Family Portrait Information
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Thursday, October 11, 2012
By Neil Gates
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Family Portraits

 Ask most people when the last time they had a family portrait created, and you'll get a a pretty consistent answer - years ago!

The national average of how many family portraits a single family has taken over their lives is less than 2! That's crazy! A good family portrait can stand the test of time, give enjoyment for many years, and has an experience that went along with it. With todays technology, and public access to cameras that are more than capable, more and more people are calling themselves "photographers". Just because a person owns a $2000 camera, doesn't make them a photographer - I have a tool box in my garage with around $1000 worth of tools, but that doesn't qualify me to fix and build things for money!


Mantels make great places to display family portraits. This is a 30x40 Canvas Wall Portrait.

How it Works

 There are stages that we go through together to create that perfect family portrait. First is the design consultation. This is where we sit down and chat for 30-45 minutes about your family, and who the members are. This gives me a good sense of where we might choose to take the portrait. For example, I might learn that you love spending time at the beach in the summer. Now, although you probably never thought of creating a portrait at the beach, it becomes an idea that can get tossed around. There's a beach in Michigan that is less than two hours away, and is beautiful! Yes, it's more time consuming, but that's how we create something special. Any person with a camera can meet you at a park on some Sunday afternoon, but did they know anything about you as a family? Do they even care? This is also the time for us to decide on some clothing and color ideas.

The next step is for me to scout out the location, and you are more than welcome to join me. We'll need to figure out the time of day based on the light at that location. Again, time consuming for me, but worth it in the long run - you get to display a portrait in your home that you are proud of...

Then there's the day of photography. There's no "weirdness" right off the bat, because you and I have already got to know each other a little bit. And since I've already scouted the location, we don't need to spend time trying to find a good spot. We'll spend however long it takes to create the images you want (I do not create images for the sake of trying to sell you extras later). I never schedule two sessions back to back like most other photographers, if it takes two hours, so be it.


Even walls that most people think are too small can accomodate a Wall Portrait. This size is 20x24.

"Neil has done our family portraits for several years. He has a great eye for how to set-up the portraits. We are always very pleased with the finished product. He also very good with working with dogs who are not always in the mood to be photographed. He is also very focused on ensuring the best for all aspects of his business. He continually demonstrates to us his passion for his work. His customer service is unsurpassed. We highly recommend him for your portraits." ~ Bev and Vince Paperillo, Naperville IL

After the photographs are created, we'll put our calendars together to come up with a time to view them together. I project your images in a real-life front room. This helps you visualize how and where a portrait might look in your own home. Another benefit to projecting your portraits is that there is ZERO guess work as to what the appropriate size is. If it looks too small on my wall, it'll look too small on yours!

After the images are selected, we can look at frame corners. All of my portraits come custom framed, using frames from Colbert Custom Framing in Naperville. This is great for you because the portrait is all ready to display on your mantel or wall when I deliver it to you. (Yes, delivery to your home is standard).

Canvas Wall Portraits are my specialty, and I don't mean the kind of canvas prints that you've seen advertised lately. Those are inkjets sprayed onto canvas. They're OK, but our product is truly a hand crafted work of art. First, the emulsion gets stripped from the backing paper with an Exacto blade. (imagine trying to do that with a 30x40 piece of photographic paper without destroying it!) Next, the emulsion is embedded into artist canvas, pushing all that lovely canvas texture through. Then, the canvas gets mounted to masonite board for stability and also to prevent warping. If a photograph is mounted on a stretcher frame and hung on an outside wall, humidity can warp the image, that's why I swapped to mounting on masonite. After the canvas is mounted, it heads to the spray department. This is where your work of art gets several coats of clear spray, giving it a high gloss, "wet" look, similar to an oil painting. This is where you'll see the biggest difference between our Canvas Wall Portrait's and "theirs".

After Your portrait is framed and signed, we will call you (usually between 3 and 4 weeks) to set up a delivery time. I am happy to simply deliver your artwork, or actually hang it on the wall or mantel for you.


And again, here is my Guarantee - 


We understand that it is not just a photograph, it's a piece of your life. From the planning sessions through the photography to the selection of your images, we work with you to create portraits that you will be thrilled with. And if you are not, we offer our iron-clad guarantee: If you are not thrilled with your portraits, (thrilled, not just satisfied), we will give you all your money back - no questions, and no hard feelings either!


"Neil is detail oriented and goes above and beyond to create the perfect portrait. Over the last 10 years we have used Neil twice for our family portrait. Last summer, during our family reunion, we had Neil take pictures of all 23 of us at my mother in law's home. He was patient and fun and the portrait is a treasure we are all grateful for. Neil doesn't just take pictures, he gets to know his clients and showcases personalities. After meeting our family, he took it upon himself to revisit my mother in law's home the next day to create a family nostalgia video. He intuitively knew all the special items around the house which captured all the childhood memories for my husband and his five brothers. Neil was professional and his service is fantastic!" ~ Sue C. Naperville, IL


Please call us now at 630-428-4540. There is no cost, and no obligation. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

For more examples of family portraits, taken in my studio, your home or on location, please visit my online gallery."





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