As summer roles in and free time becomes more than just another oxymoron falling from your lips, family is likely your first priority. In addition to the endless barbeques, pool parties, and vacations you have planned, the family photo is probably another item on your to do list. If you’re like most moms you may fear that this session will only result in catastrophe. But lighten up; Kortnee Kate from Kortnee Kate Photography has some amazing tips to help ease the pain of saying “cheese”.
Kortnee’s love for photography dates back to her childhood. Her obsession with old family photos gave her what she describes as, “a window into a time in the life” of those she loves. The interest in photography instantly turned into a career choice when Kortnee saw her son through the eyes of a camera. Kortnee claims she immediately called her husband at work and told him she knew exactly what she wanted to do for the rest of her life!
Look on Kortnee’s website and the first thing you will notice is that Kortnee is all about connecting. This connection is obvious in everything from her portfolio of brilliant photographs and playful videos to her personal blog.
“My blog is my connection to my clients. It is a chance for them to know me as a person as well as an artist. I love when (clients) bring up something about my life that I know they read on the blog.”
From the colorful layout of the website, to the user friendly links, to the blog that tells the story of Kate’s day-to-day life through a series of personal photographs and stories, you will indeed feel connected and know that you’re in good hands. So with that in mind, let’s get to Kortnee’s tips for achieving the perfect family photo!
- It’s all about the light… For perfect lighting, Kortnee suggests shooting about an hour and a half before sundown. Harsh lighting can lead harsh looking photographs. This time of day offers a window of stunning daylight without the sun beaming in your eyes as you look into the camera.
- Relax…Afraid that your little munchkins will turn into Gremlins before you even make it to the shoot? Just relax, literally. Instead of filling your day with running errands and subjecting the family to 10 wardrobe changes, give them a chance to be calm. Let your husband flip on ESPN, take a bath with bubbles, allow your children the comfort of taking their naps and playing with their toys. The goal is to go into the shoot happy and excited, not sweaty and frazzled.
- Snacks, drinks, and bribes, oh my… Any mom will argue that she hates to fill her child with junk food; however, in a pinch having a bag full of M&M’s or Sour Patch Kids may be just what you need to dry the tears and bring on the smiles. Having drinks and additional snacks on hand for the whole family will ensure that everyone has something to cure a sudden case of crabbiness.
- Wear what you like… Just because this is a family photograph does not mean you have to look like you all just swam through a sea of Polo shirts and sundresses. The real purpose of a family photo should be to showcase the family. This means that each person’s personality should shine through in their wardrobe. While Kate agrees that there should be some unification to the styles, allowing each person to look unique will actually make the photo truly pop.
- Props are a good thing… Does your daughter have a favorite book? Do your husband and son love throwing a baseball together? Bring those items along to the shoot. The family photo session has become so much more than just a stiff, collective smile into the camera. Today it’s all about action shots, candid shots, and photos that really illustrate the life you live together.
- Candid + pose= the perfect shoot… A good mix of the two types of photographs not only makes the shoot a lot more fun but will also make the photos much more interesting to look at. While Kate does enjoy snapping candid shots of families just being themselves, she admits that there are times when posing is necessary. Kate describes the mix of candid and posed photographs as, “A beautiful dance that happens between a photographer and their client.” It is this dance that will keep you and your family at ease throughout the entire shoot and create photos you can all cherish for a lifetime!
Skinny Mom Fact: The word photography derives from the Greek words “photos”, meaning light and “graphien”, meaning to draw. Now go gather the troops and see what kind of amazing ‘light’ Kortnee can ‘draw’ to your family!