5 Tips for a Fun and Successful Family Photo Session

5 Tips for a Fun and Successful Family Photo Session

The thought of getting our family ready for photographs can be a daunting feeling. So much so, we can find ourselves putting it off year after year!

Don't put it off another year. Treat yourself to some beautiful family photos in 2017. And to help you prepare, I've written this blog post for you to read which provides my 5 tips for a fun and successful family photo session. 

If you're interested in pricing and 2017 session availability please submit your details below. As every family is different the more information you can provide the better, so we can get a feel for what you would like to achieve.

I hope you enjoy the read...

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Tip 1: Choosing the right location

The location for your family session is very important because it will be the backdrop for your beautiful photos. A location that you visit and enjoy as a family is a good idea but bear in mind that if you enjoy a particular place, it is likely to be enjoyed by others and so it may be crowed at certain times. 

North Bridge at Concord offers a great space for family photos 

North Bridge at Concord offers a great space for family photos 

However, some families feel a little uneasy about the thought of having formal photos in a public space so if you have a large enough space at home, choosing to have photos done in your own home can be a good idea. Not only will it offer you privacy, you may feel more relaxed. This is not to say that a beautiful public place should be overlooked. The time of day or the day of the week will make a difference here.

We chose to have last years holiday photo in our front yard at home

We chose to have last years holiday photo in our front yard at home

Tip 2: Choosing the date and right time of day

You may have heard the term “the golden hour”, which is a term often used by photographers. It describes the time up to one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. On a sunny day, the light is much warmer and softer at these times and creates great conditions for photos. My tip is to meet for a photo session 30 – 60 minutes before golden hour so there is plenty of time and no rushing about. As this time is different every day of the year, please refer to this online sunset calculator to help plan your session: Sunset Calculator

This lovely family choose to have their session during golden hour at the Historic Wayside Inn

This lovely family choose to have their session during golden hour at the Historic Wayside Inn

This may seem obvious but if you have young children, having a family photo session on a warm summers evening may sound appealing but it will mean that your children will need to be up late! But also bear in mind the temperature change as the light fades in the cooler months.

Whilst golden hour can be a lovely time for photos, it may seem contradictory for me to say that a cloud covered sky in the middle of the day is also a great time to have photos because the clouds also create beautiful soft light.

These little guys are happiest in the morning so we went for an early morning photo session 

These little guys are happiest in the morning so we went for an early morning photo session 

  

Tip 3: Plan your outfits

This is quite a big topic so to help you further, I've created a FREE style guide, which provides some great tips for her, for him and how to co-ordinate the whole crew. If you would like a copy of my free family photo style guide, sign up for your free copy:

  

Tip 4:  Relax and have fun

If you all relax and have fun, it will show in your photos. But I realize that’s easy to say, especially if the little ones aren’t in the mood for photos! I’m a daddy too so I appreciate how children can often dictate the mood.

My advice is to allow enough time for your session. This is why I don’t like to stick to ridged time limits. The more time you have, the more chance your family will have to relax and enjoy the photo session. It will also give you a lot more photos to choose from for your final set of images. 

Family and their pet dog enjoying their time together  

Family and their pet dog enjoying their time together  

I recommend that you pack a bag with snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help us get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera. If they are old enough to understand you, it’s a good idea to prepare them for what’s to come before the session starts. Explain how much the photos mean to you so they know to be on their best behavior.

A lot of families pick something fun in advance as a treat after the session if they’re good listeners, like an ice cream cone, for example. It also helps if they’re bellies are full and they’ve has some good rest beforehand. Once you prepare them physically and mentally, then feel free to give them (and you!) grace! 

Tip 5: Plan where your favorite photo will hang

This is one of the most important things I find that families sometimes overlook and its one of the first questions I ask… “What do you plan to do with your photos”?

In a world where we have become accustomed to viewing, swiping, tapping and sharing from our phones, it’s easy to forget about print and how it provides long, lasting value in our lives. Whilst having pictures on our phones is easy and convenient, there is nothing like having a beautiful family picture hung on a wall in your home. It will provide you and your family with a reminder of how special your family is every time you walk past it.

Print will provide you with a little piece of history, a family heirloom if you will. You might also like to have a beautifully made family album or create some holiday cards. 

Family Photo Session Checklist: 

1. Set date, time and location for your photo session

2. Request my Family Photo Style Guide

3. Choose your outfits

4.  Pack a bag on the day with:

- Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots

- Second outfit (if you’re doing two)

- Touch-up makeup

- Water bottle (for warmer sessions)

- Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)

- Snacks for the little ones

- If you have a toddler or younger, small eye-catching toys (or lollipops) to hold their attention

I can’t wait to work with you!

