Before I had a Studio space, I photographed on location. Outdoor sessions. In-home photoshoots. I traveled to clients and did location scouting to make sure we picked the perfect spot for their family. But more often than not, things weren't as idilic as you might think. Weather had to be checked obsessively. Last minute rescheduling was always a concern. And many little inconveniences (and some big ones, too!) added up to potential disaster on a daily basis.
And I get this question a lot: "Do you ever do outdoor sessions?" The short answer is NO. Not only are there hundreds of incredibly talented wonderful photographers who do, but the Studio experience is simply just so much better! Why? Read on..
1. The Weather
The #1 worst thing about outdoor photography is that everyone is at the mercy of the weather. Not only will you have to reschedule if it's raining, but the photographer will then have to juggle overstuffed scheduled as a result of all the last-minute changes. Let's face it, there are only so many weekends in November to get all those holiday portrait sessions in.
In contrast, doing a photoshoot in a Studio, means it really doesn't matter one bit what the weather is doing. Now, you'll still have to reschedule for big storms, when it's not safe to travel, but otherwise, you are freed from the concerns of weather. The other benefit? Temperature control. No need for layers in the fall or sweating in the summer - the Studio is always a lovely 72 degrees for everyone's comfort. And, there's no crazy wind to wreck havoc on your hair!
2. Flexible Timing
Did you know that when you photograph outside, there is a small window of opportunity for beautiful soft light? This is usually one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset. And if you've ever been around a toddler around 6pm, you'll know that evening is usually the absolute worst time for them. And you probably don't want to wake them up early for that sunrise window, either. So you end up doing your session around 10am in a park, with harsh sunlight.. and hopefully your photographer knows what to do in that situation!
Now, if you want to decide on the best time of day for your session and still receive a consistently beautiful result, the Studio is the perfect solution. With Studio lights, there is full control and a consistent look, no matter what the sun is doing outside!
And not only bugs, but wasps, too (speaking from experience of course). There have been so many times when bugs showed up and completely destroyed the mood of an outdoor photoshoot. Little biting bugs at the beach. Mosquitoes. Ticks! Things are getting worse and worse out there every year, especially if you're doing your session towards the evening. I love the fact that we can keep the kids nice and safe in the Studio, without worrying about tick checks and biting critters.
4. Time of Year
If you're like most parents looking for a holiday card portrait of your family, you're probably picturing the beautiful orange and reds of fall trees as the perfect setting. But no matter how we all try, it's nearly impossible to predict when that ideal time will be. Leaves turn colors at different times each year. Sometimes, they stay beautiful for only a week or two before a big storm blows through and everything ends up on the ground. And that's why it's almost impossible to schedule a photo session to guarantee a certain look.
And Studio portraits? You can do them any time of year and they will look as current and relevant as a perfectly timed outdoor picture. In fact, nobody will know whether your portraits were taken in June or in November - so why not get them done early and relax a bit during the holiday season this year?
Nothing beats the convenience of a dedicated indoor space. Easy parking. Clothing changes. Refreshments at any time you like. A nice seating area. No walking required. Bathrooms! And the ability to put your things down and essentially take over the entire space as you need to. We already have a ton going on with our kids. Our lives are full of juggling commitments and trying not to forget all the little details that pile up on a daily basis. Why not have an hour where you don't have to worry about a thousand things? In the Studio, everything is provided. All the essentials are taken care of. All you need to do is show up.
I will never forget arriving at Waveny Park in New Canaan one weekend evening and seeing at least 5 other photographers taking photos of clients in the park. And this is often typical with popular outdoor locations during the prime time. You literally have to battle it out for the best spots. You need to wait.. and hopefully the photographers are considerate of the fact that they are sharing the space with everyone else. And for clients, it's kind of like being part of a factory. You could be trying to look natural in front of the camera while someone else is literally waiting for you to be done. There's no privacy or a quiet corner. And in the end, it's not a great experience for anyone.
The Studio, however, is literally the complete opposite scenario. It's ALL about you. The time you spend there for your portrait session is dedicated to your family only. And while I'm sure not all photography Studios are like this (in fact, I've seen the ones at the mall which are truly horrific), I make a point to give my clients as much time as they need, and all the personal one-on-one attention without interruption that good portraits demand.
Kids love to run around. They love it even more when there's unlimited space to do so. While that's awesome for a family outing, it's not the best for family portraits. Trying to keep families together in a park is often challenging with younger children. The Studio, being one contained space, makes this a lot easier. This might not be a big deal for you if you have older kids, but those with a curious 2-year old can probably appreciate this specific benefit.
8. The focus is on what's important
In the end, what's really important here? Is it the setting and the scenery, or is it your family? When someone admires your family portraits, do you want them complimenting how gorgeous the trees look or how beautiful the actual portrait is? I feel strongly about this because this is obviously my own personal opinion.. but I know there are people out there who feel the same way. We see essentially the same type of image of all the holiday cards we receive. It's not a terrible idea to be a little different, you know?
The Studio portrait experience is all about convenience. The families I work with are busy. They have no time to waste and no patience for things that go wrong and can't be controlled. When we set the date for the session, we don't have to worry about last-minute changes because of the weather. We can select the time that works best for the family, in-between soccer games or after morning swim practice. And parents can relax, knowing they'll have a dedicated space to use as they need to.