We all see it online. Everyone has a friend aspiring to get into making money in photography. The Facebook posts, the Instagram ads and even marketplace postings where for a hour family session complete with 5-10 images delivered for $50-100. Here's the problem with that model.
The Truth Behind Portrait Sessions
On average, an outdoor family portrait session lasts between 30 minutes to 1 hour. The range depends on the family and especially if there are kids involved. Often times, when they're done, they're absolutely done. A break helps sometimes but really it's not cost/time effective.
Most families aren't looking for the extremely heavily retouched and edited photos for their session. I can understand delivering 5-10 if that was the case but, in all reality, it isn't.
The approach that I use for my sessions is to make it an experience for the client. I treat everyone the way I would a wedding couple as well. Getting to know people and what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable is key. During this time when I'm posing people, or when there are multiple family members involved, I'm still looking for interesting frames and semi prompted candids. Just like wedding or event photography. the key is to always be ready while still blending into the atmosphere and conversation.
I generally capture somewhere between 200-300 shots of which I'm able to delivery anywhere from 40-80 conservatively.
Since my background is in wedding and event photography, I like to have not only the portraits but also the narrative in between. This doesn't come at the cost of the portraits themselves either. It's the opposite in fact, it relaxes clients and if the session is fun, the natural positive emotions are absolutely visible. It's like when you can hear someone smiling through the phone.
Moments like the above happen in between posing and it would be a huge disservice to not be on the lookout.
Make as many shots count and like the saying goes, if you’re always ready, you don’t have to get ready.