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The gift that keeps on giving

November 13, 2010

A few weeks ago I gave you some gift ideas that require a little preparation but mean a lot to the person who receives the gift.

One of those things was to have a family portrait taken. Family portraits have a reputation for being a pain, but they really don't have to hurt that bad.

The first excuse I usually hear is "I don't like to get dressed up." The answer is you don't have to get dressed up. Back in the old days, everyone got dressed up for the family portrait and the reputation still stands today. My recommendation is to wear something that you would usually wear when your family is around. No, not your boxers and bunny slippers, although that might make an interesting portrait. Instead, wear jeans and a shirt if that is what you normally wear.

You should only wear a suit and tie or dress if that is something you wear every day. I have two reasons for this. One is if you are uncomfortable, most likely you will look uncomfortable. The next reason is that it makes it much easier for me to pose you naturally if you are in clothing you naturally wear.

The next excuse is, "I don't have time." Surely your family is worth an hour out of your busy schedule. I can't speak for anyone else, but at Foto 1 you make an appointment, show up with no waiting and less than an hour later you are on your way to dinner. The good news is you don't even have to come into the studio. I often shoot family portraits on location. What better place to have your family portrait taken than in your family home? It really adds some personality to your portrait if you have enough space in your home to do it.

If your home won't work, then pick out a nice place that means something special to the family. Use your imagination. A family portrait is the gift that keeps on giving. Every year your family portrait is worth more and more and they are often handed down to future generations.

I've often heard the expression that a great family portrait is not expensive, it is priceless and I totally agree.

(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a Master Photographer, Certified Professional Photographer and president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)



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