Are Studio Portraits Making A Come Back?
If you were to go back 15 years the only type of portraits you would have heard about are studio portraits, it was an industry standard. It was rare that you would have professional family portraits taken outdoors at locations such as parks, beaches, and gardens. If you wanted a portrait taken you found a good photography studio in your area, you went in and your portrait was taken, processed and printed.
Then we saw a break away from tradition and new niche open up to outdoor family photo shoots. Clients had a desire for less “staged” formal photography and wanted more natural shots of families in the great outdoors or in their own home. This tradition has stuck and there was a perception that having your treasured family portraits taken in a studio environment was not “natural” enough to bring out the true nature of your family’s personalities. The era of “on-location” photography was born; or should I say a new perception of staged vs natural portraits emerged. Like all trends however, things go up and down in waves of success and popularity and in recent years there has been a push back to the traditional studio-based family portrait sessions. Clients are requesting a more classic, authentic and boutique style of portrait.
It is true that location photography shoots can certainly introduce different aspects when compared with a studio photo shoot and there will always be a place for that style of photography. It creates a connection between the family and the place chosen for the shoot. There is also a huge amount of variety when it comes to backdrops; be it different coloured leaves, waves, beach, parks or blue skies and these can all create amazing photographs.
From a photographer’s point of view there is also the reduction in overhead costs of studio rent and fit out of specialised lighting and backdrops therefore lowering the cost of running the business. The reduction in overheads is of huge significance when it comes to looking at the growth of this market. Cost plays a major part in drawing in clients and their final decision on who will take their portraits, their works of art. We suggest there are other, perhaps more important, factors to consider.
Over the past year or so the tides look to be shifting and professionals in the industry have now realised there is an emerging push back on the outdoor location photo shoot trend. Photographers and clients are both being drawn back into the “classic” family studio portrait and even incorporating more traditional elements such as black and white photography over colour. Could it be said then that studio photography is making a comeback?
As a professional photographer with over 30 years of experience I have always operated out of a studio and now specialise in black and white portraiture. I focus on traditional, timeless photography; pieces that my clients invest in as a piece of art on their wall not just a portrait to be replaced in a few years. I use only RAW files and have built from scratch a state-of-the-art boutique photography studio with customised lighting and backdrops that ensure I can capture the best black and white portraits possible. I always provide guidance of posing and different combinations of family members doing different things so we can create an emotional connection whilst highlighting the core personality of each family member. Working in a studio allows me to have greater control and consistency over the photo shoot in terms of lighting and positioning. In a confined space which despite the perception of being “unnatural”, it actually allows for clients to feel more relaxed rather than chasing kids around a park or trying to run towards a camera on demand etc in reality it is just like the family hanging out together in their living room. The conditions are always perfect inside a studio no matter what the weather is doing outside or if it is morning or afternoon. The final product being a clean customised portrait that will age well and stand the test of time.
One of the key things I have learnt as a photographer is your portraits are your art and art is all about control. A studio customised with all the essential fit outs provides me the best level of professional control over the end product. This way I am able to ensure all my clients get the exact same level of quality when they collect their portraits from our studio.
Indoor VS Outdoor Photography
- The weather is not a factor. No need to worry about the sun glare, rain, ifs its hot or cold or if there is a spontaneous gust of wind.
- Photography studios allow you to play with effects and studio lights. You don’t have to worry about looking for additional ambient light sources.
- Studios are comfortable and convenient. There is no hiking or driving to remote locations. It is a controlled environment with air conditioning, clean toilets, dressing rooms, and other amenities such as kitchens and change rooms that can help make your shoot relaxing.
- Studio photography offers privacy. You can choose whoever you want to be with you during the shoot. Nobody else is watching on as you have your portraits taken.
- For a formal, professional portrait it is hard to go past the studio setting. The studio provides a timeless classic look.
- An indoor setting can provide fewer distractions for children in family portraits. Often parks and beaches can provide too many stimuli for young kids and it is hard to get their attention and therefore can take more time to get the perfect shot.
- Consistency, when you choose a studio photographer there is consistency in their environment and their end product.
- Outdoor photography means unlimited background options. You can choose the calmness of the beach or the local park that the kids run around in or even choose to climb a mountain.
- Outdoor photography has a lot of sunlight. You’ll enjoy all the natural light that nature has to offer IF taken at the right time of the day (usually first light in the morning and sunset in the evening).
- Outdoor photography helps you create an atmosphere or theme for your portraits. It may be a location that resonates with your family and therefore adds a sense of nostalgia to your portrait.
- Outdoor photography means enjoying the beauty of nature. You can capture the leaves in the change of seasons, or the sunrise and sunset, the dark clouds of winter or the sandy beaches in summer.
- Picking an outdoor location can make for a great family excursion to somewhere new to create new memories.
When considering investing in a family portrait session you will undoubtedly cover off all the pros and cons of a studio based shoot vs an outdoor location shoot and consider what is best for your family, your home and your long term plans for where you will place your artwork. If you would like to see more of what Nicholas Fiennes at Fine Photography offers view his portraits on www.fine-photography.com.au