Stuart Beeby

Thank you for reading. If you are interested in pricing and 2017 session availability please submit your details below. The more information you can share the better, so we can get a feel for what you would like to achieve. 

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Senior and Family Photography in Sudbury, MA

Senior and Family Photography in Sudbury, MA

I really love the opportunity to mix natural light with my mobile light set up, which includes multiple speed lights, triggers, modifiers and reflectors. So when Camden Francis asked me to photograph him and create a portfolio to send to model agencies, I was looking forward to our photo session in Sudbury, MA.

We chose the Grist Mill in Sudbury for the pictures because it was local for all of us and it offers lots of different and beautiful compositions and backdrops. We met late afternoon. The light was golden and was casting beautiful colors and shadows all over the place.  

We started off with quite a few natural light shots just to get comfortable and then we pulled out a gold reflector which really added to the warm light and it worked really well with Camden’s complexion, giving a nice dreamy look and feel.

Camden Blog.jpg

Back in the studio when I edited the images, I worked with a few black n white looks and I landed on this one, which I felt just popped off the screen. It was a definite keeper and it was the one chosen for our local town publication Get Local MA

Camden Blog 2.jpg

Camden wanted to try a few different looks so we made our way around the Mill area and he was making some quick outfit changes. We were running out of available light so it was time to get out the flash and triggers and to play with the quickly fading light conditions.

It was a really busy fall season for family sessions but this was going to be a shoot with a number of outfit changes and aside from multiple looks, the family also wanted photos of Camden's younger brother and some with them together for their holiday card. 

This photo session was a lot of fun and we were all really pleased with the results. I sent off their chosen images to my print lab and produced a beautiful 24 page 8 x 10 folio for Camden which we personalized for him.   

Happy Holidays from Stuart Beeby Photography

Happy Holidays from Stuart Beeby Photography

Happy Holidays!! I took this shot of my son, Oliver and his cousin, Hollie during a recent trip to the UK and it was used on the front cover for a local publication called Get Local MA

Christmas_.jpg

If you're anything like me, you like a last minute deal and with a few days left before the Christmas Holiday, I thought I'd share some good deals I just found on Amazon..

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Wayside Inn Sudbury Family Photo Session

Wayside Inn Sudbury Family Photo Session

Columbus Day was beautiful and sunny and there was a slight autumnal chill in the air. It was photo day for the Crocker Family and we chose the quieter area behind the Historic Wayside Inn, Sudbury to have our fall photo session. The area behind the Wayside Inn is quite hidden away and even people who have lived in Sudbury for a number of years, don't realize it is there. If you enjoy fly fishing, the small pond has some nice size trout in it too!

Family Photographer in Sudbury MA

This was the first time the family had booked a professional photography session. They were all very relaxed and enjoyed their first family shoot together. I don't think anyone would argue that they look great together.

Wayside Inn Sudbury Family Photos

The children's families outfits were really well matched, which always makes for great photos. We found this little spot by the pond where the late afternoon sunlight was streaming through the trees and the grey barn in the background balanced nicely with the color of the childrens clothing.

Family Photographer in Sudbury MA

I always  include candid photos during a family photo shoot. I like to capture the family walking together. Its a great opportunity for the family to relax away from the camera for a while too.  I ran out ahead and had them walking toward me, while I used my long lens from a distance to capture these natural moments. 

 Sudbury MA Family Photo session

 Sudbury MA Family Photo session

Their dog, Andy is such a sweet, friendly dog and really completes the family. I love how the picture above came out. It was exactly how I wanted to capture their special family bond.

Late afternoon is my favorite time to take photos. The light is at its best and at this time of the year, when sunlight streams through the autumnal colors, its spectacular... 

We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful area and the fall season in Sudbury MA offers great opportunities to have family photos taken. Wayside Inn is a very popular place to have photos too. 

Family Photos Wayside Inn Sudbury

I really appreciated the opportunity to provide my photography services to this lovely family in Sudbury and we were all happy with the way the photos came out.

Wayside Inn Sudbury Family Photographer

If you're still thinking about a family photo session and you live in or around the Sudbury MA area then please get in touch. The colors are still brilliant and you will have your images back in time to order your 2017 holiday cards..

Please complete the contact form below to schedule your photo session or drop me an email: 

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Adirondack Road Trip

Adirondack Road Trip

I've been interested and fascinated by the natural world and the night sky for as long as I can remember.  My landscape photography often features sunsets and sunrises which means when I'm out on location at either end of a day, I see lots of wildlife. So just by getting out with my camera to capture the beauty that surrounds us, I'm often treated with a nice little surprise and a glimpse of nature, which many people don't get to see. My 7 year old son will often ask me "how come you get to see all the cool stuff, daddy??

