Why You Need a Dedicated Family Photographer

Here’s the thing about kids: they never stop growing. Shocking news, I know. I’m sorry I had to break it to you. The good thing, though, is that the changes they go through aren’t unnoticed. You see them daily and with a good family photographer, you can record those milestones.

Nathan here. I’m half of the humans of Porter Loves Photography and the photographer behind it all. There’s a family I have been photographing for almost 12 years. Through the magic of film, I have watched their daughter go from a baby to a toddler to a big sister and it’s been an absolute honor.

The wonderful thing about consistently being there to photograph the family is a benefit both on the family’s side and on my side as the photographer. The family gets better photos because I’m able to establish a connection with the family and get to know them closer as friends.

A dedicated family photographer…it isn’t just for royalty anymore! Here’s why you need to take photos consistently as a family.

As I’ve mentioned before, it takes some kids a long time to warm up to a stranger, especially one holding a metal box to his face. Half, sometimes even more, of the first session with children is always about them. I like to take the time to introduce myself, get to know them, share what we’re doing together, and observe them interacting with their family.

Kids are just trying to figure out the world around them and some are more reluctant to open up to new experiences than others. In the subsequent sessions, they already know me. They know what the expectation and situation is going to be, so their brains can relax a little; they aren’t trying to “figure it out” anymore and they can just enjoy themselves.

Because I know their personalities, I can easily manage them in front of the camera. Each session is better than the one before because I already have that knowledge of how they act. I know what the kids look like before they’re about to genuinely smile so I can capture that better.

I think of it this way: you can read a person when they walk in the door and get a decent photo that way. But if you sit and watch them for half an hour, you can observe their mannerisms. A photographer is able to get a much can take a better photo because you’ve been able to see their mannerisms.

Being a repeat family photographer means we can plan better for future sessions. Rachel and Scott do this with me before every shoot to take away as many less-than-ideal factors as possible. We’ll know to avoid a certain part of the park because the kids weren’t into the swings last time or remember to bring extra snacks to stave off the mid-day grumpies. For as prepared as I and the family can be, the session isn’t always 100% ideal. There’s always something that can be learned from for the next time.

There’s also the connection that I’m able to establish with the children. At a past photoshoot for a family wedding, the couple’s son was throwing cards and he gave one to me. You best believe that I’m bringing that card to the next shoot we do with their family.

Last, but not least, having a dedicated family photographer to take repeat photos of your family means that you’re going to get some incredible perks and products. Every family gets digital files after our session together and you can order as many prints as you want; however, that’s just one day of photos.

When we have an ongoing relationship, we can make collages and albums with years of sourced imagery. We can take the same photo in the same spot and see how your children are growing. You can also have an album of all the family events without having to do any work. An album of your baby’s first years without having to lift a finger to make it? Sounds ideal to me!

When you work with a dedicated family photographer and consistently get together for family photos, you can see the changes in your kids and your family overall. Most importantly, you can mark those changes in the photos we take together. You can remember what was happening around the time the photo was taken.

Spring Mini Sessions are Blooming!

We absolutely love supporting our Swissvale community here at Porter Loves Photography. We live, work, play, eat, support other businesses, and everything in between in Swissvale. Really, it’s no secret. We’ve written extensively about how important it is to us to keep the community first and foremost.

A way that we enjoy giving back to the community is by using our photography skills to help new families who come into our neighborhood make memories. Every family should have memories of their partner, kids, cousins, pets, and other family members interacting together.

We were happy to create inspiring images that families will always love during our Fall Mini Sessions, so we decided to offer Spring Mini Sessions! Join us on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at Westinghouse Park for a quick and fun photo session with your family.

Mini photo sessions are a great chance to treat mom to photos of the entire family, herself included. Many times in DIY photography, someone is left holding the camera and, sadly, is missing from the photos. And because this is happening in the springtime, you get to be outside and enjoy the Pittsburgh weather before the humidity and crummy parts of summer kick in.

Westinghouse is a beautiful urban park in North Point Breeze. The park has playground equipment, lots of trees, and expansive green space. Whether your family loves to run around and be active or you prefer to relax and hang out, this spot is a great backdrop for you and your family. And since it’s a park, fur family is welcome!

We should also mention there is ample street parking on all sides of the park. (Trust us, we know that parking can make or break your decision to come to an event, so we thought long and hard about where would be the easiest spot for you!)

Porter Loves is committed to being inclusive and welcoming to all clients. We believe everyone should have the chance to enjoy family photos regardless of your background. If an accommodation can help you fully participate in our offerings, please contact us and let us know.

Sessions are available for a sliding scale of $50-80 and will include five digital files with a print release. You will also have the option to purchase prints, albums, and other items featuring your family’s photos through us if you desire. Stay up to date and invite your friends by following the event on Facebook.

To snag your spot, click here to reserve a time. If you have questions, please email sam@porterloves.com!




Remove the Stress of Family Photography when We Come to You

Something we like to do a lot here at Porter Loves Photography is personalize your Our Everyday photoshoot experience to your family. While we have given you some suggestions of where to hold your shoot, we also love when you share your unique perspective and individualize your session to your tastes. One of our favorite things to do is in-home photoshoots. They’re the most memorable for a lot of our families because we’re able to come to you and give you special photos that reflect your space.

