When the weather outside is frightful (like cold and wintery), opting for an on-location outdoor photo shoot may not be ideal. A cozier idea is to bring the studio inside and take advantage of what this offers: consistent lighting, smart posing and letting the image focus on the subject above all else. It has the added bonus of keeping kids in the comfort of their homes, surrounded by the toys and games that put them at ease. Of course a spectacular outdoor setting can really lend a lovely backdrop to a portrait but there are challenges with that scenario too: light that changes often and quickly; annoyances like bugs, sand, heat, wind and humidity; bathrooms may not be close by and you know what a hassle that can turn into with kids.
All the challenges of an outdoor shoot are eliminated when creating portraits within a studio setting. Studios can be as mobile as the photographer. Lights and backdrops can break down and pack up nicely, fitting into the car and reassembled at the shoot location. And these images do not have to be stiff and boring either, they can be a chance to create classic and beautifully lit portraits. To add variety, lights can be moved around, colour gels can be added to lights, outfits can be changed and different props can be added.
These portraits were all taken one Sunday afternoon at the home of one of my favourite clients. I brought a black backdrop (only 6 feet wide) knowing that the clients planned on dressing in white and black. I used three lights, one in a large softbox, and two bouncing out of umbrellas. I was about half hour into the shoot when everyone kind of forgot about the big light and backdrop sitting in their living room and had a blast. We did quite a variety of poses too and it seemed like chaos some of the time but when all was said and done, we agreed we got some wonderful shots of a beautiful family that includes a new addition.
I love these portraits too, mainly for the beauty of the light and the classic feel. For both of the older kids we used props that interested them so they could interact and be themselves.
In one, Siddhi shows how she applies her makeup and in another Sashiv is demonstrating his Justin Bieber dance moves. They make great images because the focus is totally concentrated on the subject. On the last sample here, I recreated the backdrop in the digital darkroom (using Photoshop) to further make the image unique.
The key to success in a studio setting is to get all set up with lights and backdrop before the shoot begins, coordinate wardrobe and backdrop choices, bring music and treats, put on some smiles and have fun.