Thursday, June 7, 2012

Family pictures on a budget

We recently had our first family photo session.  Since our wedding (4 1/2 years ago!) this is the first time we've ever had someone else take our pictures--besides the occasional "Hey, will you take our picture real quick?" to a stranger.  I've been wanting to get good family pictures for a long time, but we've just never really had the money for it.  This time we decided we were willing to spend some money for good quality pictures, but in the end it didn't cost us a dime!  I LOVE when I can save some money!!
I wanted pictures outside, so hopefully they would seem more natural looking and let's face it, trying to get a 3 year old boy to pose in a studio just didn't seem like a possibility for us (at least not with our toddler).  I have a photographer friend who we were going to pay to do our pictures, but that ended up not working out, since she lives out of town.  We then decided we just needed someone, anyone to just take the pictures and we would edit them.  In talking to one of my friends I found out she use to do photography for weddings and such.  Awesome!  She was nice enough to give of her time and spend 2+ hours doing ours for FREE!!  She said she hadn't taken any pictures in over 4 years, but I was sure impressed with how they all turned out.  So thankful for such great friends--I owe you Ali! :)
So she took all the pictures, then I spent the time editing.  We recently bought adobe photoshop, but I have not yet learned how to use it, so the following pictures were edited on our Mac.  I was amazed at how simple it was and how great they turned out!  If you don't have a Mac, there are so many great photo editing sites online for the low price of FREE! :) I just googled "free online photo editing" and came up with a dozen or so sites.
For Mac users: For all the pictures, I first clicked the "enhance" button, then if they needed further editing, I went into the effects section and went on from there. A lot of the pictures I boosted the color (under effects) just to help them stand out more, but sometimes it did make the pictures too dark so I had to lighten a little.  Here are a few examples of pictures I edited and what I did.  

Changed to black and white, then clicked vignette for the black edge.
 Boosted the colors, then added the edge blur.
 Sometimes just simply changing the picture to black and white can do so much for the emotion in the photo.
 Changed to sepia, added edge blur, then matte.  Love how this one turned out!
 For this one all I did was boost the color.
 Just a quick boost of the color.
 Antique setting.  I liked the antique setting for some of the pictures of my son on the tractors and such, since the tractors are antiques.

All-in-all, here is what I have learned about saving money on family pictures:
  • You do not need to go to a studio, or necessarily even have a professional take the pictures, though it was nice that our friend has lots of experience! 
  • A little bit of quick photo editing goes a long way--I spent less than 30 seconds editing some of these.
  • There are so many new photographers out there who are willing to do free or dirt cheap photo sessions to expand their portfolio-don't be afraid to ask!
  • It is best to have someone with a dslr camera take the pictures.  It seems almost everyone now has one, so I'm sure if you talk to your friends you'll find one.
  • If you are taking them outside, make sure to do it early morning, or evening.  We did ours around 7pm and it was perfect!  The natural lighting helps a lot with the quality of the photos.
Hope this was helpful, thanks for reading!


  1. Love the pics! Good job on the editing!

  2. Your family pictures look great!

  3. They turned out cute! Glad u were able to finally get some ;)