Kate is a Floridian coming from a family of citrus farmers. Her goal is to provide high quality candid portraiture and make the process simple and straight forward for her clients.

The Reasons Your Last Photoshoot Didn’t Go Well

The Reasons Your Last Photoshoot Didn’t Go Well

Your last photoshoot was… less then stellar. What are the reasons Your Photoshoot didn’t go well? You decided to invest in a professional photoshoot. After combing through the internet and friend’s recommendations you finally picked out a photographer and hammered out the details with them. Then you went through getting your whole family dressed and to a certain location on time only to get your images back and not really like them. What are the reasons why your last photoshoot didn’t go well? What went wrong? Is it your fault? Is it the photographer’s fault?

Frankly, it’s probably a combination. I have been doing this now for 5 years, and let me tell you when I look back at my images from when I started it makes me cringe. At the time these images were taken, I was not charging for my services – So I don’t feel too terrible. Which leads me to my first lesson for Family Photographer consumers!


Disney Yacht Club family vacation photography Orlando Florida

Photo taken at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 

1. You Get What You Pay For!

This lesson is  hard pill to swallow for a lot of people. It is kind of like when you ask someone how they lost all that weight and they tell you “Diet and Exercise.” It’s never a surprise, but it also is always a let down because you already know this one! I started in photography not charging people because I had a full time job that paid my bills and I knew I needed to PRACTICE. Photographers are just like musicians or athletes – practice is the only way you get better.  And in portrait photography, just knowing how a camera works isn’t enough; you also have to know how to direct people. There are hours and hours and hours of classes on all different kinds of posing. There are actual RULES on where to put people and how to make people look their best. Then, on top of that, there is each photographer’s personal style of photography. These things all take lots of time to develop. Which means if you got a great deal on that family session and you aren’t totally over the moon about your images – your photographer is probably just starting out and hasn’t figured things out yet. We all start somewhere — and it’s usually at the lower end of the price totem pole.


Why Your Last Photoshoot didn't go wELL, TIPS TRICKS Orlando family photographer central florida in home infant session

In Home Family Session in Orlando, Florida.

2. Styling

You feel like your favorite plaid shirt makes you look like you’re 100 lbs heavier then you actually are. Your whole family looks like a cult in matching white shirts and jeans. If this is how you feel about your last photoshoot Styling is the reason your photoshoot didn’t go well. Taking time to research a little bit about what you want to wear at your session is SO IMPORTANT! There are a few standard tricks and tips to making your family look totally awesome in images while still keeping their style in mind. Although some families are just so good at looking effortlessly cool, IT ISN’T EFFORTLESS. They think about it, plan it, and know the rules. This topic is SO important that I actually wrote a blog about it already with some extra references included for what I didn’t cover (Check that out here. )

If you’re still have questions about this topic, ask your photographer! They usually have a standard “Dos and Don’ts” list of their own to help guide you down the path of style choices to the glorious land of beautiful family photos!

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Same Sex Wedding at their Home in Orlando, Florida 

3. Not Enough Communication

Although I would LOVE to be telepath and read every one of my client’s mind’s to ensure they get exactly what they are looking for – I am just plain not. Neither was your photographer (unless they are some sort of alien sent back via temporal shift in time like a Star Trek episode… in which case, give them my number) they were really just guessing at what you wanted. This is where communication is so key! The bigger the family the more communication needs to happen prior to the session. Let your photographer know EXACTLY which groupings you MUST HAVE. If there is a pose you are dying to recreate, tell them. Send them an example of what you mean – and understand that the photo you are sending them is merely an inspirational image – not something they can copy exactly. If you have a “side” or something you’d like to be keen on hiding, let them know! This is what you’re paying for – a professional who knows how to get a great image. Make use of them – and do it BEFORE they take the photos – not after they are done. Retouching in photoshop takes tons of time and can get expensive VERY quickly. Most of the retouching I get requested is something I could have fixed during our shoot if I knew the client was self conscious about.


Central Florida Family Photographer Barn Photography Session Family Matnerity Kate Mclean Photography Black and White Candid

Photo taken at Horse Power Ranch in Geneva, Florida

4. Wrong Time of Day

I’d rather take photos of a poorly styled family next to a dumpster with good lighting then a perfectly styled family in a manicured park with bad lighting. Lighting makes ALL the difference in the world. You want that perfect rose gold glow from the sun? You can’t get that at noon. No matter what. When your photographer suggests a time, it is usually based on sunset. I like to start my larger family shoots an hour and thirty minutes before sunset — and if your photographer suggests a sunrise shoot — it’s because the light is SO amazing at that time, not because we want to torture you by making you wake up at the ass crack of dawn. No one looks good in direct sunlight at noon – and if they do it’s because they’re a model. You’re not a model. Your husband isn’t a model. You’re going to look like you’re hot and squinting – because YOU ARE!

UCF Graduation Shoot taken at University of Central Florida at Sunrise.

5. Too Much Planning

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Believe it or not, your plan can be one of the Reasons Your Photoshoot didn’t go well. So I totally get that this is the opposite advice from number 3 — but there is a point where too much planning kills the moment. I think the key is to make sure you communicate everything to your photographer PRIOR to your shoot (and for the love of God, do it in an email so we can go back and read your concerns before the shoot. It’s so hard to keep everything straight if it’s not written down.) Then when you arrive at your shoot, let go. Relax. Stop yelling at the kids. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Your photographer is a control freak. We love photography because we get to control everything about the shoot. Step back and let the photographer do what you paid them to do. As long as we don’t have to read your mind before hand, we can deliver great images and a great experience if you just step back and LET us.

Champagne Clad Family Photography in Winter Springs

Image taken at Winter Springs Town Center 

6. Location, Location, Location

Here is a little tip: Lakes look crappy in photos. Unless it’s a huge lake, surrounded by mountains or some other kind of interesting thing, they look super crappy. I am sorry. I have taken SO many images next to lakes because clients request it. I am not in the business of telling people no. But they never, EVER like the final product because Lakes make for crappy backdrops. Find things like this out from your photographer. Ask them what they think. Ask your friends what locations they used. Take my advice, and do your homework. Take your photographer’s suggestions into consideration. It can change the whole outcome!

This is so important! I wrote an entire blog about where to go in Orlando: Here 


Family Photography at Downtown Orlando's Leu Gardens

Photo taken at Leu Gardens in Downtown Orlando, Florida



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