Posts tagged photo experience
Intimidated by Photo Session

Are you intimidated by a photo session?

Does the thought of getting your photos taken make you sweat in your armpits?

You’re totally not alone. In fact, I think it’s REALLY AWKWARD to get my photo taken. It’s really comfortable to be on the back side of the camera for me but when I’m the subject - I totally get the sweats. I think it’s so weird having the lens pointed at ME! You can see yourself in the lens and that makes it even MORE awkward! Yikes!

awkward photo

I’ve tried to think of EVERYTHING that might bring you anxiety and I want to ease your fears so you know it’s not as scary as you’re thinking. I’ve included the answers to these questions in my style magazine that you receive when you book a session with me.

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I have to remind myself this every time I’m getting my photos taken - the person taking your photo is NOT starring at your FACE while they’re looking through the camera.

So what is a photographer doing?

You’ll see me first hold my camera down and fix all the settings because I shoot in total manual mode. At this point I’m not even thinking of you, honestly, I’m thinking about all the technical things of my camera to get a crisp and perfectly exposed photo. THEN I’m thinking about how to communicate how to set up the shot.

Where will you stand, who will stand/sit with you, how should you stand, where should you put your hands, what should you do with your head and where should you look. So I’m doing this for every person in the photo.

Next, after you’re approximately how I want you to be for the photo I’ll bring my camera up to my eye and put everything in focus - and then give some sort of prompt to get your relaxed and warmed up. Some of my favorites are “walk toward the camera, look at each other, and talk about really yucky flavors of ice cream…like PICKLE ice cream!” Something like that.

When I have my eye up to the camera I’m totally not starring at your face - that would bring me anxiety. I’m making sure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do to make that awesome photo you’ve dreamed of having above your couch.

Photo Wall Gallery in living room above couch, Kaitlin Roten Photography

Beyond that, I’ve tried to make all your questions answered before the session by giving a style magazine. Some things that are answered in the magazine are:

  • What clothing colors look best on camera?

  • What should the vibe be for our session?

  • What types of clothing look best on camera?

  • Who should do my hair and makeup?

  • When should we have our session?

  • Where should we have our session?

  • What should I say to my husband to get him to go along with a photo session?

  • What clothing colors should my kids wear?

  • How much will we spend on products to style our home with the photos?

  • Where should my photos live after our session?

  • How can I style my home with these new photos?

  • What arrangement looks the best in X space?

  • What if my kids are too naughty?

  • What should we bring to the session?

  • How will we view our photos?

  • How long will it take for us to see the photos?

  • What are the best photo gifts to give family that’s not in the photos?

  • Should we give our kids a reward for being good after the session?

I tried to think of ALL of the questions you might have that could cause you anxiety and ease your fears. I’m totally here to help all along the way. That’s why I also have a planning meeting. We can talk about things that you’re worried about and things that you need to plan for.

The biggest thing people almost always say after the photo session is that it wasn’t as awkward as they thought it was going to be. The person who says this the most is THE DAD!!!! ha! The way I get everyone on my side is using many prompts to forget that I’m taking photos of you and think you’re just playing as a family. I do snap a few “everyone looking at the camera” photos in between the candids.

So I hope that eases your fears!

As much fear as you might have,
the memories you make and the
physical photos you’ll have in your home
to remember your family during this time will be totally worth it.
You won’t remember your fear at all!

Best time for a photo session

Quickly on in the photo experience we will talk about the time of your session. Typically, I shoot in the morning or evening.

So what’s better?

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I ask a few questions to get to the bottom of that question. First, if kids are involved they rule (the world!) and so it’s when they are the happiest. This is key (among other things!) to avoiding meltdowns.

It also depends on the time of year. During late spring and summer the morning and evening times are pretty early and late, respectively. During the late fall to winter the morning and evening times are later and early, respectively. If I really kept to the rule of shooting towards sunset, your two year old might be up until 9pm. So there is some flexibility when choosing times. BUT I do try to shoot around the same time to have a consistency to my photographs. Being a mom, I totally get it. I will never push a certain time on your family. That’d be bad for both of us.

Do I have a preference?

I’m so glad you asked! If I do have a preference it’d be for the morning. There are several reasons for this. The first photography technical side would be that in the morning I’m gaining light instead of loosing light. I love the photos that happen at the end of a photo shoot and so if I’m gaining light then I have more of a chance of getting those great shots.

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The morning light is just prettier to me too, if I had to be a poet (which would be the most awful job to me) I’d describe the morning light as innocent and humble. Does that make any sense? That might be such an artsy statement that shows I live on a different planet.

The morning is also less crowded. This comes in handy when photographing at an urban location. I also get the creeps when other photographers and families are around. In asking my families, they don’t like people around either.


What your wall gallery says about your personality

I LOVE meeting with families and talking about what they’ve always dreamed for their wall galleries.

It’s really interesting!

