The Parent Portrait

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Have you heard me say that “Micro Changes produce Macro Results”? Well it’s one of my favorite phrases in business because it continually proves itself to be true in our business. I’m about to share one Micro Change that we made during family portraits that has made a big impact on our wedding days! Now I know that no photographer LOVES family formals but we actually view this part of the day as one of the most “value adding” opportunities we have throughout the entire experience!

When you think about it, normally, this part of the day is the only time that photographers interact directly with the parents for an extended period of time. Normally the parents are who have invested in the photography and so this is a VERY important interaction!!!

Our goal on the wedding day is to love and serve everyone well. We especially want to make sure we take care of the parents of our couple!! When you think about it, parents aren’t normally celebrated very often at weddings because all of the focus is on the couple. The parents are often the ones who paid for the day and who helped mold and shape their son or daughter into who they are and I think they deserve to be recognized for that. The mother of the bride is often one of the main planners of the day and yet she doesn’t even get a SPECIAL DANCE!! Parents should be celebrated and I often wish we had done more to celebrate our parents and their marriages on our wedding day.

I realize that there are a lot of broken marriages at weddings as well. We see so many parents who are divorced or separated and I know that that is very common and we try to be very sensitive to those situations. However, whenever there are ANY couples who are together and present at family formals, we try to take a portrait of JUST the two of them!! No bride, no groom, just their parents! This could be step parents, parents, significant others …. if it’s obvious that they are together, we try our best to give them a portrait of their own! We normally say something like “It’s not every day that you two get this dressed up!! You need a portrait!” I would say 9 times out of 10, the parents are surprised and taken back by the attention being directed towards them for a second!! They normally thank us and say “Well I didn’t think WE were going to get a portrait!!! Thank you!” This is probably the easiest way to love and serve the parents of your couples!!

So next time you’re photographing a wedding, take 10 seconds and love on the parents and give them a “Parent Portrait”!! It will make their day!!!!

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xoxo, Katelyn
12 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Jenny McQueen reply

    We do it for divorced/separated parents too; often time the step parents have played a huge role and it doesn’t hurt to win them over too!

  2. Holly reply

    Love this! I obvious love all the pictures of Erik and I from our wedding, but the family pictures have become just as special over the years. When Erik’s nana passed away in August, we used pictures from our wedding for her memorial and obituary. She looked so beautiful and it was the last professional photo she had taken! You have loved and served my family even after our wedding!

  3. Suzanne reply

    My parents had a “parent portrait” at my wedding over 25 years ago. It’s a priceless picture that sits on my dresser along with pictures of my kids. So glad you are incorporating that into your albums as well. It is soooo worth it. Love how thoughtful you and Michael are when it comes to your clients. :)

  4. Shannon Wong reply

    Thanks for sharing this idea. I had been thinking about doing this as well. My mother passed away 3 years ago and my wedding is one of the last pictures of my parents together. It means so much to me now.

  5. Elizabeth Gelineau reply

    Love this post Katelyn! I’m definitely going to incorporate parent portraits into formal portrait time on wedding days in the future.

  6. Erin reply

    Some of my favorite photos from our wedding is the “parent portraits” that our photogs snagged. So grateful for those that take the time to do this!

  7. Abbi Hearne reply

    This is an amazing idea!!! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it…you’re so right, they deserve that special attention and it’s SO easy to add this in!! I will definitely be using this now. Thank you!

  8. Natalie reply

    I love this idea!

  9. Hannah Farajpanahi reply

    Wouldn’t have even thought to do this – such a little thing, but such a great way to show appreciation for all that the parents do! Thanks for being such a great resource for further cultivating a beautiful career. :)

  10. stacy reply

    Hello Katelyn,
    Yesterday I was reading blogs and checking out Pinterst for inspiration and tips for shooting a wedding for a friend today. I took your advise of taking the parents’ portraits. So true!! The bride’s mom & dad were like, “we probably haven’t had a picture of just the two of us since our wedding day!” Thank you for all you inspirations and tips…and I look forward to your webinar on Tuesday!

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