FINDING THE RIGHT FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

Do a search for BUCKINGHAMSHIRE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER and see how many results you get. With so many family photographers around Buckinghamsire alone it can be hard to find the right one for you. So where do you start?

Yes, it is important to look at reviews, recommendations and certificates. This however is only a part of your journey.

The main thing is knowing who they are. You are inviting them in to capture a moment of your life, so it is important that you feel comfortable with them.

It is worth while having a few questions that allow you to get to know the person behind the camera more.

  • Why do they do it and what got them started?
  • What”s in that camera bag?
  • Do they have a favourite session and what was the worst?
  • What gets them out of bed in the morning and what sends them to sleep?

If these are the questions you want to ask keep reading and I will try and answer them for you.

THE INTERVIEW

Can you tell us a little bit about you?
Well I’m Chris and I am a full time family photographer based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

I really love my job, if that is what you can call it when you enjoy doing it so much.

When I”m not being a family photographer you will either find my out taking photographs of the landscape or painting. Another place you will you will probably find me is at church either helping at the toddler group, the youth group or doing something else around the place. God is an important part of my life and the one who made my photography possible.

When did you start doing photography?

My photography started back in 2006 as a hobby, landscapes and things. Then I found the Microstock market and began to uploading some images there. I say a few but I now have an online stock gallery of over 35,000 photographs.

There were a few hiccups along the way and I found myself homeless before going to a Christian rehab centre in Watford. After 18 months there I returned to High Wycombe and the church who had supported me. One of the people there, remembered that I liked photography and that my camera had been stolen, gave me a camera that they no longer needed.

Being a full time photographer had always been a dream, and because I didn’t actually have a job at this point, I decided that I would give it a go and set myself up as self-employed.

I started off doing what I knew, working with agencies including Getty, Alamy and Adobe amongst others. It was a job but it didn’t make me want to jump out of bed each morning. My real motivation came later.

That was stock photography. How about family photography?

Family photography started about a year later when I got asked to photograph some of the groups around the church. Two of the groups though were the toddler group and the youth group.

I had always said I didn”t have the patience to work with children so thankfully God has a good sense of humour. I went to those groups and realised what I was missing out on, so much so that I started helping out.

I then got asked to do the toddler group photographs. It was daunting as I hadn’t done that sort of photography before but I reluctantly agreed.

I am so pleased I did. That was it I had found the type of photography that was going to get me not only wanting to get out of bed in the morning but jumping into every day. Things have changed now and I focus only on family photography.

I had found the type of photography that was going to get me not only wanting to get out of bed in the morning but jumping into every day

What’s in your camera bag?

That is one thing that has certainly come on over the last couple of years. I started out with a canon 600D and a couple of lenses and have now upgraded twice.

The camera bodies that I use are two Canon 5D mkII’s it was a difficult decision to change over to a full frame camera body though as it meant that I needed to upgrade most of my lenses as the fit is different. So pleased I did though as the main advantage comes when working in low light and you can increase the ISO without it affecting the quality of the photograph that much.

The workhorse though is the lens, these are the bits that really make the difference. The ones that I use the most for my family portrait work are Sigma 35mm Art, Sigma 50mm lens and the Sigma 85mm.

Besides that I also carry speedlights or studio flash for that extra bit of light when it’s needed. There are other things in there as well and of course batteries… lots of batteries.

What is your favourite lens?

That has got to be my Sigma 50mm. I just love it and it’s my go to lens for all of my indoor work.

Do you shoot with natural light or studio lighting?

Outside it is always natural light, although in summer I need to hide away from the direct sun and find some shade.

For my indoor work I will try to use natural light however most of the time this is not possible. This is when my speedlights come out. I use them on a low power setting along with a large softbox and feather the light so that it mimics natural light.

On average how many images do you take each session?

A lot. Usually I will take between 200-350 photographs, this is then edited down to about 50 images which will be shown to my clients.

How much time do you spend editing?

Editing the images is generally the part that takes the time. To create a gallery of 50 images I would generally spend half a day editing, sometimes even more depending on the results that I am looking for. I’m quite particular about this part of the process and unlike some other photographers I don’t use standard actions to process my images, each one is individually edited in Adobe Lightroom and then fine tuned in Adobe Photoshop.

Seriously, the children can really make a family photography session. I like to just let them be themselves. It really shows their real character

What”s is your most memorable session?

Now that is not an easy question. I could easily say that last one.There was a session where I turned up and the children were already settled and playing. It was so easy to just get the camera out and start photographing them without them noticing. I was able to capture some lovely natural shots before they even knew the camera was out.

When the parents did introduce me that is when the fun started. For some reason they didn”t want to call me Chris. Instead my new name was Steve, which they found hilarious.

For the rest of the session, if I wanted them to smile, all I needed to do was ask them my name and they were in fits of laughter.

The only down side was that by the end of the session the parents were also calling me Steve.

If anyone recommends a photographer called Steve it’s me…honest.

What is the favourite part of your job?

Meeting the families and their children.

I only get to know a family for a short period of time, however it is always a privilege to be invited to capture these intimate moments.And the children. Seriously, the children can really make a family photography session. I like to just let them be themselves. It really shows their real character.

It’s also great when I get invited back to photograph a family. I have one family where I have captured their little one go from crawling, to the first few steps and during are last session running around.

What is your least favourite part of the job?

Paperwork. I have never liked paperwork and I’m always looking for ways to simplify it.