos can then be edited with editing software, and printed either at home or by a professional printing service. Many times, the best photos are obtained this way because there is no pressure on anyone. The captured images show true happiness, mischief, or beauty.
Technology has come so far that there is no reason to rely on a studio to capture every month of your child's life. Thankfully, you can choose the times when you'd like someone else to photograph your children, and the rest of the time you can do it yourself with fantastic results -- regardless of your level of photography experience. Now, if only you had time to organize all those photos!