Multi Family shot suggestions and inspiration please?

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by caroldeandaphoto, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. caroldeandaphoto

    caroldeandaphoto TPF Noob!

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    I have a shoot coming up with multiple families...
    All in the same photo but all separate...divided into their own little family units
    This is what my client wants and Im kinda lost on inspiration...
    She wants each family to look natural and unposed
    so more on the photojournalistic side...
    Does anyone have any advice and more importantly and images I can see for some inspiration....This would be done in a non studio setting
    help?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Firstly, a lot of people say they want 'unposed' shots...but what they really mean, is that they don't want a poorly posed shot and/or they don't want to sit still for an hour waiting for you to figure it out.

    Posing of some sort is usually quite helpful, if not an outright necessity, especially with a group shot, where one person 'out of line' can ruin the whole shot.

    They way I learned to pose groups...is to just consider it a group of individuals. If each person is posed well, they can all look good. It doesn't have to mean that you take the time to full direct each and very person...but at least give them some general direction. Like "don't stand square to the camera" etc.

    As for arranging the groups, consider it an arrangement of faces. You want a pleasing composition of faces within the image. For example, you probably want to avoid stacking heads (on on top of another) when you can space them out in an alternating pattern. Also, you probably don't want to have a couple faces that are a lot closer together than the rest of them, it just wouldn't look right.
    You can separate the families, just keep in mind that you want a pleasing arrangement of faces in the scene.
     
  3. caroldeandaphoto

    caroldeandaphoto TPF Noob!

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    thanks big mike....
    all faces might be nice....
    my client is being super specific though...
    this is her email in her exact words
    I just still can't grasp how to not just do it as a well posed multifamily portrait....
    more in the traditional sense vs. what her idea is....
    it also doesnt help that she has pushed the sitting back to december and i live in Chicago so its cold in december
    "
    Okay this is what I am looking for and I thought maybe sometime in November or
    December, whatever works for you. I live in Glen Ellyn and I am not sure where
    you feel would be the best place to this. here is what I am looking for:
    I have a family of 16, with husbands, wives and grandchildren. I have seen in
    the pass a very unposed, group picture that was awesome. Like maybe family
    number1 is over in this area of the picture and then family two is here, family
    three is over there, very relaxed, sitting, standing, bending over, whatever.
    Would even like maybe my two labs in the picture.

    I would like your opinion if we should all be in the same color....like black
    and white or that doesn't matter? I would love to speak with you seeing this
    portrait is very very important to me."
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Chances are that the shot she's thinking about was 'posed' a lot more than she thinks. She is probably impressed that everyone looks natural.

    Taking a step back...if this client is setting off alarm bells for you, maybe it would be best to pass one this one. Learning when to say 'no thanks' is a definite skill that often has to be learned...often learned the hard way, if you know what I mean.

    I've found that group shots with even a couple kids can sometimes be a nightmare...but if you have to get multiple families with lots of young kids (and a couple dogs)...it might be a huge headache.

    Sometimes, you have to be careful about letting a client dictate too much of 'what they want'. You need to convince them that you are the expert and know what works....of course, you don't want to make them feel wrong.
     
  5. caroldeandaphoto

    caroldeandaphoto TPF Noob!

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    I wish I could pass. Im doing this as a favor for my boss...my boss is the one paying me for it....Im actually ok with kids lol even multiple kids....kids and newborns are my specialty but i prefer small families not huge groups...

    I did not think about talking her out of wanting that specific photo and I like your idea of just talking her into some really well posed group shots some more natural some looking at me....maybe at the grandparents house or whose ever house is the nicest...

    I usually just use my SB900 and bounce it off either my large reflector i bring or when im lucky and they have light colored walls i bounce of the walls...

    I have been looking more and more about into investing into some alein bees.....do you think alein bees would be useful in the home sitting situation....thanks for all your help by the way

    What what you suggest I use if we do the photos indoors?
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    The more people you have, the more I think that outdoor is the way to go...weather permitting, of course.

    The problem with using your own light (whether speedlight, studio strobe etc) is that it's hard to light a large group of people evenly. Even if you use the light on or very close to the camera, you would still have to watch that most of the people were relatively the same distance from the light...otherwise those closest will be brighter than those farther away.

    If you can shoot outdoors (or maybe indoors if you have a lot of ambient light), then you can concentrate more on posing, grouping and composition and not have to worry too much about lighting.
     

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