Monday, 6 October 2014

My Extraordinary Family Portrait Experience

We haven't had a professional family portrait taken of our family for years.  I think the last time we were all in front of a camera was when we had a photoshoot done for my nan's birthday when Kizzy was a baby.  The family photo hangs on my parents' wall, a shot of faces wearing varying degrees of smiles/grimaces, staring blankly at a lens.  It's very flat and the only story it tells is of a stressful hour crammed in a tiny, white walled studio with an unimaginative photographer trying to squeeze us all into the shot.  On Freddy's birthday this year we tried a DIY family portrait with my parents and twelve of their grandchildren plus two great grandsons.  It captured a moment of chaos, some tears and an escaping toddler.  A good family portrait has thus far eluded us....until now!

This weekend, we had the opportunity to take part in an extraordinary photoshoot with an extremely talented photographer, George, the man behind Extraordinary Portraits by George Fairbairn.  His vision is to create a unique, bespoke and timeless portrait that captures the personalities of the people in the image.  This service is the latest venture from this multi-award winning, commercial, advertising, portrait and band photographer.  His creativity, skill and unique methods along with his friendly, relaxed manner, go towards creating an exciting, one of a kind piece of photographic artwork born out of an unforgettable experience.

Before the  photo is taken, you fill in a fun questionnaire about your family and from that information, George comes up with some creative ideas.  A pre-shoot consultation follows, where the ideas start to take shape as George finds out more about who you are and what you are about. Although the service includes the possibility of scouting for locations, George can also use your own home as the studio giving a really personal touch to the end result.  It's a truly one of a kind commission that captures the essence and spirit of the subjects.

For the shoot, we brought Ella back from university, as we were aiming to capture a shot that would preserve the image of our family at the point of Ella leaving home.  When George arrived, he discussed his final visions for the photos and we were so impressed and excited by his plans.  He is just such a cool guy, putting everyone at ease and making the experience really enjoyable and fun. Even Freddy, who is normally really difficult to photograph (given his hatred of growing up as a blogger's baby with a camera in his face) was enthusiastic, compliant and eager to please.  I loved George's manner and the way he was able to direct us all in such a relaxed way, putting no pressure on us but getting the best out of everyone.

family photos, family portrait, photography

Extraordinary Portraits is about creating one or two perfect images, rather than twenty mediocre ones. Individuals can be shot individually in their poses, which is great for kids who get to 'perform' on their own, in their own time and not as part of a group.  So there is no worry of getting it wrong or blinking at the wrong moment and spoiling a shot. Freddy loved doing his bit! Each person in the shot gets relaxed, individual attention as their element of the image is captured. Using composite photography and meticulous editing, the elements of the photo are combined post shoot to create one unique, extraordinary and amazing creation, which will be cherished for a lifetime.

We got to do one composite shot, which was based on such an incredible idea involving a guitar, wine, swords, a manicure and a laptop...I can't wait to see it and share it here on my blog!  Each element was tailored to the role each of us plays in our family dynamic.  It will immortalise  a moment in our family life forever. We also did a real time shot based on our love of horror movies and film nights, which was a lot of fun...and a little bit messy as it included flying popcorn!  The kids loved doing that one.  It was just so refreshing to do something so quirky, so unique and so quintessentially us.  Formal portraiture is just nowhere near as inspiring, personal or extraordinary!

Extraordinary Portraits by George Fairbairn is not just about having a photo taken, it's a full blown luxury experience unlike anything we have ever done before.  It is as individual as you are as a family and captures the nuances of what makes you unique.  George is a creative genius, seriously! He is a perfectionist but is so laid back in his execution that you feel 100% relaxed and at ease.  The whole experience has taken us on a journey and will give us something to treasure forever.

Check out George's Facebook pages and website for some extraordinary photos:


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