Our Everyday sessions in your home are comfortable for families because, again, you’re in your home. We’ve shared before how important it is for Nathan to take a little time to get kiddos familiar with the camera so the photos he takes are natural. It’s even easier when children don’t have too many unknown factors. It can be a lot for them to be in an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar person doing an unfamiliar thing with an unfamiliar object. When we come to your home, one of those X factors is removed and children usually warm up very quickly. That was definitely evident with the Alexander family!

One of the biggest benefits aside from comfort that we love about coming to your home to photograph your family is the personality that we’re able to capture. You decorate your home in a particular way with certain objects on display. These are often items of great significance. Having them in the photos creates a great environment for meaningful, authentic family photos.

Another benefit to in-home photos is the inherent ease they give to the session. Did you realize you have a stain on your shirt or there’s a tear in someone’s pants? You can easily change! We also like to tell families to wear things that are comfortable and representative of who you are, but sometimes, you start out wearing an outfit that you think is right and turns out to be the opposite. Again, you can just pop into the other room to update what you’re wearing.

Further, we always caution families to be fed before the photo session starts and ensure snacks are on hand for the grumpies. When you take photos in your home, your kitchen is right there! Snacks all around, whenever you need and want them! Hell, your session could focus on making something together in the kitchen if that is what your family enjoys doing together.

When you do a “staycation” photoshoot and opt to have us come into your home for an Our Everyday session, you’ll gain ease and flow in your day with natural photos that remove any stress and unfamiliarity associated with going to an external location. You’ll also have one-of-a-kind photos that are completely representative of who you are as a family.

Take a Peek at Nathan’s Process

When the photoshoot ends, the work doesn’t end for the photographer. Oh, no. Like The Carpenters, we’ve only just begun. Actually, that isn’t true. We’ve done a lot of prep work before the photoshoot even started. Not everyone is a photographer, though, and we wanted to share our process with you. When you see all the work that goes into making your family photos memorable, you definitely have a new appreciation for the finished product that’s delivered to you.

Before the Photoshoot 

Like we said above, only part of what goes into making a photo visually beautiful is what you actually see during the photoshoot. With Our Everyday photo sessions, many of our shoots happen outside where conditions are much harder to predict than inside.

Naturally, we have to get to know weather patterns. Photographers are mini-meteorologists! In the days leading up to a shoot, Nathan is checking his phone’s (many) weather apps to ensure favorable conditions that lend themselves to having electronics (and small children!) outside for long periods of time.

Because of the unpredictable nature of, well, nature, we also have to scout a few locations in case we get rained or snowed out of our main location. If you’re wondering how we handle weather conditions on your big day, we wrote an entire post dedicated to it right here!

When shooting outside, we also have to learn about the path of the sun to ensure you’re in the right place for the best shot and that our cameras are picking up the right light. There are many phone apps to aid in shooting in the best light possible and Nathan has tried just about all of them. He takes lighting very seriously.

Perhaps the biggest thing photographers do before a shoot is learn their equipment. It’s imperative to taking good photos. Think about it: you wouldn’t go into an exam unprepared yet still expect a perfect score. Nathan studies every camera he gets his hands on to understand exactly what he has to do to produce the best possible results. Every good photographer knows his tools inside and out and how they react to light, movement, and other elements in order to get the best results in-camera and minimize the need for editing later on.

During the Photoshoot

Once we know the weather will behave and everything is in the proper light, it’s time to get the perfect shot. While it looks like we’re just running around with your family and a camera, there’s a little more to it than that.

We keep an eye on the scene to make sure the shot is clean. There’s nothing worse than finally getting a smile out of a timid toddler only to realize the picture was sullied by trash on the ground or the appearance of a tree growing out of your head. Sure, we can edit some of this, but it isn’t always possible and we’d really prefer to get a good shot in the moment than trying to airbrush a chip bag out of the frame later.

We’re also adjusting on the fly based on the mood of everyone in the shot. We’d rather naturally let a vignette happen, so we don’t tell you how to pose or where to stand. That said, we will suggest situational activities or guide you into a zone where the light and backdrop makes for a better photo.

After the Photoshoot

Once the camera is cleaned off and the lights are packed away, it’s time to process your photos. The biggest part of post-processing we do is to pick the best photos. You know, the ones where no one’s eyes are closed, no one is mid-sneeze, and so on.

Porter Loves Photography does minimal editing. Real life kids and families interacting together is our jam and as we’ve said many times over, we don’t want perfect photos.

Wait, let me rephrase. You don’t have to be perfect to make memories with your family and we aren’t going to edit you to look like you are! Our typical editing is mainly light color correction, no teeth whitening or waistline reducing happening here. More extensive editing does happen on occasion when kids are sick and we need to break out the Snot-Be-Gone tool in Photoshop. Other than that, we prefer to let you look like you.

Hopefully this has shed some light on the work photographers do when they aren’t actively photographing you. There is a lot that goes into getting a great shot and we wouldn’t trade that work for the world because we know we’re helping you preserve great memories with every click of the camera.