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Photography Question 
Todd Snavely

Indoor Portrait Ideas

I have a client who is in a hurry to get some family portraits done. She does not want them done in my studio or outside, as it's the middle of the winter here in the Midwest. Does anyone have ideas for good indoor locations that work well? Outdoors, studio and weddings are my comfort zone, so I am not sure where to even begin to look. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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2/6/2010 10:33:24 AM

Sarah  L. de Jong
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2010
  Did you check out the house of your client? Or perhaps get your client to suggest favorite places and you go check them out? Other ideas could include the library, city hall, a cozy coffeehouse, or a nice restaurant?

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2/14/2010 9:45:17 AM

Kathryn Wesserling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2005
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  Here's another idea - do you have a favorite church setting (from one of your wedding shoots), Todd? I was thinking maybe stained glass windows, polished pews, bride's room, indoor meditation area. A Botanical Garden Conservatory might work, also.

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2/23/2010 3:59:10 AM

Bruce A. Dart   As a portrait photographer for the past 30 years, I have had occasion to photograph families in lots of places. One, friends of mine from church where I had always seen them "dressed up," came into the studio. Looking at the results, they said, "this is nice but it's not us." We went to the rec room of their home, posed them in casual clothes around the couch with the family dog, and they were very happy with the results.
At a wedding out of the area, I went a day early to photograph all of the family - in the hotel lobby (a large hotel, obviously.)
Several times we have used the space of a church of photos. In some instances, the family was an integral part of the church, and vice versa, so the church setting was appropriate. Other times we just used the large space, occasionally with a studio background to set up a location studio that was easier. Extended families larger than 10 will not fit in my small studio and we have to look for these spaces. As long as you are not using some of these spaces on a regular basis, most public places are happy to accommodate a photo session and are often flattered to have their site chosen for such an important event. They might even be interested to include a copy for their web site. Once you start brainstorming, there are usually several possibilities. Good luck. Lots of good ideas here depending on your area.

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2/23/2010 6:34:07 AM

Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
  Hi Todd ... During the wintertime (it gets pretty nasty here in Toronto, Ontario, as well), I suggest my favourite greenhouses at Allan Gardens, which is pretty central and huge. At Christmastime, the various poinsettias are beautiful, and at other holidays, flowers are planted to suit. My second favourite is Valentine's Day, when I suggest to my clients we do their engagement portraits. If there's a greenhouse (or large flower shop), try it out. The big plus is that greenhouses are nice and bright!! All the best...

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2/25/2010 4:53:33 AM

Robert F. Walker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/24/2004
  Sometimes you might be able to negoiate a deal with a local Photography Studio to lease their Studio for a few hours, compensating them for that privilage will be required. It's worth asking!

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3/2/2010 6:58:49 AM

Bob Sticco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/20/2007
  Hey Carlton. . .Sorry to hear about your misfortune...that's my greatest nightmare since all the camera equipment I have,@ this stage of my life would be irreplaceable.I go to Florida every year for a month and when I rent a car I will not accept one with a hatchback, the car either has a truck or I go elsewhere. I won't have any of my camera equipment visible from outside the vehicle, I do the same at home. For anyone reading this post, it is good advice as far as I'm concerned. I can't afford to replace what I have, or spend the rest of my life in jail for killing the miserable bastard responsible, if I were lucky enough to find them...:).
Good luck in the future I hope that never happens to you again!!! Good Shooting. . .Bob

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3/2/2010 9:02:01 AM

Bruce A. Dart   Todd and all,
Another little tidbit: sometimes we get so hung up on technical stuff that we lose why we are doing the portraits in the first place. Another important issue -- and sometimes we are more successful than others -- is the coordination of clothing. It doesn't necessarily have to "match" to look good but certainly the colors should try to be coordinated so that one person doesn't wear stripes and the next a "busy" print. One family all wore jeans and white shirts (and went barefoot, inside obviously). It gets harder with larger groups. Sorry that I don't have a BP web gallery but check out my work at
I have some issues getting current things there but there are plenty of ideas.
Best wishes,

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3/2/2010 1:17:59 PM

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