When my now 13-year old son was a baby, I was obsessed with getting him into a studio or making an appointment with a professional photographer to formally capture every milestone. And once a year, the rest of us would join in for a professional family portrait. The shoots wouldn’t always be easy. They were a true pain in the ass, really. Getting everyone dressed in outfits that somewhat coordinated without being too ‘matchy matchy’, per the photographer’s suggestions. Stressing that my hair and makeup would all come together. Hoping and praying that my toddler son would be in the right mood (not be losing his sh**) when the camera came out, and would continue to stay in that mood (and continue to not lose his sh**) for the next hour or so while the photographer, masked with a huge lens, squeaked that squeaky toy or danced some kind of puppet around on his hand and called us by the wrong names while we all stiffly posed with looks on our faces that said, “dressed up for constipation.” The pictures were nice, but were they worth the time, effort, and money?
And then once my daughter came into the picture ten years later, my desire for proper, professional family portraits had completely disappeared. With quality iPhone cameras, Instagram filters, tiny point and shoot digital cameras and the like, it’s become quite easy to snap a fairly decent picture of your family and call it a day. And if it’s not perfect, well, you can make it damn near perfect with the help of one of the bajillion apps out there that can change lighting, clarity, and even erase those dark raccoon eyes that “some” mamas “may” have.
“Why get professional portraits taken when we can take great ones on our own?” we’ve been saying for the past 3 years…
Well, I’m pretty sure it was because we hadn’t yet discovered Venture Studios.
When we were invited to try out a session at Venture Photography, we were happy about it, but truly didn’t know what to expect. My husband and I agreed that we hadn’t had any professional photos taken of our family aside from a few family reunion pics with extended family during a Christmas gathering a few years ago. Let’s give it a shot- and if we don’t like the results, we don’t have to go for the photos.
The morning of our photo shoot was hectic, of course. We couldn’t get my 13-year old Evan out of bed, I woke up with pillow creases across my face, my husband was feeling under the weather, and Stella was showing signs of pre-meltdown refusing to eat breakfast, and refusing to wear pants.
We were running late. While doing my makeup in the backseat of the cab, I frantically called Rick Reeder, Venture’s amazing photographer, who was so kind and patient, and forgiving, and he just told us to relax, that it would all be fine. This Rick guy is super cool, was our first impression.
When we got to the studio, we were warmly greeted by Rick and his assistant, Johanna. They offered us all coffee and waters and walked us to the studio. On our way through the reception to the studio, we walked past several stunning portraits hanging on the wall, and we started to get pumped up.
Once in the studio, Rick sat down with us and got a feel for what we were looking to have captured in the shoot. He asked us about our ideas, the type of look and feel, the style we preferred. He presented different types of options from shooting against an all white background to more stylized and dramatic looks. We opted to do both the all-white, more playful background as well a more intense, dark-coloured background shoot.
They had asked us in advance to bring in some personal belongings with us, things that were special to us, things we loved that helped portray our personalities. Since Peter couldn’t bring a television playing only Sky Sports, and I opted against bringing whiskey and pizza, Evan was the only one who brought a meaningful prop- his skateboard.
And then we got started…
We started off with the white background. We were asked for a music request and they obliged with our answer of “anything Beyoncé”. And once that music came on, and Rick started moving around and shooting, the vibe was just right and we all got cray. Venture loves to shoot photos that tell a story. And being there, in that energetic and fun environment, we couldn’t help but tell our story by just being ourselves. We laughed and had a dance party, which is something we do nearly every night at home. Evan was on crutches at the time, having broken his ankle in a skateboarding accident, and he happily waved his crutches in the air to the beat. It was like we were there, having a party, having a good time; and it was all being captured by Rick.
Instead of hiding Evan’s big, awkward cast, Rick showcased it, and we all loved that. It just made a statement that life just happens, and you should try to embrace it. Wherever you are at the moment, well, there you are. And we were happy to have all of it memorialized.
After the “all white” session, Rick brought the lights down and shot the kids individually and then together with more dramatic, focused lighting. Rick’s cool and calm demeanor had both kids feeling completely comfortable and excited to work with him. Both Evan and Stella were into a rhythm and settled into their own natural, unforced poses. The results were absolutely stunning photographs which perfectly captured each of my two kids’ essences.
Rick then put us together for some family photos. And because we were all in a relaxed, comfortable mood- all being ourselves, we didn’t end up with those stiffly posed, contrived looking family portraits. Nope-we loved the results which we felt were natural and warm looking.
Rick was truly amazing. He is the Art Director at Venture Photography, and he’s an insanely accomplished photographer. Rick is not a guy who turned a hobby into a job, he is a legit, formally trained photographer. He has a degree in photography from the University of Derby. He’s also an associate of the prestigious British Institute of Photography. In addition to other awards, Rick has beat out more than 250 other photographers from the UK, US and Asia to be named “Photographer of the Year” not once, but twice at the Venture Photography Awards. Rick is the real deal, professional, talented and totally tuned in to his subjects. We honestly felt very lucky to have him shoot us.
A few days after the photo shoot, we met with Stephen Wadsworth, managing director at Venture Photography. But, we didn’t meet in an office or crouch and hover over each other to look at a computer screen. No, we sat in a big theater room on a cozy couch and looked at our photos which had been edited into a gorgeous movie like presentation to cool music on a big theater screen. At Venture Photography, every step from start to finish, is an experience- and viewing the photos was no exception. After watching the video of all of our photos, which honestly had me quite emotional (that music though!) Stephen took the time to go through each photo, one-by-one, and help us whittle down the whole into a grouping of photos we would potentially order. He gave us his honest opinions, asked us the right questions, and let us take as much time as we needed to mull over each photo. And believe me, it wasn’t easy- every photo was exceptional. My husband and I found it challenging to narrow down the choices.
Once we had decided on the photos we wanted to order, Stephen patiently and kindly then went through each frame option showing us how each looked on the wall, and even rearranging on the screen photos we had chosen to show us what they would look hung in different ways on our wall.
Before we knew it, we had spent more than two hours there, enjoying the photos, asking questions, and just chatting with Stephen (he’s a really cool guy). We left feeling excited and so enthusiastic about another really awesome experience with Venture.
And then about six weeks later, when the photos came in… we were absolutely blown away!
Venture Photography was a one of a kind photo session experience. It was an adventure from beginning to end with personalized focus at every stage. And I am not just writing hype! Each step of the way, our interaction with Venture Studios was a complete experience, unlike any photo shoot we’ve ever had before. Rick and Stephen were an absolute pleasure to work with, and their expertise and trained eyes delivered gorgeous photos in the perfect style and framing. And everyone else with whom we had contact along the way was professional and kind, as well. We are thrilled with our photos. They wonderfully capture and showcase our children’s personalities, but also double as art on our wall. And anyone who sees them not only offers up compliments, but GASPS at how stunning they are. We couldn’t be more pleased, and definitely plan on ordering more.
Do not wait- give yourself and your family a photo experience of a lifetime. And end up with works of art that will be admired, enjoyed and treasured forever! Thank you, Venture Photography. We will be back!
Book a session now at www.venturephotography.com