Family portraits: why hire a professional photographer?
PUBLISHED: 12:14 01 October 2020
Capturing those special moments gives every family something exceptional to treasure for years to come. And booking a professional photographer can make all the difference to both the photo shoot experience and the quality of the portraits.
Photographer Alexander Beer and his wife, television presenter Ruth Frances, have recently launched Surrey-based You by Us.
Alex is a winner of the Portrait of Britain competition 2020 and worldwide retailer the Body Shop won a Responsible Business Award for their Plastics for Change campaign featuring Alex’s photography.
He has photographed famous faces, including actors Gemma Arterton, Dominic Cooper and Himesh Patel, and Kimberly Wyatt of the Pussycat Dolls and her family.
In addition to business branding, food and drink, and film shoots, You by Us focuses on family photography, aiming to portray those special moments in a unique, relaxed style.
Here they discuss what a professional photographer can bring to a family photo shoot:
Q: Why did you decide to go into family photography?
One of the main observations we made throughout lockdown was the nation’s need to connect with family even if not in person. We noticed a demand for photographs of families with children and babies or baby bumps. These captured moments in time can make beautiful gifts and help us feel more connected. Alex started in modelling but discovered a passion for photography in 2008; since then he has worked on some diverse projects in fashion, sport, retail advertising and more. He has always enjoyed portrait photography and has shot many commercial family groups for clients. So, transferring this ability and skill to the consumer market, just seemed to make sense – now more than ever.
Q: Why is it important to use a professional family photographer?
Many families we have worked with comment on how nice it is to all be in shots together as the person taking the pictures is usually missing! A professional photographer can see images, moments and angles that you cannot – and you can just “be” in the moment as he or she shoots around you. Alex loves working with natural light and is very creative. He has a way of quietly capturing a moment when everyone is relaxed and having fun together. His open and friendly attitude ensures even those who are nervous or uncomfortable feel relaxed and in good hands. Ruth brings even more positive, uplifting energy when she assists Alex; both are very natural with children and encourage them to have fun.
Q: Which locations can work well for a family shoot?
Home, garden and special places that you have a connection with can often work better than studios. If you feel familiar with a location, this adds to you feeling relaxed and makes the images more meaningful to you and your family. We photographed the Bailey family, who are moving away, at home and in their favourite park; these photos have even more meaning to them as their children enjoyed their first years there. As a special addition, we also shot a cine film, which we edited and set to music, on a vintage Super8 camera for them.
Q. How should people prepare for the shoot?
Depending on your shoot location colours, you can create a beautiful colour palette that will look stunning in a photo frame in your house if you spend a little time preparing your space and your outfits. Choose clothes you are comfortable in; neutral tones or block colours are always good, but no labels or brand logos. Dramatic haircuts and new styles are not necessary as you may not feel as relaxed if you don’t look like yourself. If you have a room you would like to shoot in, tidy away any clutter but images can often be cropped so no need for a full spring clean! Plus, children feel more comfortable with their toys to play with and familiar surroundings.