The thought of having my photo taken fills me with dread. It is not that I mind being photographed, as much as seeing myself in them just reminds me just how much ‘baby weight’ I still have to lose (my youngest is 19 months old!). So, when my Father-in-law requested a family photo shoot for his birthday, I was less than enthusiastic at the prospect.
It seemed possible that we might be able to get some passable shots of all 6 adults and 6 children involved whilst relaxing in a park, or woods somewhere. After all, I could hide behind a tree, right? Nope! The birthday boy wanted a full-on studio shoot complete with exposing white background and all of us smiling sweetly at the camera. Ha! Unlikely, I thought.
I had already been talking with Jo from Spirit Photographic about Mums in Bath. The photos on their website were gorgeous and Jo was friendly and helpful, so it seemed logical to work with them and ask them to do the photo shoot for us. Diaries were coordinated, days off work booked and outfits carefully planned.
The day arrived and, armed with a truck load of snacks, I was filled with trepidation. I was, after all, responsible for selecting the studio and organising the rabble to turn up. What if the photos were no good? What if the children didn’t behave? What if the adults didn’t?
The studios are in an old Methodist Church. The setting is beautiful, with dressing rooms behind stained glass windows and a viewing room in what I presume is the old vestry. We arrived to a warm welcome from Jo who introduced us to our photographer Neill. We ushered the kids into their outfits (carefully waiting until the last possible minute to avoid the inevitable food stains!) and got ready to be ‘shot.’
Neill was friendly and buoyant and put us at ease. He did a great job of learning all 12 of our names, and matching the right husband to wife (there was only one awkward moment where my brother in-law and I were asked to hold hands!).
Predictably, the youngest member of the family refused to play ball. When a ladder was produced for posing around he was adamant that he wanted to join his big brother standing on it. As for trying to get him to sit sweetly on Grandad’s lap? Forget it.
Fifty packs of Haribo later, and Neill patiently letting said 19 month old press his flash button after every shot, and we were done. The children behaved as well as could be expected, and there was minimal bad behaviour from the adults as well. We left after an hour and a half having had (tantrums aside) a pleasant experience, but questioning the chances that Neill would have managed to capture any shots worthy of the lounge wall.
A couple of weeks later we returned to nervously view the collection of photos. And what a great selection of photos they were! Neill had somehow captured all of our personalities, including little one’s petulance, in an endearing way.
My Father-in-law selected the Ultimate Collection and we had no problem at all selecting 16 great photos from the shots we were shown. The viewing session lasted less than an hour as we watched a slideshow of all the shots and then were effortlessly guided through a ‘keep it-bin it’ process that narrowed down the selection to a set of photos and chose our favourite for a large wall image for the wall.
Whilst I am still not overly sure about seeing myself in 30x20’’ above my parent-in-laws sofa, I have to say I loved the photos they captured and with the added bonus of being able to have them retouched, blemishes and *ahem* neck wrinkles were greatly minimised!
I would highly recommend Spirit Photographic for a family photo shoot. The photos are a fabulous way to capture your family and by buying the Ultimate Package we are set for life with photo gifts for Grandparents, friends and relatives for the foreseeable future!
Thanks to Spirit Photographic for making an otherwise dread-filled experience really rather enjoyable with a precious end result that we will treasure forever.