The Raza’s Family Session in Wandlebury Country Park
In spring of last year, the Raza family (made up of Dad (Jaw), Mum (Farha) and baby Sophia) approached me while looking for a family photographer in Cambridge. This kind of session is always great fun as it enables me to focus exclusively on the people I’m shooting, unlike weddings where there are always guests milling around. The feel of these shoots is far more intimate.
With a family portrait session, the goal is not so much catching a spontaneous moment of family bonding – although that definitely can and did happen too. The main goal is to get high quality posed shots of the family together that might be suitable to be made into large prints for hanging on walls, premium albums or other wall display products.
Wandlebury Country Park
I chose this location because it is a great, open space in which to take advantage of the bright springtime lighting. With plentiful grassy spaces to play around in as well as fences, brick walls and bushes as backgrounds. The park is open from dawn till dusk, seven days a week and contains wildlife and cattle as well as an Iron Age hill fort. For the purposes of this shoot, we didn’t want anything to distract from the subject of the pictures but for other types of shoot those could be useful. Anyone looking to practice family photography in Cambridge should consider it as a location.
Crawling, Walking, Flying
One of the best things about this location was the space and the fact that it is totally uncrowded. This gave us the opportunity of capturing a few pictures of Sophia on her own, crawling towards the camera. For a family photographer in Cambridge, areas where this is safe to do can seem few and far between as many of our parks are very well used – Parker’s Piece being perhaps the best example. Because Wandlebury is a short drive south of the city, it is both highly convenient and a little quieter making it perfect for photographing babies and young children.
Different Combinations, Different Printing Options
In this set, I’ve photographed the family in just about every combination: mother with baby, dad with baby, baby on her own, dad on his own. The goal is to try to make sure that I capture the personality of every member of the family, separately as well as the way they are around each other. Family photos are for all the members of the family to look back on and reflect on the people they love and so a fair share of attention needs to be given to every member.
Within a few weeks after the shoot, at most, I am able to turn out premium display albums and various wall display products. This family was happy enough with the photographs that they chose to purchase large wall prints which I am sure will be lovely as the centre-piece of a family sitting or dining room.
What is Good Photography?
Hi all, welcome to my blog. My name is Ash and I am the founder and photographer of Lightscape Photography, based in Cambridge, England.
For this first post, I would like to talk a little bit about what makes a good photographer and then tell you a little bit about me and why I am writing this blog…
What makes a good photographer?
Obviously the answer to this can be very subjective, depending on preference for certain styles and the industry, event or situation for which the shots are taken. Traditionalists have pedalled the notion that the kind of shots that we see in Time Magazine or winning the Pulitzer Prize are not going to be either popular or suitable for formal events like weddings.
This is true in many senses, yet my contention is that great photography perfectly captures a moment in time and is not choreographed. I prefer this approach – the documentary style – even in the context of a wedding. Capturing all of the joy and happiness of that special day, so that couples and their families can relive those wonderful moments for years to come, provides me with a great deal of satisfaction, in the same way that the photographs I took during my 18-month trip to South America did.
It’s all about capturing a moment or a series of moments in time and this is why I find something truly magical about photographs and especially good photography.
Documentary wedding photography is good photography
A documentary wedding photographer will capture everything from the build-up to the ceremony, through to the speeches, first dance and the party at the end, discreetly taking photographs in the background to capture of all of the genuine emotion, laughter and happiness of the day.
There will generally be very little in the way of the choreographed posing that characterises the traditional approach.
Documentary photography is all about capturing the ‘wow’ factor, so that each picture tells a story for years to come, capturing the essence of each wonderful moment of your day.
Traditional photography does still have its place
Many people will prefer the traditional style of wedding photography, but I feel – and I know I’m not alone here – that this style is a little old-fashioned and stiff and does not really adhere to the idea of great photography being a true reflection of a moment in time, due to the awkward choreographed smiles and poses – SAY CHEESE!
An advantage of traditional photography is that the client knows exactly what you are getting, because the nature of the shots will be discussed with them beforehand. I’m not averse to using elements of traditional photography. What I have often done in my capacity as wedding photographer is to take a series of pre-arranged traditional shots, before and after which I like to act like to act a little like a (very well dressed) fly-on-the-wall, taking professional shots, but with an overriding sense of realism to capture every smile, laugh and even a tear quietly shed by the groom as he watches his wife walking down the aisle.
My reason for blogging
My reason for starting this blog is to share my thoughts on the art of photography, as well as different trends and developments within the industry. I want to share thoughts with other photographers, as well as musing on what clients really want from a photographer. Likewise, I would love to hear from anyone who is looking for a photographer or has used a photographer in the past and wants to share what it was that they liked or disliked about their experience(s).
What do you think?
So what do you think makes a good photographer? If you are getting married, has this post made you think more about the style you want? Please leave comments below as I am very interested to hear what everyone has to say on this subject.