Embracing Uniqueness with Tonya and Debbie

A few months ago I received a call from Tonya who had seen her friend Marla’s portrait “Gone to the Dogs”, and now she wanted a portrait featuring her uniquely different family. This family, however, was truly different from the families who typically commission me for a Creative Family Portrait.

This story is about embracing your uniqueness, no matter how different it is.

You see, instead of crazy kids flying through the air or mom and dad reacting to chaos, Tonya and Debbie are the loving parents of 4 cats, who are their crazy chaotic kids.

composite photography of family portrait with cats

On top of that fun little curveball, or should I say “hairball”, Tonya was very specific about what she wanted to see in her portrait. Literally giving me a long list of items her and Debbie would like to see.

So, what is it about these portraits that get’s such a fun reaction?

It’s Cats not Kids

Let’s face it, families with crazy kids are easy to create fun and entertaining portraits of. Whether it be kicking a soccer ball at dad, surfing down a slide, or flying through the air like in the Fine’s family portrait called “Stealing the Show”, kids make it easy.

So, what do you do if the family’s kids are cats?

First, pets of all kinds add a complexity to a family portrait, but unlike dogs, cats have a mind of their own. In other words, they do what they want, when they want, and how they want regardless of the stupid portrait we’re trying to create. LOL

As awesome as cats are, and surprisingly fun to work with, it’s nearly impossible to plan out a specific storyline for them.

That’s why in Tonya and Debbie’s Concept Sketch you will find no cats.

concept sketch for composite photography portrait backyard bliss

Typically, it’s only after I photograph the scene, stitch it together, and photograph our human subjects will I consider how we’ll add the cats.

That means the storyline is developed with our human subjects as lead characters and our feline friends as a supporting cast.

THIS IS IMPORTANT! Because we have very little control over what we can get your cat to do, it will be best featured in your portrait as a supporting character rather than one of the main characters.

So, what about dogs?

Dogs are completely different and I’ll show you how in my next BIG Reveal video of Danny and Amber’s portrait called “Really?”.

Details bring a Portrait to Life or can Kill it

You’re probably used to your boring family portraits having very little details. Other than you and your family, and maybe your house or railroad tracks in the background, there is literally NO details in traditional family portraits.

That’s what makes your Photillustrator portrait so Different.

Details are where your personalities are revealed and your family portrait comes to life, but if don’t wrong, it can also be what makes a super cute portrait fall apart.

During your Discovery Session, we’ll talk a lot about developing what I call a “congruent story”, which simply means everything from the main characters to the smallest of details must support the story being told.

Details that are out of place or occupying more portrait real estate then they deserve are confusing to the viewer and can kill an otherwise great portrait.

Anything, whether it be a small detail or an action of a character that doesn’t make sense will confuse the viewer, leaving them thinking, “That’s weird!” or “Why is it like that?”

I go to great lengths to make sure your family portrait turns out great, which means sometimes details are moved or end up on the cutting room floor, or in this case, the trash on my computer.

That’s a Wrap

Creating an amazing family portrait that’s different begins with your uniqueness, and through developing a congruent story that all the characters and details support, will brings your portrait to life.

The reactions Tonya and Debbie received from their family portrait are common and will work very hard to make sure your portrait gets the same kind of reaction at your BIG Reveal.

At Photillustrator, it’s as much about your experience as it is about your portrait, and we want to make sure your family Stands Out and Gets Noticed.

What kind of story will your portrait tell that will get a box office reaction?

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