How to Create Fun, Outrageous Portraits Your Clients Will Love

How to Create Fun, Outrageous Portraits Your Clients Will Love

While beautiful, classic family portraits will never go out of fashion, sometimes clients desire something that shows the fun, frivolous nature of their relationships with each other, as well as the lifestyles they love. A fun, outrageous portrait that shows the special family dynamic may be just what your clients are looking for.

Have you ever seen one of these larger-than-life, fantastical portraits in a magazine or on a movie poster and wondered what went into making it? Have you ever wished to offer this type of photography to your clients, but just aren't sure how to get started? Let's explore your fun, creative, frivolous side and learn how to design an over-the-top portrait unlike anything your clients have ever seen.

The Flamingos, by Jenny Edwards

Offer Clients Something Different

I love to take the opportunity to offer this kind of session as an additional service when a client approaches me for family photos or senior portraits. Many times, after meeting a family during our initial consultation, I can get a read on whether this family would be a good candidate for something fun and playful just by the way they interact with me and with each other. I also display a 40-inch x 60-inch canvas of my portrait, "The Flamingos" (pictured above), and I gauge the reaction I get from that. Once I get them interested, it's time to plan something amazing.

Clients love a concept that involves something personal and special to them. Copyright Jenny Edwards Photo, Amarillo Tx

Develop the Idea

Often these families have a difficult time envisioning a family portrait like this, so it's important to get those creative juices flowing in order to build on an idea and make it come through in a portrait. Ask your clients what their hobbies are. What are they collectively passionate about? How can you put a funny, outrageous spin on it? Maybe it's an inside family joke. Maybe it involves a favorite vacation spot. Chances are, they will all agree on one thing that truly bonds them together, and you'll be able to take that idea and build a fantastic setup for a creative portrait your clients will love.

Careful planning and a great concept made this fun photo a client favorite. Copyright Jenny Edwards Photo, Amarillo TX

Planning the Details 

Details are everything in a photo like this, so when planning your setup, you'll want to consider every little thing. Clothing choices, props, and fun little hidden gems are all integral parts of the process that will thrill an onlooker when they look closer and discover them. Include the family pet, the children's favorite trinkets, or dad's favorite old T-shirt. The possibilities really are endless.

Locations and Composites

Whenever I develop an idea for a photoshoot like this, I prefer to scout ideas and actually shoot the photo on location, especially when the location is a place that is special to my client. I like the authenticity that comes from shooting on location. However, it's not always the easiest method, leaving you to deal with things like weather, time, or travel constraints, and sometimes it's just not possible at all. In those cases, you can create an amazing photo in a controlled environment by lighting and shooting your subjects in a studio setting, and then using compositing techniques to create an amazing photo with the addition of stock photography or other photographs that you have taken. 

These types of portraits are not for every client, but it's worth exploring the option with any client you feel might be open to it. They provide a great way to upsell while stretching your creativity and having lots of fun in the process.

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michael buehrle's picture

check out Jason Ulsrud at if you wanna see a guy that has taken this up 2 levels. he has awesome stuff.

Jim German's picture

Holy smokes, that is great stuff.

Bill Peppas's picture

funny, they kinda are, terribly blended however.

michael buehrle's picture

who Jason or Jenny ? I'm gonna have to disagree with you on both

Henry Canyons's picture

Love your work!

Jenny Edwards's picture

Thank you so much!