Personalized family portrait sessions in your own home

Nan and her girls

Many people I know have had their portraits taken at a well-known photo studio that operates out of malls around the city. They often walk away from the sessions involving cutesy and unnatural poses that the photographer sets up, having spent several hundred dollars and having been forced to make a decision to purchase prints almost as soon as the last shutter closes on the shoot.  For some people, this kind of in-and-out studio service may be all they want even if it is a little expensive. However, few people realize that having an in-home portrait session done (either in your own house, or when the weather permits in a nearby park or in your backyard) is not only more convenient for the modern working family, but can also result in extraordinary photos that capture the real beauty of you and your family in a comfortable, familiar setting. No parking fees, no travel time, no big battle with younger children who have an uncanny intuition about being disobliging when you want them to look their best. Just you and your family, having your photos taken at your own pace in your own home.

Baby in playpen

A family portrait session can be done in just an hour or it can last a little while longer if you have the time. A good portrait photographer doesn’t need an elaborate set-up to shoot beautiful images. All that is needed is one light or maybe two, possibly just a flash or none if the weather is obliging.  More important than gear and set-up is the relationship your portrait photographer has with you and your family. A good portrait results from the subject (you!) feeling relaxed and comfortable, knowing the photographer you’ve hired is going to make  you look good and natural. Now looking natural doesn’t mean snapping up documentary style photographs of you at the end of a trying day in the office (unless that’s the look you’re after). It simply means allowing yourself to be comfortable with who you are, letting your love for your family show through in the images – the reason you want a portrait done in the first place.

Have fun with your portrait session! Getting ready for the photographer can be fun (like getting dressed up for a party) and the time you spend with him or her should be as enjoyable as having anyone else a guest in your home. Having your family’s pictures taken should be a collaboration between you and your photographer. You will be the one leafing through your photo book or looking at the framed portrait on the wall for years to come so you should have a say in the way it looks while trusting your portrait photographer’s instincts and judgments to take (and choose) the best shots for your final selection.

Father and son

If you are thinking of having your family portrait done this spring (or even better, if you’ve been blessed with a new baby and want to share your joy with the world!) think twice about what you want to get out of your portrait session. Keep in mind that you can easily hire a photographer to come to your home and photograph you and your family in your own environment, on your schedule, with the least amount of inconvenience to you – and you can probably save about 50% of the cost you’d otherwise spend on a studio session while also having as much time as you like to decide what prints you want done, if any. Today’s digital photographers can provide you with a wealth of choices and there is no need to rush to buy a print to try to pressure you to spend as much as possible while the flash heads are still warm.

Concert contre le cancer 2010

Making a difference and looking good at the same time!

The Concert to fight Cancer 2010 was a great success with a sell out crowd of over 2500 people at Place des Arts on Friday, February 5th, 2010, gathered to attend a benefit concert starring Kent Nagano and the MSO in support of the Institut du cancer de Montreal (ICM). In addition to the strong turnout for the concert, the cocktail party before and after the concert was well attended by Montreal luminaries.  Julian Haber Photography is a proud supporter of the ICM and once again was there to cover the evening from start to finish.

Getting ready for the spring rush? Make your real estate listings photos stand out!

I’ve worked for many successful real estate agents in Montreal and the surrounding area and I believe one of the secrets to their success is providing their clients with professional real estate photography to showcase their properties in the best light possible.  These real estate agents know what it takes to stand out in a competitive industry: superlative client service. By investing in professional real estate photography rather than relying on quick snapshots taken with a pocket camera, they are showing their customers that they take their work seriously and that they are committed to providing an excellent service to help them sell their property. Here are a few tips real estate agents should keep in mind when preparing their listings’ images of property for sale or lease:

  • Use pro gear! Real estate photography requires the use of a professional camera able to capture the way the actual lighting appears in the property in a way that enhances the space and is attractive to potential buyers. Most prospective property buyers are looking for natural light, clean, well decorated living spaces. By using a tripod, long exposures and a professional camera even a less than spectacular room can be made to look attractive, warm and inviting.
  • Clean up and declutter! Whether the owner of the property is still living in the home or condo you are selling on their behalf, or if it is a new development still yet to be moved into, it pays to have the space professionally cleaned up and prepared in advance of the real estate photography session you’ve booked. Take a page from a homestager’s book (or hire one to help you). Put magazines away leaving just a few in neat stacks on clean, polished surfaces; put away the dishes in the kitchen; roll up the dingy bathroom carpets; hang the towels as if you were preparing a room in a 5 star hotel; brighten up a space with a few well placed plants or even better, a vase or two of fresh cut flowers. Make the rooms you are advertising look like a space someone wants to live in – without letting it look too lived in.
  • Hire a professional real estate photographer! Admittedly, this is a shameless plug, but considering the fees paid to a professional photographer are both business expenses and fractions of a percentage point off the value of a commission, is it really worth your time and effort to take the shots yourself? Professional camera gear (even just a basic set up that fits in a small backpack) costs upwards of $10,000.  Leverage the investment and skill of a professional real estate photographer to do what he or she does best, so you can focus on what you do best: making the sale and making your client a happy (repeat) customer.

Good luck with the spring real estate 2010 season. From my vantage point working with real estate agents around the city, the Montreal market has held up well during this past recession and looks to be heating up again. Professional real estate photography will help make your properties shine and get you quickly to your next sale.

Update Feb 27, 2010: A day after the image above was posted to my client’s website the condo sold! Great real estate photography really works!

Haiti TweetUp Follow Up

Raising funds for Haiti

The Haiti TweetUp organized by Flow Consulting on January 19th was a great success. We raised over $10,000 for Medecins Sans Frontieres and hopefully motivated people to do more to help Haiti, a country that was already in need of help before being struck by the worst natural disaster in our hemisphere ever.  You can catch the wrap up here in case you missed it.