“Casual portrait” sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? “Portrait” makes one think of posing in front of a mottled blue cloth, perhaps at a department store, and gazing into the flat, bright lights of the studio. And the blue cloth certainly has its place, sometimes – I was window-shopping for one recently myself.
But I much prefer to take photos of people outdoors, when the light is good, and when the setting has a chance to become part of the photos. The beach has endless appeal in this area, but recently, I visited Pennsylvania and had the opportunity to do portrait shoots in park settings. The flowers were gorgeous, and the grass and trees were lush and green. With the sun low in the sky, the light was divine.
One of the shoots was with members of my family, and as they started to relax and have fun, the pictures reflected their mood. I especially like the shots of my dad playing with my nephew; it was so nice to see such rare happiness. Little kids have a lot to do with that! The pictures of my brother’s family came out well, too. It was as if summer added its glow to the scene.
Are you getting portraits taken of your family for a special occasion, or maybe for holiday cards? Or maybe you’re just overdue. I recommend having a photographer do a portrait session in a beautiful place, or a place with texture and interest, or a place that means something to you. Prepare to spend some time. Coordinate your clothes, but you don’t all have to wear the same thing. (Though jeans and white or pastel shirts can be very effective!) Avoid brand names and logos on the kids’ shirts, for a more timeless look. And play. A good photographer will play with you, and you’ll get joyous, spontaneous and even some “formal” informal portraits to treasure.
See more photos from these sessions and others in my photo galleries.