How Pretending Makes Better Family Portraits

“Let’s pretend you could have any family portrait you wanted. What would you like to see?” is how I start my Discovery Session with new clients.

You likely remember growing up and pretending to be someone you weren’t in an extraordinary situation where you’re the hero who saves the day. Like, maybe, playing air guitar while standing in front of the mirror, pretending to be James Hetfield of Metallica, looking out at the massive crowd all cheering for me… I’m mean you!

Pretending captures our imaginations, allows us to dream, and see ourselves without flaws and insecurities.

composite photography of dallas family portrait by jason ulsrud of photillustrator

Unfortunately, however, as we grow up, we become too busy to pretend and too embarrassed to admit our make-believe worlds. “Pretending”, we say, “is for kids!”

breakdown of photo composite of family portrait by jason ulsrud

One of the easiest ways to stand out and get noticed as a Composite Photographer is to give people the chance to pretend, which is what I did for the McDonough family and their 52 photos Composited Portrait called “Cardboard Boat”.

original scene photo for photo composited family portrait

The trick to successfully transforming the ordinary into extraordinary is to enter into the world of pretend with your client. Letting them know it’s ok to be a kid again and pretend.

Creating uniquely different family portraits is a lot like directing a movie with actors who are pretending to be someone they’re not. Successfully direct your clients to act out their roles and your family portrait will be a box office hit.

family portrait reveal by dallas portrait photographer jason ulsrud

mcdonough family portrait reveal by photillustrator

reveal of family portrait by jason ulsrud of photillustrator

My #1 goal with Photillustrator is to create family portraits that make people laugh and smile, and just like with the director of a movie, there’s no better feeling than to see families react to their uniquely different portrait for the first time.

In my opinion, we’d all be much happier if we’d just pretend a little more.

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