The truth is to see all the "cool stuff" takes a lot of effort, planning and commitment. When my son is a bit older and has learned patience, I hope to show him all the beauty that surrounds us, including the less obvious and how through photography, we are able to capture it.

At 7 years old he is already showing an interest in the night sky and can point out Venus and Jupiter but at that age its difficult to comprehend the magnitude and I'm looking forward to asking him, if he has ever stopped and wondered how big the universe is or even how big our galaxy, the Milky Way is? 

I would explain to him that a beam of light can travel around the circumference of the Earth 7.5 times in just 1 second....

 

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 100mm,  ISO 100, F16, 4 seconds

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 100mm,  ISO 100, F16, 4 seconds

.. Yet it would take that same beam of light, 100,000 years to travel from one side of our galaxy to the other. And that our galaxy is just one of more than 100 Billion other galaxies!  

But thats still difficult to comprehend, even for adults. So maybe to help him put it into context I will ask him to look at a music CD, to hold it in his hand . Now imagine if he could place our entire solar system on that CD, with the sun in the middle and the 8 planets in orbit around it. And then at that scale, our Earth would represent the actual size of the Milky Way galaxy.!!

That's how big our own galaxy is!! It contains more than 100 Billion stars. How can anyone not feel humbled by the shear scale of what surrounds us? 

CD Solar System Sudbury Photography

I've always been fascinated with the night sky ever since my dad got me to look up on a very clear night when I was 7 years old. My dad pointed out a faint milky white strip of light arching overhead and he explained to me that we were looking at the Milky Way. I was fascinated but I didn't really understand or appreciate what I was looking at, at the time.  

Now at almost 44 years old, I wanted to once again look up and see that faint milky white strip but this time I wanted to take a picture of it. But what exactly is that strip of light that arches over the sky? The ancient Romans named it Via Lactea, which translates to The Road of Milk. Now, with centuries of collective knowledge and modern technology we not only know what we are looking at, we can capture it in a way that the ancient Romans would never have even dreamed of. Essentially, we are looking into our own galaxy and the milky white strip is the collective light from the billions of distant stars that make up the center of the Milky Way- The Galactic Center.

In order to photograph it, I knew that I needed really dark skies, away from all the street lights, buildings  and traffic but where could I get the dark skies?  I discovered a very useful website called darksitefinder.com which shows a map of the world and how light or dark an area of the map is at night. The map showed me that the Adirondack mountain range in the State of New York would provide the dark skies I was looking for. So I packed my car and set off on the 5 hour drive in search of dark skies. 

I needed to make sure I had the right camera gear with me . I use a Canon 6D for my camera body and I own a few different lenses but none that would give me the shot I was planning, so I rented a Canon 14 mm 2.8 prime lens from my local camera gear rental shop: lensprotogo.com.

I wasn't sure exactly where I was going but I knew that I needed to find somewhere before it got too dark in order to set up my camera. Setting up a camera in the dark isn't fun and its very easy to lose something in the process! I looked for somewhere that had big skies in a more open area of the landscape, away from all the tree cover. I also wanted a foreground element which would give some interest and scale to my night shot.

It was the end of June and the fireflies were dancing everywhere around me. It was impressive to see so many. In fact you can just make some out in the image below. I knew that I had to take two exposures to give me the finished photo. I would have to take one shot for the sky and the other for the tree in the foreground which I lit up with my torch or flash light. I then combined the two images  to give me my first ever photo of the Milky Way Galactic Center:  

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 14mm, ISO 2000, F2.8, 15 seconds

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 14mm, ISO 2000, F2.8, 15 seconds

Aside from man made light pollution, the biggest source of light in any night sky is more often, the Moon! As part of my research and planning I had to check out timeanddate.com which tells you the times of moon rise and moon set.  

After I got my first shot, I kept driving north and I came to a highway which was quiet and dark. I looked out of the car window and I could still make out the Milky Way with my naked eye. I could also see a faint yellowish moon rising over the mountains in the distance. I knew I didn't have long before the moon overpowered the sky with its reflective light so I had to move fast. I stopped the car and framed up the composition I wanted, which was to capture the moon rise and the Milky Way overhead in the same shot. It was very tricky to get the right exposure because the moon is so bright compared to the faint Milky Way. I was pleased the way the final image turned out though. 

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 14mm, ISO 2000, F2.8, 15 seconds

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 14mm, ISO 2000, F2.8, 15 seconds

I had planned to really rough it on this short trip to the mountains so I didn't stay in any fancy hotels in comfortable beds with room service. I slept on a foam mattress in my car. And of course in mid summer, the days are long and the nights are short so I only had a few hours between this last photo of the night sky before I would have to get up to capture a sunrise.   