There are some questions I ask in the planning meeting to get down to the bottom of what people like. Wait, what’s a planning meeting? Read all about it here

There are people who like symmetrical, even spacing, exact same sizes and products.

symmetrical wall art

There are other people that are repelled by symmetry! They like different photographic products, sizes, textures, and spacing.

non symmetrical wall gallery

Both of these wall gallery designs fall into great wall pieces but are fitting for different people and different spaces too!

So what about you -
what does your personality say about your gallery you’d prefer in your home?

There are definitely mistakes in hanging wall galleries - for those check them out here!



Location of shoots: Lumen Room White Dallas (top) and Little Elm Texas (bottom)

How to communicate with your photographer

Has your photographer ever asked you what you actually want out of your photo session?

Have you always dreamed of a certain photo or your photos living in a certain place in your home?

Well you need to tell your photographer this!

All my sessions begin with a planning meeting. Here I ask several questions, never scripted, but I want to listen to what families have always wanted for their photos!

In one recent planning meeting I asked what was the main purpose of Whitney wanting photos. She told me that when her and Matt got married they didn’t have photos that they really wanted. If I would’ve never asked this question I would have never known the important of getting this amazing portrait of them together!

husband and wife portrait carrollton texas

In another planning meeting I asked the same question, Geeti mentioned that they had done family photos when their first was born but had become so busy they hadn’t had a single family photo of their family of four! I asked Geeti what style of portraits she likes better, posed looking at the camera or fun candid shots? She immediately told me candid. I focussed on those for the shoot (while still getting the posed looking at the camera shot - I call that the “holy grail” shot!) . I think this set us both up for success!

family candid photo coppell texas
What is a viewing session?

Hello!

I wanted to give you a sneak peek into my viewing session that is the 3rd step of my photo experience. I’m always REALLY nervous about situations I have no idea what is going to happen, so if you’re like me then hopefully I can put your mind at ease!

There are 4 parts to all of my family’s photo experience. The third step is a viewing session.

So what exactly is a viewing session?

my photo experience

After your photos are edited and ready to go, we have your viewing session. Best case scenario we schedule a viewing session while we schedule everything else. The viewing session usually happens one week or so after your photo session. During busy season it can take a tad longer.

WHERE? At your house
WHAT DO I BRING? My laptop with a slideshow of your photos and my software I use to show you your photos on your walls (or a digitally mock-up of an album if that’s what you want instead). I also bring the products you said you were most interested in for your wall gallery.

HOW IT WORKS


We start the viewing session with a slideshow. One or two times? It’s up to you!

Secondly, you rate your photos. There are only two ratings, Xs or CHECKS.

Next, you compare your similar images. I suggest comparing all the sibling photos, mom and dad together, etc.

The whole point of what has happened up to this point is so that you can narrow the choices down to your most favorite photo.

Lastly, you view the pre-designed wall galleries (or albums).

Remember that photo I took of your wall? Remember that gallery that you said you liked the best? Remember the price that you knew for the gallery? All of that took place during the pre-planning session. View details of the pre-planning meeting if you missed it here!

Now you are just virtually viewing your actual photos on your mock up wall. You can change the arrangement, orientation, and sizes. You can swap out photos for your favorite.

The whole part of the viewing session is to find a home for all your favorite photos. I want you to have all your favorite photos out in the open for you and your family to enjoy them….not forgotten on some hard drive.

See your photos in your home helps you love and appreciate those closest in your life better. We all need a little more of that in our lives?

Location: Prairie Creek Park in Richardson Texas.

Pre-session planning meeting

Do you like when people listen to you?

One of my pet peeves is when people are more interested in themselves when I’m trying to talk to them about something that is important to me. It’s a give a take relationship because you think what you’re talking about is important but at the same time you have to listen to the other person because they’re important too. It’s a mind swirling kind of thing.

It’s something we emphasis in our home every single day. Other people are important, they’re more important than ourselves. Treat other people as more important than you.

So that’s what I bring to the pre-session planning meeting.

Usually this happens in your home and I come and sit and listen to you. I’ll ask you a few leading questions, but I’m really there to listen to what you say. Because it’s IMPORTANT, you’re important!

Here are some of the questing I might ask (this isn’t based off of a script so they’re never the same!)

  1. When was the last time you had photos taken?

  2. What was that like? 

  3. Where do you see your photos from our session living in your home?

  4. What are some characteristics of your kids that you want me to focus on during the

    photo session?

  5. What do the photos look like that you've always imagined on the walls of your home?

So why do you have to answer all these questions?

Well you’re important to me! Also, it sets up both up for success! I always give this example…

If you’ve always dreamed of having square photos in your living room, but you never tell me…then you might get photos that you’re disappointed with. If I don’t ask - or don’t listen…then I’ll never know this about you! Not all photos can be cropped as squares!

This photo’s crop is very tight! I would suggest using a rectangle crop instead.  The sisters on the end look like they’re being pushed out of the family!

This photo’s crop is very tight! I would suggest using a rectangle crop instead. The sisters on the end look like they’re being pushed out of the family!

This is a much better example of a photo that can be cropped square.

This is a much better example of a photo that can be cropped square.

So all in all, setting out all the expectations is the way I like things to roll! Everyone is happier in the end!