Advertising Style Family Portrait

Advertising Inspired Family Portrait


I don’t generally “do” family portraits.  Well, that’s not completely true.  I do the occasional commission for family portraits, but I only take on those commissions if it’s something that is in line with the style and feel of what I do with my photography.  I don’t want that to sound as though I am a diva with my photography.  But, being an advertising and editorial photographer, my focus has always been on those markets and not on the family portrait market.  Most families, when they want their family portrait taken, want something a little more “normal” than what I offer.


For a long time, I was never even approached for family portraits as most people looked at my site and work and assumed I wouldn’t be interested anyways.  That was until I started doing the…well….different family portraits of my own family.   Since I did that first portrait of my own family, I have had a few commissions from families that wanted something a little different with their family portraits.


In this instance, I had a family from the Netherlands contact me about creating something for their family.  They were going to come over from The Netherlands for the shoot and wanted something that would capture the different relationships of all the couples and their children.  I met with the family a week or two before the shoot to talk through the different ideas and we settled, quite quickly, on one specific idea that we were going to run with.  The thing with my family portraits, and why I don’t get many commissions for them, is that my work is about creating one or two awesome images… I don’t shoot hundred of photos, and when it comes to these types of shoots, I like to create something inspired by ad campaigns and create one “hero” image for the family…. an advertisement for the family so to speak.


With this shoot, the overwhelming common thread with the family was that they were all vegetarians and healthy eating was the common bound that brought the whole family together.  We decided that we wanted to highlight the importance of healthy eating and having a big family meal and then playing on the different personalities within that meal… something you would typically see at a large family meal.  In the photo we have the grandparents, their two children with their partners and their children.  I spent a lot of time with each couple deciding on what would best represent them and their relationships and this is the photo we created.


The Image:


This image perfectly captures the dynamics of this family.  You have the loving grandparents playing with their grandchildren.  The older daughter trying to keep order with her younger brother and his partner.  Her partner playing with their daughter in a way that dads do.  Everything about the photo captures everything about the family, and they loved it.


It was a pretty easy photo to create…the longest part of images like this is the planning.  Coming up with ideas and then figuring out the way to capture it.  With this, I shot everything in chunks from right to left.  The oldest daughter was photographed on her own and then everything was shot in pairs working from right to left.  This allowed me to capture the perfect “moment” from each section of the photograph to create a perfect finished image.  I lit the scene to simulate a large window on the right side of the image.  I wanted the image to have a natural feel to it, and simulated there being a very large window lighting the scene.  I put all the elements together in photoshop and the above image was the result!