The Necessity of Connection

At HP Studios, we believe that in life, and especially photography, it's all about connecting.

     With summer coming to a close and Halloween right around the corner, its safe to say that fall is here. It's the time of year for warm sweaters, chilly gusts of wind, and bundling up with your closest loved ones.

The Kirby family

The Kirby family

     So if you're a parent or spouse seeking a photographer, or a photographer yourself looking for tips on how to capture that authentic affectionate look with family or couples, there should be a little something for everyone.

     Having been in the photography business for over ten years, it's always nice to reminisce on humble beginnings, even before I picked up a camera myself. Looking through photos my mom had of us when we were kids (I'm sure lots of you have photos just like this), they tell you to sit near each other, look right into camera, and smile. I distinctly remember this look as very traditional, and taking them was an absolute bore for most kids. Although mom, of course, loves them because she can see our faces all at once. But now that I'm taking photos of younger families and their kids, I love it when we get away from the more harsh posed look and get to have more fun with the shoot. The kids definitely enjoy a more interactive environment which can make for a more natural vibe and provide variety in your photos. Here are a few tips I've gathered to hopefully help out any potential family photographers out there.

Let kids be kids.

It makes for fantastic photos and a great day out!


  1.      If the kids are in a good mood, talk with them and have them help you out! Show them your camera up close and that it's not scary. Even help them take photos of their parents or siblings.
  2.      Let them explore. You can get some amazing shots of kids climbing around and discovering new things. Plan to move a lot yourself, and photographers, have a lens like a 24-70mm handy. A must-have for fast kiddos, and getting your composition just right. 
  3.      Throw out some suggestions of games to play, like: Telephone, EyeSpy, and even a simple staring contest at times can be gold. 


     As for shooting more romantic photos with just couples, the direction of the shoot changes a bit from the previous setup. Since, as a photographer, you'll be photographing two people instead of a family, you might want to bring a tighter lens, such as a 70-200mm, to really capture the small details like handholding, kisses on the cheek, in-the-moment laughs or looks. Also, you do want to stay interactive with your subjects, however, try different talking points. Ask them about when they met, how long they've been together, and from there try and pick up on any other positive conversational topics to keep the focus on them. Remember, the memory of the fun they had matters just as much as the quality of your work.

     All in all, when taking family or couples portraits, the key is to capture their connection and let your pictures tell the story. And as long as you keep a sharp mind, finger on the shutter release, and the right equipment for the job, all there is to do is enjoy the shoot!

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Posing has got to be one of the toughest things to master when you haven't done any modeling your self. It doesn't help if you're shy like I am, or get nervous and forget the poses you had on lock before you got to the shoot. So with this Posing topic on my mind I thought i would give my top 5 things to keep in mind when posing anybody. I welcome your thoughts in the comments as always.

  1. Nose to the Light! This might be my favorite, because you can never go wrong with "nose to the light". I first heard this from Scott Robert Lim on one of his videos and never forgot it. Nose to the light.  Check out his gallery and look to where the nose is going. Thanks Scott!
  2. Connection is also a biggie. Connection between couples, is where im staying for this one because this could get really deep and could go in many directions. I think there are many books on the subject but basically, if you're shooting a couple, and it's for a engagement shoot or worse a wedding, and you see lack of connection between them...Whoa! This has got to be fixed and brought to their attention. They should be close, looking at each other with love and passion. Laughing together, or playing together. Nothing worse then space between couples and there not being something meaningful in their expression or body language.
  3. Give hands something to do. Hands aren't in every shot, but when they are and you're like "okay, now the hands" give them a purpose. Something to hold, or someone to hold. Easy! Of course there's a heck of a lot more to hands and we'll save that for a latter post.
  4. Avoid strait lines and create angles. Angles in the feet, legs, arms, coller bone, and head. This always creates a more pleasing image over strait lines every time.
  5. Pop that hip! For women, this is one of if not the best thing for slimming and creating wanted curves. Weight on the back leg, bend the front and point the toe. BANG, instant slimming and hourglass curve.

These again are some of the things I keep in mind when Im on a shoot. This topic could go on for ever and everyone has their own way of posing people that works for them. As long as you have a basic understanding of these 5 posing tips I believe they will better your photos right away. If you would like me to go into these a little deeper, let me know in the comments.




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