This past weekend Rachel Larsen Weaver of Brackish Photography treated my family to a photo shoot. This was the first time my family was photographed in this way and WE LOVED it. The photos are fabulous, Rachel was fabulous, it was an all around great experience. And now I don’t have to worry about a family photo for our holiday card!
I was most nervous about acting casual in front of a camera for a two hour session. But Rachel is warm and bubbly. Mom of four she immediately put Ooey at ease too. I’m pretty sure Ooey would have gone home with her if she hadn’t fallen asleep towards the end of the shoot.
Rachel specializes in home photography. Everyday events like kids returning from school provide great photo ops.
Keep reading for my interview with Rachel where she talks about how she got her start. And some tips for being photographed. As a bonus my readers get $50 off any photo shoot with Rachel! I recommend booking soon, as her weekends are filling up fast!
How long have you been a lifestyle photographer, and what do you like about this type of work?
When I began blogging four years ago, I also started dipping my toes in to lifestyle photography. While my blog photography is almost all candid, documentary style, I started doing lifestyle work for friends and family: senior pictures for my cousin, wedding photographs for a laid-back bride, Christmas cards, that sort of stuff, always with the intention that I would start my business. However, it took me a while to really build up the nerve to put it all out there. It wasn’t until Spring of 2016 that I went for it in earnest.
What kind of events do you photograph for people?
Birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, recently a retirement party. Family reunions. Vacations. I’m excited to do a shoot in a few weeks with a family as they go to a farm to pick out a Christmas tree. Newborn sessions. Maternity. Engagements. Weddings.
What’s your favorite kind of photoshoot?
I am partial to at-home family sessions. Home is such an important part of most of our stories. I like to be able to capture people there. I love when I come in and a little guy grabs my hand to show me his bedroom or takes me on a mission to go find his cat. Chances are your home offers so many backdrops in one location. Also, it’s where most people are most comfortable, and there aren’t other people there to make you potentially feel awkward, like you might experience in a public setting.
I’ve always gone to JC Pennys for family photos, so the idea of an in home shoot is totally new to me. How should a family prepare for an in-home photo shoot?
First: Don’t stress about deep cleaning. I promise there won’t be any pictures of your dirty ceiling fan or the dust on your floor boards. Just pick up. While I am NOT a minimalist, I do think pictures with less clutter let the family and the relationships take center stage. If you can hide away some of the kids toys, clear off countertops, make sure the recycling has been taken out, you will probably like the final results better. This is one of those times when running around with a box, stuffing it with clutter, and shoving that box in a closet is totally acceptable. Also, ovens are perfect for hiding dirty dishes.
Our apartment can be kind of dark, what’s the best way to get good lighting for photos?
It’s best if clients don’t have specific ideas of where they want the pictures taken. While your couch may seem like the obvious choice, it’s better to find great patches of light, regardless of what strange spot it is. It might be in a hallway or in the kitchen. Be open
Also, bedroom photos are some of my favorites, but often times clients haven’t considered that possibility before hand and don’t have the space “ready.”
Usually when I come in, I do a quick walk around the house to find the best light. I open blinds and pull back curtains. Then I get you and your family to go hang out in the light, while I let my lens to it’s job, and it’s job is to let in as much light as possible. Don’t worry about lamps or artificial light sources. They aren’t ideal, and skew the color balance.
Most at-home sessions end up outside before it’s all said and done anyway. So while some of the photos might be a little moody if your place is really dark, we will get pictures outside to offer a variety.
What are the best colors to wear while being photographed?
Mostly I tell people the best thing to wear is whatever they feel most comfortable and beautiful in. But all things being equal, light colored clothing reflects light the best, so if you feel beautiful in light colors, it will make for some great pictures. I know lots of women that feel their best in black though, and by all means, wear it then.The only thing I would steer away from is bright reds and pinks because they can cause some glare on faces.
How does the interaction with the photographer go with an in-home shoot, do we get tips from you, or go about our business and pretend like we’re not being photographed?
In photography circles, “lifestyle” usually means more posing, and documentary style means less posing. I fall somewhere in the middle. If there are younger children involved, I let them take control, and we just try to work around what they need. It’s pretty hard to pose a two year old, and I’m more excited by capturing their truest self.
I will try to give you tips to make things look warm and loving. “You all should hold hands.” “Get closer.” But I my main goal is for everyone to feel as comfortable as possible, and I think too much instruction can start to make people stiff.
What, if any, editing or enhancing goes into preparing the photos after the shoot?
My aesthetic leans very natural. I don’t like extensive post-processing. I will adjust color balance or tweek shadows and highlights some, but I Photoshop with a light hand. I will usually choose some photos to change to black and white, based on the artistic merit of the photograph.
What should a family expect after a shoot? When will they get the photos and how?
My contract states that I have two weeks to get the pictures to clients, but I am a pretty fast when it comes to editing and delivering, usually three or four days. I email clients with a link to an online gallery that they can use to download from. I also send flash drives at the client’s request.
So photos can be downloaded directly from the link you share, how do you recommend printing them?
Am I missing anything you would like your clientele to know?
Nope. I think you covered it. I guess i would just add that if they want to get a sense of my work / style, my website is brackishphotography.com. My personal blog is ourbuzzards.blogspot.com and my instagram is @brackishphotography.