A Portrait in Three Parts

Replacing the missing links in a family portrait.
Walking into the Best Western Hotel on Prince Charles Drive in Welland for Charlene’s portrait, we discovered an unexpected situation:  Two family members were absent.  One, a teacher from out of town, was going to be irrevocably late.  The other was out West, and by the time he got home, the family matriarch would be leaving for a trip of her own.

What to do?

With no other option, we did was comes naturally: Improvise.  Rather than reschedule, we decided to take the photo, leaving room for the absent parties.
Family Original

X marks the spot – where the two missing family members will be slipped in. This took into account height and placement.


The hotel was a great location for such a feat, with great, even lighting and plenty of locations to choose from, we were able to position the family members who were present, while taking into account the heights of those who were absent.
After that, we set up appointments with the two missing parties.  The hotel was gracious enough to allow us to return twice more, to photograph each family member individually.
Family Photo +1

One down, one to go.


Steps to Take:

If you are planning a family portrait and this situation occurs, it is really important to try and get the absent parties in the same – or a very similar – location (i.e: outdoors, in studio, or on location.)  This will make sure that the blending in process is as seamless as possible.
Beyond that, make sure the person knows the style of portrait, whether to be dressed up or down.  The last thing you want is for that one missing person to appear in your in-studio formal family portrait in their beach clothes, squinting into the sun.
Be sure to let your photographer know ahead of time.  In this case, it was crucial for us to know this detail, so we could adjust our posing accordingly.  We knew in advance that people would be missing, so we left gaps where they could be placed in without trouble.  Nobody wants to be the floating head in the background.
Nerses Photo Studio: Bringing people together, even when they’re not present.
Nerses Photo Studio Family Portrait

The finished product.