Anna Kraft



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Now that we’ve addressed the Who, Why, and Where, let’s talk about the HOW. We’re going to expand a little on what was discussed in this post.

Drawing from the Who & Why (the purpose of your photos) let’s analyze your home style and color palette. Words only go so far during a consultation, and it’s helpful to either facetime, exchange photos of your home, or have the consultation at your home. 

As we’ve covered before, there are multiple elements at play in a photograph:

1) the clothing and the set style (are we in a home? a gap ad? in the street)
2) the lighting style (side lit? top lit? soft light? “stuffy” light?)
3) the emotion/connection/posing style (is everyone stiff? goofing off? laughing? kissing? embracing?)

Let’s continue with the idea that you (or someone) are planning a family photo session and look at these photos from pinterest: 

So let’s break these down by first analyzing the SETTING. Of the four photos, three are outdoors. Is this what is truly desired? The client would seem to be indicating the need for an on-location session, either at an old mansion or in a wooded area. If so, that needs to be communicated to the photographer. Do you want to be photographed outside or in the studio? What do you want in the background if outside? Mountains? Trees? A blur? Or in studio, do you want muted colors, a clean white background, black? 

Now let’s talk about the CLOTHING. The formal clothing mixed with the outdoor photographs conveys a mixture of romantic yet bohemian vibes. Is that what you’re going for? The black and white photo of Cindy Crawford is also formally styled, yet the bare feet, unbuttoned shirt, and informal posing lend a relaxed air to the photo as well. What type of clothing do you want to wear? Do you prefer cleaner, less fussy clothing or do you like the informal styling of the black-tie outfits? 

LIGHTING-wise, each photo is very different – the horse photo seems to be taking place at sunset (very romantic lighting) the photos of mom+boys and the family on the steps have a mixture of natural and artificial light, and the black and white photo could be either studio or natural light, but the black background definitely gives it a studio (more formal) touch. What type of lighting are you drawn to? You may not like these at all, you may prefer something that looks like it came off the pages of LOFT, GAP, or Zara! And that’s fine!

Now for the CONNECTION and POSING. All of these portraits incorporate touch between the family members, however some are more “posed” than others and have a more formal feel. The horse photo and the family photo on the steps give the impression that you are an on-looker, coming into a private moment. The mother+sons and the black and white photo are posing for the viewer, they are bold and welcoming the viewer to partake in the moment with them. What is your family like? Do they like to touch? Are they snuggly? Or are brothers and sisters a little more reserved with each other? 

Hopefully this gives an idea of different ways you can be photographed and the effect that different styling can have – the great thing is that every portrait, like every family is a unique piece of art and everyone’s portraits come out a little different than the next! The NUMBER ONE key to a successful portrait is to communicate with your photographer!

I’ll leave you with a few of my portraits to show the very different styles that can be accomplished either on location or in studio, and the difference that styling makes even when you’re photographed on the SAME background with the SAME lighting! Styling and connection all make a difference!!

White Background, similar lighting, variety of styling

On Location, variety of lighting and styling

Black Background, variety of lighting and styling

Studio Background, similar lighting, variety of styling



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The W family had their reveal last night and so now I can finally show these off - and one of these is a gorgeous 36×36” portrait above their fireplace!

modern family portrait

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