five questions with: prof. photog. jenna hesse, on the topic of the family holiday card.

Sit back, grab a cup and take some notes. It's holiday photo card season, and if you are considering hiring a photographer for family portraits, read this post before you do anything! I asked my sweet friend and most talented photographer Jenna Hesse of San Francisco-based JennaBeth Photography to answer my top five questions on the subject.

Ready? Let's go.

one: how do I find a good photographer, and what am I looking for?
Finding a good photographer is easy, but finding a photographer whose images speak to you can be a little more challenging. Look for photographers with consistency in their work, and make sure you love most, if not all, you see. If you are 50/50 to like/dislike, keep looking.
Look for images that show joy and emotion and will allow you to look back on this time in your family's life and remember your children just as they were. Sometimes forcing kids to smile and 'say cheese' doesn't always produce those wall-hanging centerpieces. It's nice to just let them be as they are, doing something that they love. An activity during a photo shoot is always fun and can produce great shots!
two: what to wear and should we bring props?
I always recommend my clients wear colors; they photograph best. You don't have to be totally matchy-matchy, but rather create outfits that complement one another. Stay away from patterns that are busy and/or have logos near the face.
Props are great as long as they don't overpower the subject. Bubbles are one of my favorite props for families!
three: what kind of locations are best for family portrait sessions?
I'm an outdoor, on-location family photographer, so I like locations that are lush with trees, flowers and grass. The beach works well, too, if it's not in the middle of the day. In San Francisco, a lot of families request the Golden Gate Bridge for a backdrop, but it can get very busy if it's a weekend shoot. The lighting can also be harsh. Pick a location where there's a good amount of both shade and sunlight.

Don't stress too much about the location, as the focus is your family - not the background!
If your children are younger than six months and cannot sit up, I recommend shooting photos at home, where they'll be most comfortable (and warm!).
four: what time of day do you recommend shooting?
Early morning or late afternoon are ideal times for shooting. At those times, the sun is lower in the sky, and therefore less harsh, which creates a more even lighting on the face.
five: what are your favorite sources for holiday cards?
There are a lot of great card companies out there. I prefer to design my own, and print at Bay Photo. There are so many artists on Etsy that create templates for holiday cards. You can check them out here.

Jenna, thank you so much for putting together such a helpful post - and oh, those photos. You are so good!

Jenna is currently booking family photo sessions, on location in the San Francisco area. She also shoots frequently in Southern California and will travel to you. You can contact her via e-mail or visit her site or blog for more goodness.

Oh, and brides: she's also an amazing wedding photographer. Just look at her most recent love shoot featured on Style Me Pretty.

Today's post is the first in a new series, 'five questions with.' I have lined up some very talented business owners, entrepreneurs, foodies and the like to share their wisdom with paper{whites}. I hope you enjoy the series, and if you have any special requests, please drop me a line!


Becca said...

Beautiful images and great advice! I'd love to get my act together and do Christmas cards this year, and this post was super inspiring. I'm looking forward to other installments of this series!


Jessica said...

This is a great new series and I look forward to hearing more interviews :)

paper{whites} said...

Have anyone in mind?! Let me know!