Any Tips for Family Portraits?

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by d70girl, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. d70girl

    d70girl TPF Noob!

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    My business is slowly growing, and whereas I started out doing primarily children's portraits, I've had more requests for family pictures lately, probably due to the holidays. I will admit I am MUCH better at children's portraiture than family shots... I just don't KNOW how to pose people without them looking "posed".

    Does anyone have some tips for some good natural-looking family shots?

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    incorporate role playing. also, as you become more experienced you'll find things you can do that get good smiles out of people, have them look at each other in some. if it looks posed and you aren't in love with the shot, then why bother taking it.

    Don't concentrate on posing them so much as getting good expressions. people pose themselves and if you don't know them, or don't necassarily know how their body moves, then you may not be able to convincingly position them.

    the environment you create also plays a large part in your results. i find that the more i loosen up and my assistant loosens up, the more my clients loosen up. before they will be okay in front of the camera they have to be okay in front of you.

    somtimes i just ask them to laugh, if they don't i do . . . and it sounds so dumb they laugh for real. or one of them will let out a fake laugh resulting in real laughter.

    people don't want to be posed, the want to be prompted. give vaugue directions so that they move in a way natural to themselves. if you have actions you can image that would get them to move the way you want, then have them pretend to do that.
     
  3. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    ask yourself, "does this look too contrived?" if it does, then fix it.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree...creating a good feeling will go along way toward making them look natural and 'unposed'.

    This, I think, is the real talent of portrait photography. The technical stuff is secondary to the atmosphere that breeds good images.

    I'm in the same boat as you...I'm doing kid shoots...and I'm getting requests for family shots...and I just know that it's going to be harder in some ways. Kids just act natural all the time.

    On the other hand, kids act natural all the time...which means that if they are in a bad mood...they will show it...and will be hard to work with. I've learned that you need to get your shots in quick...because once they get too disinterested...you just have to stop. I've heard several portrait photographers...who are good at creating that mood...say that they won't shoot children...they are just too unpredictable.
     
  5. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    i work hard at getting that mood, but love shooting children. i havn't had parents be upset with the crying snot nosed portraits i've given them. in my experience kids smile at least once in an hour. speaking of time constraints i think that being on a timeline also makes it harder for you to get the subjects to relax. . . i just wrote a 10 page paper on this last night. i might have to post some of it on here tomorrow.
     

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