Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Portrait Day Wednesday: Booking, Shooting, & Selling The Family Portrait - Divide And Conquer - Part 11

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Yep, we had another VERY wild and wholly crowd of over 180 photogs in Cincinnati, OH last night. Here is a shot from the very popular "Door Prize Time" part of the program. As you know, we wrapped the Spring segment of my Digital WakeUp Call tour last night in Cincinnati, OH - city #30 on the schedule. The program was heard by just slightly less than 5500 enthusiastic photographers in 30 cities so far!

I'll tell you, giving a program in your own city is really kind of exciting - lots of friends and "family" came out to say "Hi" and, it was much appreciated - a great big Thank You to all who showed up.

We have the next few days off and LaDawn and I plan to just slow things down a bit. Next week, we will start booking the hotel locations for the Fall sessions so keep checking back over at Digital WakeUp Call and we will hope to see many smiling faces in attendance this fall.

I also got several projects scheduled over the summer including; producing 5 more Kelby Training videos, maybe a return visit to San Jose for a program at Google, many, many new ideas for DPT tutorials. I'll keep you posted with all the summer developments. - I think you will enjoy what's on my DPT "To-Do" list.

We've been discussing how to shoot the family portrait for the last several weeks. Last week I discussed lighting - shooting the portrait in direct sunlight [link]. I want to elaborate on that even more but for the sake of variety, I'm shifting gears this week and discussing the non-lighting points of the shoot. Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

Here we go...

Booking, Shooting, & Selling The Family Portrait - Divide And Conquer - Part 11
Two weeks ago in my post entitled, "A Good Looking Group", I covered how to bring the family group together in a sensible, pleasing, and flattering arrangement. Shooting a family portrait should be more than just getting the group together, taking a few shots, and moving to another location and repeating the process. Sure we want to do exactly that so we have nice variety in our shoot for the family to select their images. But folks that is only half the job - we still have a lot of shots to capture.

How many times do families get together for a family portrait? The answer to that question is "seldom" to "never" for most families. Busy lives means constantly postponing a family portrait. This is kind of a sad state of family affairs. Think about it - putting soccer, gymnastics, and so many other "busy" things in front of getting a family portrait taken; never being able to get mom and dad and kids together for a beautiful, lasting, and memorable portrait, I think, speaks a bit to our society which always seems to be in overdrive. Too bad and too sad for those families.

I photographed an event for a client in 1985. We had talked about getting together in the summer for a family portrait - it never happened. Our paths have crossed many times over these many years and the topic continues to come up, yet we never got around to that family portrait. I got a call form the mom a few months ago telling me her daughter was getting married - we had a great visit and we are scheduled to photograph the event.

Sure, we will get a family group photo at the wedding but it's just not the same. All these years have gone by where this family and so many others could have been enjoying a beautiful portrait of their family hanging in their home. I still enjoy the photographs of me and my kids as they were growing up. The moments captured in time are worth preserving - at least, in my humble opinion.

Anyway, let me get off of my soap box and get on with today's discussion. Since a family portrait is such a rare occasion for so many families, we really need to maximize our photographic efforts when we have then in front of the camera. In addition to just shooting the family group, we need to break the group into smaller groups as well showing the various family relationships.

Here are a few examples:
1. Entire family - photographed in at least 3 locations.
2. All the kids as a group.
3. Mom and Dad as a couple.
4. Mom with the girls.
5. Dad with the guys.

Anyway, you get the idea. These are just some of the combos that come up in one of our family group sessions.

Here are a few more:
6. Each child individually.
7. Mom and dad individually.
8. Dad with girls.
9. Mom with guys.
10. Lifestyle images of them just walking, playing, and laughing.

Once again, you get the idea that there are all kind of possibilities. These are the kind of examples you should show at the initial sales consultation too. Sales and great customer service is always about building the clients exceptions about what you can do for them and all the wonderful image choices they will have from the shoot. It's about getting them (and you) excited and fired up for the shoot!

Just browse through the images I've posted here, put your own "thinking cap" on and see where your imagination leads you, and then go out there and "knock their socks off!!"

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Like I said a little R&R and dinner with friends later today - Ahhhhh - the pause that refreshes ;~) See ya' tomorrow. -David


  1. Last night I was fortunate to attend Ziser’s jam packed Digital Wakeup Tour seminar at the beautiful Netherland Hilton Hotel. The ballroom in which the seminar was held was the same one that he has photographed many weddings and many of these pictures were posted around the room. The seminar was a great bargain and even if the price was doubled it would still have been worth the expense. David, his wife LaDawn, and his staff put on a wonderful seminar and you would have to be crazy not to attend. Prior to the official start of the seminar David I got to watch him take an informal portrait of Charlie Mosher of Graphic Authority fame. I saw how David used his on camera flash and bounce it off a shirt to establish a loop lighting pattern on Charlie which resulted in a wonderful professional portrait. The program was supposed to run from 6 to 10 pm however David started at 5:45 and finished 5 hours later at roughly10:45 pm. I enjoyed the program so much that I may attend again when it is offered in Columbus. Great Job.

  2. Hi David
    I like the soap box we learn so much and the stories are great for remembering. The stories are also great for sharing with prospects that we meet along the road of life. I still remember my step brother remising at his mother’s funeral, how it was hard to remember his mothers face. So when some says they don’t need a family portrait I tell them my brother’s story. The regret he held was so heavy. One of my 1st portraits when I became a photographer was to do his family portrait. Since then I have been able to do several portraits for his family. Now 40 years latter he has told me several times what a treasure they are to him and his family. Yes the soccer games and school activities ect ect ect. are all important. But a family portrait is a treasure. We are the makers and keepers of treasures. Believing in what you do comes through to your clients. So David please step up on that soap box.!
    Thanks for the memories.

  3. David, thanks for your great lighting advise. The information was invaluable. I find that I have to re-re-re-review the information as I capture new details every time I watch and/or read your stuff. I also crowned you as my new best buddy on my blog.

    Thanks, Max.