Phil Cantor Photography will capture the masterpiece that is your family.

Our memories are our most valuable possessions.

When my mother, Millie Cantor, passed away a few years ago, I felt lucky to have so many beautiful photographs of her with my family…memories that I had captured over the years. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any photographs of her with my father and my siblings from when we were younger and I found myself wishing they had gotten a family portrait taken back then.

It made me realize that there are two best times to get a family photo taken: 20 years ago…and right now.

Lisa Amato, Essex Fells, NJ“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.”

Lisa Amato, Essex Fells, NJ

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.

#1 All you need for a good photograph is a good camera – We don’t need a professional.

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 take pride in developing special relationships with my clients and I try to approach every photography session as if I was your good friend taking your picture. 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.

Kathy McClearn“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.”

Kathy McClearn, Montclair, NJ

#2 Family portraits are boring and unnatural!

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. I’m there for you throughout the whole process, from selecting the right clothing to selecting the final photo–and everything in between.

Claudia Gorman“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!”

Claudia Gorman, Springfield, NJ