Photography Studio vs. On-Location: A Biased Opinion


Photography Studio vs. On-Location: A Biased Opinion

I met 10 year old Jack while he paused his Guitar Hero long enough to shake my hand. He then quickly resumed his game, eager to show off his widely practiced skills to a new audience. I was at Jack’s house on a recent trip to Scottsdale for a portrait session. We were on his turf, in his domain, and his dog ran by with the occasional bark to remind us that she was important too.
There’s something about going into a child’s environment that makes an instant friendship a little bit easier. When they’re surrounded by familiarity, having someone new with a camera in their face isn’t quite as intimidating as a photography studio with lots of expensive equipment they aren’t allowed to touch. I might have a biased opinion since I am a strictly on-location, natural light photographer, but let me give you a few reasons as to why your home (or favorite locale) is the perfect backdrop for a portrait session with your child.

Freedom to wander.
Children like to be entertained. Toddlers, particularly, don’t like to be in one place for long. I don’t know how many times I’ve spent an hour running backwards with my camera low trying to catch a little one on the move. During my session with Jack, we spent most of our hour together exploring his backyard. He showed me his mother’s rose garden, and which buds he was saving for the girl he has his eye on at school. We lay in the grass, threw the ball, chased after the dog, and (when all that grew old) Jack offered to show me his “washboard abs”. That’s when I got the good smile out of him. The continual change of scenery allowed for a wide variety of visually stimulating backdrops that I couldn’t have gotten inside a studio.

Your style is unique.
Once a portrait session is booked, most moms immediately think to themselves “what are we going to wear?” Putting the effort into styling your children in a way that they won’t resist while still adding a touch of your personality always results in a series of photographs unique to your own family. Pairing that with the backdrop of your own home is a guarantee for something that hasn’t been seen. Because no one’s house looks quite like yours. But what if your house isn’t quite the house of your dreams? Simply choose to have your session in a favorite meadow, that building you love downtown, or even in a local ice cream shop. The options are endless!

Yummy evening light.
There are plenty of lighting options when it comes to in-studio lighting, and a photographer with a good understanding of light can create some pretty stunning effects.  However, nothing really compares with a good dose of yummy evening light.  The kind of light that just wraps itself around your child and kisses the freckles on their nose.  The kind of light you think of when you remember going to bed as a child when it wasn’t yet dark outside.  The kind of light that makes your soul smile.  After all, many things in life are fleeting.  But the warm glow of a summer evening is always waiting to greet you.  Even if it’s hidden behind some clouds.


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