The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.
– George Santayana
Phil Cantor Photography will capture the masterpiece that is your family.
I’m Phil Cantor and I’ve devoted my life to capturing wonderful family memories. I’m a professional family photographer in Montclair, NJ, but more than that, I’m just like you…I cherish my family.
Our memories are the most valuable things we possess.
When my mother passed away a few years ago, I felt lucky to have so many beautiful photographs of her with her many friends and family members but I didn’t have any of her with my father and my siblings from when we were younger. I found myself regretting not getting a family photo taken back when that was the last thing any of us were thinking about.
It made me realize: the best time to get a family photo taken is 20 years ago…or right now.
Phil has been photographing our kids for many years… in our home, for team sports and the high school yearbook. We are always amazed by how well Phil understands our kids and we love how creatively he captures the essence of our family.
Throughout this page you’ll see and hear from families in the New York/Northern New Jersey Metro Area.
5 Common myths, mistakes, and misconceptions about family portraits
Life’s busier and crazier than ever, and family life in particular seems to be happening at an ever-accelerating pace. The information that follows will help you navigate through the most common myths, mistakes and misconceptions about family portraits.
Phil made me feel very comfortable about getting our family together for a photo shoot. The portrait session itself was fun and easy. There was no stress and we all felt like movie stars and models! Professional portraits are something that every family should have and I hope to be back to his studio again and again.
#1 All you need for a good photograph is a good camera
Incorrect! I didn’t become a photographer simply because I like to play with the cool cameras and technology. What drew me to photography was seeing the impact that a photograph could have on a person—how it could capture a moment or a relationship and make it last forever. That is why photographs become our most prized possessions…they are one of the few irreplaceable things in life. Ask someone who’s experienced a house fire or flood and they always mention saving their family photographs as the priority…not the sofa or food processor.
I try to approach every photograph as if I was your good friend taking your picture. I take pride in developing relationships with my clients because I understand the “psychology” of photography. The lighting, the lenses, the camera specifications are only the tip of the iceberg— what really makes a photograph great is that each and every family member is comfortable, relaxed, and most importantly themselves.
The three kids and I all truly enjoyed ourselves. We talked about it afterwards and couldn’t get over how much fun the experience was. It’s hard to find something all three kids enjoy doing – a college freshman, teenage boy, and a five year old. We haven’t had this much fun together in a long time!
#2 Family portraits are boring!
Wrong! Most people think of a professional family portrait as an uncomfortable and unnatural— “say cheese”—affair.
Imagine instead: your family gathered in your favorite room in the home or outside on the new deck you just built, or in a beautiful, creative photography studio— everyone is relaxed and themselves and having a great time. In the final photo, everyone looks the best they’ve ever looked and each individual’s personality shines through.
What is Important is that You and Your Family Feel Totally Comfortable in Front of the Camera!
- Do you know anyone who feels totally comfortable in front of the camera? Nearly everyone I meet tells me the same thing: “I never look natural in pictures.” The last thing that you want from a family photo is for it to look too posed or fake. You’d be surprised by how many photographers think this is the proper way to do a family portrait. My 30 years of experience have led me to understand how to get the very best out of the people I photograph from details small and large. I’m there for you throughout the whole process from selecting the right clothing to selecting the final photo and everything in between.
I have thousands of pictures of my sixteen month old son, but almost none of him, my husband and I together. When that realization struck, we promptly made an appointment with Phil Cantor because he is the only person that we’d trust to document our memories. And the result was absolutely amazing! He truly captured the essence of our little family. We now have a wonderful keepsake and we certainly couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful result or effortless experience! Phil will be our photographer for life!
#3 There’s no rush to get a portrait taken
- False! You know how things are: if you don’t call me to chat about your family portrait, you will probably get swamped with other things, and forget all about it. Then, before you know it, a year – two years – five years have gone by. How different will your family be then?
First, your child takes his or her first step. next, learns to ride a bike. later, gets a driver’s license. graduates from high school. gets married. starts a family of his or her own.
These are precious times, and although things will change, this moment never has to slip from your fingers. We put things off, and before we know it, everything has changed. If your life is half as crazy as mine is, year after year you find yourself frustrated at the things you wanted to do, and never got done. A family portrait is something you deserve and will keep forever.
Your family portrait will become one of the most irreplaceable possessions in your home. Think about a wonderful photograph, created by a professional photographer, that not only captures your family’s true bonds and relationships, but does so in a way that you’d be proud to display in your home for the rest of your life.
I was worried that the kids might be antsy, but the photography session was fun and the results are fantastic.
#4 There’s no one to help with making choices about clothing, makeup, hair, location, etc.
Incorrect! No matter who creates your photographs for you, you will need to make some decisions.: what clothing should your family wear? Where should this photograph be created? How heavy should the makeup be on the ladies in the photograph? There are a number of things to think about and I will walk you through all of them personally. When you call, or come into the studio, we’ll chat briefly about the things you need to know and I’ll answer all your questions about how to prepare for a family portrait.
Phil made everyone feel comfortable, instantly. He has a gentle approach that makes you feel at home, and not self-conscious at all. We had lots of laughs and it was a fun family experience! Beautiful mementos like these are truly priceless.
#5 There’s no way to GUARANTEE that I will love my family portraits.
Wrong! Depending on who creates your family portrait, that is. Just suppose you had a family portrait created, and your son or daughter didn’t look natural in it. The photograph was “okay,” but it didn’t turn out spectacular. Should you have to pay for it? Absolutely not! I believe strongly that no one should ever have to pay for a photograph that isn’t PERFECT. That’s why I am able to offer the following guarantee:
If Your Family Doesn’t Look the Best They’ve Ever Looked Together in These Photographs – You Don’t Pay Me for Them.
That’s my guarantee and personal promise to you. As far as I know, there’s no other photographer around that will make you this super guarantee.
- These photographs will be completely meaningless to you unless they convey the real emotions and relationships between you and your loved ones. That’s the only real reason to have a family portrait created.
If you are not THRILLED with your photographs – if you are dissatisfied for ANY reason at all, I will do two things for you:
1st – At NO CHARGE, I will photograph your family again, and make sure that anything that wasn’t perfect is fixed, without you paying another cent.
2nd – If I am absolutely unable to thrill you – if I’m unable to create a photograph that you feel you will cherish forever, I will refund EVERY PENNY you invested in them. You don’t pay for your photographs unless you love them!
Just Call My Studio, and We’ll Chat.
The perfect family portrait is only one phone call away. Call me at 973-783-1065 (no cost, no obligation) or email me at email@example.com
Phil Cantor is a professional family portrait photographer based in Essex County, New Jersey.