After a very uncomfortable few hours "sleep" I got up about 20 minutes before the sun rose, feeling exhausted  but just in time to set my camera up. I've learned that taking pictures of sun rise is really difficult and it takes a lot of effort! Not only does it mean an early start but getting the exposure right is tough. To shoot into the sun often creates unwanted flaring in the lens and the difference between the light of the sun and the areas in shadow is vast. Time is against you too. The sun rises pretty fast so you don't have the luxury of trying lots of different shots but I end up with this panoramic:   

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 105mm, ISO 100, F9.0, 1/100 sec

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 105mm, ISO 100, F9.0, 1/100 sec

To capture the sunrise was great but to get this image meant walking over some train tracks and as I was taking the photos, I could hear a train in the distance. I was literally a few feet away from the track and then the train  showed up. I was stuck between a drop into the lake below me and the train tracks. I braced myself as the train thundered passed me. It was quite a scary moment...

Stuart Beeby" Canon 6D, 32mm, ISO 100, F4.0, 1/80 sec

Stuart Beeby" Canon 6D, 32mm, ISO 100, F4.0, 1/80 sec

After a cheeky McDonald breakfast (well, I was only holiday), I found a waterfall. I'd not taken pictures of waterfalls before but I knew that wanted to show the movement of the water falling over the rocks. By now though, the sun was up and it was pretty light. To show movement of water requires a slower shutter speed, which in turn lets more light into the camera which  over expose your shot so I had to use an ND Filter on the front of the lens to let a lot less light into the camera, which allowed me to slow the shutter speed enough to give the effect of silky soft flowing water:

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 21mm, ISO 100, F5.6, 13.0 seconds

I drove up into the Keene valley area of the Adirondacks and I was taken back with its beauty. Its such a lovely area and I recommend to anyone that they check it out. White Face Mountain is one of the, if not the only mountain you can drive your car close to the summit.. Its not that I'm a lazy, unfit person but time was against me on this trip and I didn't have the time to hike a full mountain.  

I really wanted to get another shot of the Milky Way from the top of the mountain but sadly, they close the summit even before sunset so I was only able to take a few daytime shots along with all the other tourists. Of course, I had to get a mountain summit selfie with my dog, Daisy looking over East Lake.

Stuart Beeby Sudbury Photography

I did manage to find a nice panoramic composition from near to the summit with the mountain road, snaking up the mountain below me:

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 33mm, ISO 100, F16, 1/80 sec

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 33mm, ISO 100, F16, 1/80 sec

I noticed that the clouds had really started to build up and I wondered how I would get a other night sky photo with so much cloud around. So I checked my phone for weather and worked out that if I headed back towards home but staying in the mountains in southern Vermont, I would get clearer skies. 

Before I headed out though, I wanted to get another waterfall so I drove to an area nearby where I knew there was a waterfall. But as I walked through the woods towards the falls, I noticed something on the path up ahead of me. You remember earlier, I said that my son always asks me how come I got to see all the cool stuff: 

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 100mm, ISO 1600, F.4.0, 1/200 sec

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 100mm, ISO 1600, F.4.0, 1/200 sec

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 100mm, ISO 1600, F.4.0, 1/200 sec

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 100mm, ISO 1600, F.4.0, 1/200 sec

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 100mm, ISO 1600, F.4.0, 1/200 sec

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 100mm, ISO 1600, F.4.0, 1/200 sec

Now its at this point,  I remembered telling my wife that I had planned to go and get lost in the mountains with the camera fro the weekend and she jokingly said  "well don't get and get yourself mauled by a bear or anything will you".  laughing it off, I said "yeah right". But even though I knew there were bears in the area, I had never thought I would actually come face to face with one and her two cubs!

When I saw the cubs I really had to be careful because I knew she would be extra sensitive and protective. I just wish I had a longer lens with me so that I could have got closer in but it was still a special moment.     

Stuart Beeby" Canon 6D, 100mm, ISO 1600, F4.0, 1/50 sec

Stuart Beeby" Canon 6D, 100mm, ISO 1600, F4.0, 1/50 sec

I set out on this trip to photograph the Milky Way but to see a wild bear with her two cubs in the woods was the icing on the cake for me. 

I reached my last destination just as the sun had set behind the mountains. It was getting dark and I spotted this old, weather beaten barn, which I thought would make for a good foreground for my final Milky Way shot on this trip.

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 14mm, ISO 2500, F2.8, 15 seconds

Stuart Beeby: Canon 6D, 14mm, ISO 2500, F2.8, 15 seconds

I  liked the way this last image ended up because the red faded color of the barn matches the glow from the galactic center.

My road trip to the Adirondacks was so memorable for me and I'm looking forward to going back with my son one day and to show him how to capture it for others to see and to show him what is possible with some planning, a lot of commitment and a passion for photographing the World around us.

Stuart Beeby

stuartbeebyphotography.com