The New Family Portrait, by ErinLeigh Photography

It has been 4 years since we last had a good family portrait session, and I've been meaning to schedule one before the kids grow up even more and become completely unrecognizeable. Picking a portrait photographer isn't an easy task. I'm done with the unnatural "tilt your head this way and place your hand on his shoulder" style of Sears and The Picture People, but I didn't want half-closed eyes or anything too wacky. Several weeks ago, Erin of ErinLeigh Photography offered to show us a new kind of family portrait -- one that can be casual, spontaneous, real, but still stylish and beautiful and maybe even a little bit Bongga -- and we couldn't be happier with the results.

The Basics
Erinleigh Photography specializes in children and family portraits. Erin will travel to your home or to a location that you find especially picturesque or meaningful, like a local park, a neighborhood square, or your home. She mixes traditional images with candid, informal shots with a dash of her own relaxed, natural style. No stiff posing or cheesy grins here. As Erin puts it herself, "Family pictures doesn't have to equal Olan Mills anymore ... Messy hair is okay. Perhaps even the occasional peanut butter sandwich crumb. It's just real life".
ErinLeigh Photography specializes in environmental, documentary portraiture for families, babies and children.  Erin will travel to your home or other locations around the San Francisco Bay Area that you find especially picturesque or meaningful (like a park, a favorite beach, street corner, etc...).  Her style is relaxed, real and definitely not run-of-the-mill.  As Erin herself says, "Family pictures doesn't have to equal Olan Mills anymore ...  Messy hair is okay.  Perhaps even the occasional peanut butter sandwich crumb.  It's just real life".

The Bongga

I was so happy with the results of our photo session! I love my family and I think we look terrific, but I didn't think we looked that terrific. She made everyone's messy hair look cute, and somehow managed to do away with my wrinkles, zits and belly fat. Hmmmm.... maybe we need to be submitting some headshots to model agencies? Then again, maybe not -- Erin would have to be in charge of each and every photo shoot.

Here are four reasons why I think Erin's work is great:

1) I LOVED how Erin incorporated our home into the shots: almost every photo features something that we love about our house, like the front porch, the back porch, the staircase, and the driveway. We've put a lot of time, money, effort and love into making our home a special place for our family, and Erin immediately recognized that.

2) Check out Erin's portfolio, and you'll see that her photos run the gamut from black and white to full, vibrant color -- so I have no clue how she could predict that I would love the grainy texture and vintage tone of our photographs. Maybe she just knew that this is what would work best with what we were wearing, with the colors of our home, whatever. Or maybe she just flipped a coin. I don't care -- the result looks great.

3) Erin worked really well with kids, Also, she's very approachable and easy to work with. She's no artistic diva; she definitely takes your preferences into account.

4) Her rates are reasonable compared with other great photographers in the Bay Area. I'm a fan of Martha Bruce and Anna Mayer , and I have to say that Erin's work is right up there with theirs -- but thank goodness for our budget, her rates are more affordable.

Oh, and here are four more reasons why I love Erin's work:

The Blah
Affordable rates were on my list of Bongga things about ErinLeigh Photography, but I realize that "affordable" is a relative term. I would budget a minimum of $500 for a session, $250 for the session fee plus the cost of whatever prints and digital images you purchase (I'd say $250 covers a basic mix of prints and digital images -- but believe me, you're going to want to purchase way more than a basic mix!). Her rates are definitely higher than strip mall studios but the unique quality of her photos just proves that you get what you pay for, and then some.

Oh, and if you want to check out Erin's website, make sure you type in the right URL:

Judging by the number of results that show up when you Google "ErinLeigh Photography", it's like anyone with that name is destined to become a professional photographer. So make sure you type in the URL above to get the right (and most talented) one!

The Bottom Line
ErinLeigh Photography offers in the San Francisco Bay Area at a fraction of the price of other portrait photographers. Book her now before her calendar fills up!

Our session fee was waived and we received a discount on orders, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

2 Comments, Leave yours here:

Carrie on October 7, 2009 at 8:55 PM said...

Those are nice pictures!

Hilary on October 9, 2009 at 8:25 AM said...

Beautiful photos! Looks like it's well worth the cost.

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