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The Family Session Workflow

Lesson 10 from: FAST CLASS: Get Started with Lifestyle Family Photography

Elena S Blair

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Lesson Info

10. The Family Session Workflow

Lesson Info

The Family Session Workflow

I am very excited to be in this awesome space. How cool is it in here, right? I am a natural life photographer, like I was saying. Many of you were asking if I have any lighting or if I use a reflector and I don't, so this is the perfect location for me if I'm going to be shooting indoors. You'll notice that I lost some height because I put on comfortable shoes because I'm actually gonna be photographing a family (laughs) and I need to be able to move around and get down at the kids' levels and just be comfortable. So when I go to a session I'm always dressed very comfortably in very comfortable shoes. So that's why I've changed. All right, so we have a couple of keynotes, a couple of slides to talk about before we bring in the family. And so that's where we are right now, we're gonna talk about my family session workflow. So a very predictable, tried-and-true, used over and over routine that I think works, it works for me. Like I said, you might have to change it a little bit for your...

self, but this is definitely a good starting point. So, this is what I call it, I call it the family session workflow. I will say that nothing is set in stone, so we're gonna, basically what it is is a shot list for me. So it's like a mental checklist. I know that I want to get these groupings, these shots with every family, and I have that in my mind. I do like to work in a certain order, but of course we're working with kids when we're working with families and so that order isn't always gonna happen. So, why would you have a family session workflow? So, a lot of people, back to that misconception of lifestyle photography, they think, "Well, you want the work to be organic, you want this to be natural, you want it to unfold. Why would you have a workflow? Why wouldn't you just go with the flow?" Well, the workflow keeps me organized. So, like I said, it's my mental checklist. There's a lot going on with family photography. You've got lots of people that you're capturing, and so it helps me to stay organized. It ensures that I have a well-rounded gallery. I want my families to have a gallery full of images that are a true representation of my brand. And that's, you know, what they expect from me. So if I have this workflow, I know that I'm gonna get these shots that I need that are gonna satisfy myself, as an artist, but also my clients. It ensures also that I can get every shot that I feel like I need in about the first 20 minutes of a session. Now, I'm gonna slow down here today. And I am a speedy person obviously. So that's gonna be hard (laughs) but I'm gonna do it. And talk through the different poses as much as we can. We do have a live family, so this is gonna be real kids, they may not be able to handle a whole lot of that. But we're gonna slow down. But generally speaking I do work pretty fast, and that is because the kids need you to work fast. So this family session workflow allows me to kind of go through that checklist, make sure I got everything done that I needed, and then I can really just have the creative freedom to have a good time and do whatever I want. So what happens when you don't have a plan? Let me tell you what used to happen when I didn't have a plan. (laughs) And I sort of talked about this earlier in one of the previous segments. But I used to show up and so when I first was learning about photography and I knew that I wanted to be a family photographer, I learned all about light. I got good with my camera, shooting in manual, got good with camera settings, knew that I needed to show up at golden hour. This is when I used to really care about what they wore and I had them dressed perfect. And they would show up and we'd be at this great location, and we would start walking to our spot and they would be like, "Okay, now what?" And I'd be like, "I don't really know. What are we gonna do?" (audience laughing) I mean, I didn't say that to them, but I'd be like, "Well, why don't we just start over here, and then maybe we should go this way." And "Oh, maybe we should sit down. Maybe we should stand up. Oh, that didn't work, let's do this." It was a mess. And what was happening was I would leave feeling completely deflated. I'd be like, "What am I doing? This is absolute chaos, this is not fun. I am a professional child chaser right now. Not what I want to be doing." (audience laughs) Not what I want to be doing when I'm not chasing my own children, right? So it was very much discouraging. When I realized and when I learned that what the problem was is that I didn't have a plan, that I didn't have the skills necessary to pose, guide, and direct, and that was what was lacking. So I had all that technical stuff, like we've been talking about, you know, that we tend to focus on. That was all falling into place. I didn't have these people skills. I didn't have this ability to get the family to interact, and I didn't have a plan. So once I started doing this very predictable routine, things got a lot easier for me. And now, I mean my sessions just sort of unfold naturally and easily, very predictable, almost always the same. So, what I would like to say is that I don't usually shoot indoors like this. So, just full disclosure, this is a totally different environment. But what I hope you will see is that it doesn't really matter. That's the backdrop that I prefer. This is a beautiful backdrop too. What we're focusing on is that posing and that guiding and that direction and this workflow, and the connection that we're gonna create between the subjects, okay? But just keep in mind that usually I'm using environmental elements like mountains and trees and I just like to do that. So, just thought I would point that out. Okay, are you ready to welcome our models? Yeah? (audience applauds) Come on in. Aren't they amazing? (audience laughs) Look at these people. Okay, you can stop, thank you. You guys want to introduce yourselves, please? I know you're nervous, but... Hi, I'm Marcy Owen. I'm Allie! (audience laughs) (Audience) Hi, Allie! My name's Anna, nice to meet you guys. I'm Trevor. All right. So, what I would normally do is exactly what I just did, but I have already hugged them. I would say hello, I would hug them, I would say "high five" to Trevor. I'm like, "All right, this is gonna be super easy." Me and the girls already talked, right? We're gonna just listen a little bit. And then we can move and play, and then we're gonna listen a little bit more, okay? Okay, okay. And the mama looks amazing, I would tell her that anyway. But I mean look how gorgeous she looks, so she's just perfect. (Allie giggles) So (laughs) I'm tethered, I'll try not to trip and hurt myself here. All right, so I do like to start, and I'm going to move into this like this. I start with my camera in the bag, so like what I just was talking about, and of course I met them outside, you know, we're kinda trying to speed this along, but I want to make sure that each person knows that I care about them, that each person knows that I'm genuinely here to connect with them, and so that they trust me. I mean, this is, we're gonna be touching these people, I gotta make sure they can trust me. And that's just what that is. Okay, so I like to start every session with standing poses. And the reason I start with standing poses is because I feel like they are a lot less intimate than the sitting poses. It allows the family to kind of break the ice, we're gonna let them know what's happening. They're still cute, but they're not as touchy-feely and it just kind of gives me some time to allow them to get comfortable. Normally I would start with a longer lens. I'm not gonna change lenses while we're in here. I'm gonna stick with the 50. It's an in-between lens, it's perfect for being inside here. Normally I do start with a longer lens though.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Client FAQ Questions
Family Session Educational Experience
Family Session Prep Guide
Pricing Worksheet
Session Prep Example Email

Ratings and Reviews

Katie Rivers

This was a great class! So much great information packed into such a short amount of time. I also LOVE Elena Blair. I would love to meet her after taking this course. She is so confident and fearless in her work and that is so inspiring!

Brooke Emery

Student Work