It’s the season for painted eggs and bright spring colors. Capture cozy images of family Easter traditions with tips from eleven pro stock photographers.
Springtime is the perfect time for shooting stock, offering up hours of sunshine and time spent with family. The Easter season brings with it countless chances for successful photos, whether you’re inside decorating eggs or in the backyard playing games. The key ingredient to any memorable holiday picture is authenticity; a truly genuine moment can instantly transport us back to our own childhood memories of chocolate bunnies, rainbow-colored jelly beans, and, of course, baskets filled with toys.
Image-buyers browse Shutterstock and Offset months in advance to find the best photographs for Easter, and great lifestyle photos are in-demand during each and every season. We asked eleven talented photographers from all different backgrounds, ranging from documentary to advertising, to tell us how they create Easter-themed family photos that sell on stock. Some of them work with their own kids, while others collaborate with professional models, but whatever their approach, these artists have figured out the secret to success. Read on to learn their behind-the-scenes tricks.
1. “I find it’s better to aim for variety than consistency in a stock session.”
Image by Jennifer Bogle. Gear: Canon 5dMIII camera, 24mm 1.4LII lens. Settings: Exposure 1/200 sec; f3.2; ISO 800.
My family stock images are a mix of casual images of my own family and stock sessions with families I know. The more at ease everyone is, the more likely we are to get some great interactive photos. For a stock session, I usually plan a few fun activities, and I tell the parents up front that my goal is variety, not perfect smiles.
Keeping the activities lighthearted and fun with minimal directing generates the kinds of easy family interactions that seem to work well for stock. I try to plan wardrobes with families ahead of time to make sure the clothing and activities are free from logos to reduce editing time.
If one of the session activities is a holiday-themed activity, like decorating Easter eggs or Valentine’s Day cookies, I’ll add an activity that is a little less holiday specific. That way, a whole session’s worth of images isn’t limited to a single holiday. Images that look seasonal versus holiday-specific can work year-round, depending on where in the world the image sells.
Image by Jennifer Bogle
I find it’s better to aim for variety than consistency in a stock session. I shoot extra angles, verticals and horizontals, and I try to include some images that are a little wider than I would if just shooting a portrait session, leaving room for ad copy.
I also watch for in-between moments: washing hands after the planned Easter egg decorating, kids running in circles outside after the session, a toddler going wild and unrolling the paper towels all over the floor. These provide extra image variety with very little extra effort. The little things that happen between planned activities are often my best sellers. I also try to grab a few detail shots whenever something catches my eye, even if it seems mundane or irrelevant to the activity at hand.
2. “I think that the most important thing in family photo sessions is to make sure that everyone is interested in what are they doing.”
Image by Romrodphoto. Gear: Canon 5D Mark III camera, Canon 85mm 1.2 lens. Settings: Exposure 1/500 sec; f2.5; ISO 100.
I think that the most important thing in family photo sessions is to make sure that everyone is interested in what are they doing. The best way to do this is to make it a game. That way, the children feel like themselves, and all the pressure goes away. When the children are having fun, the parents will naturally feel more comfortable too.
For Easter, you can bring in unusual props like bunny ears to make the children more excited about the process. Additionally, encourage them to paint and create things of their own. That helps keep everything feeling natural, and all I need to do as the photographer is press the button.
Image by Romrodphoto
In terms of selecting models, I started with people I actually knew, like my own family members or good friends and their children. For them, it was a new experience, and for me, it was good practice. When you work with people you know, you naturally have more freedom and feel more like yourself. And just a few years later, I was comfortable enough to invite other people for photo sessions without being afraid of failing.
3. “I find the images that sell best are the ones that I don’t specifically set out to make for stock photography.”
Image by Kelly Marleau. Gear: Fuji X100t, fixed 23mm (this is a crop camera so it’s a 35mm equivalent). Settings: Exposure 1/100 sec; f2.0; ISO 1600.
I find the images that sell best are the ones that I don’t specifically set out to make for stock photography. They are the ones of my real-life moments that I’d be documenting for my own family anyhow. They have genuine emotion and generally depict some sort of special relationship—between a child and parent or siblings—or they have the person focused on an activity.
I have done a few specific stock image focused shoots, and, to keep it feeling natural, I shoot in the model’s home. And, although I have them do certain tasks while I document it, I make sure those tasks are still something they’d do in their everyday life. Giving your model something to occupy their hands can be helpful in getting natural photos—holding a coffee cup, reading a book to a child, kids tickling each other, jumping on the bed, cooking a meal.