Outdoor family portrait - any advise?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by wet, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. wet

    wet TPF Noob!

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    My best friend asked me for a favor, to take her family's outdoor portrait picture. This is a group of 8 adults & 3 kids.

    I did some research, I told them to wear with similar color theme. I will use my Canon 85mm f1.2 lens & shoot using manual & aperture priority if I have to. Yep, shoot raw & find a shaded spot.

    Any other advise?

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Fill flash. Better yet, is to shoot during the 'golden hour'
     
  3. Applefanboy

    Applefanboy TPF Noob!

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    If you have someone to hold it, a reflector would be nice.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    A reflector big enough for 8 people would need several people to hold it...or a big frame/stand. Probably not practical.

    A very important aspect of group photography is the arrangement/posing of the group. Think of things in very simple terms...imagine the scene as a composition of heads/faces. You want to create triangle shapes between any three faces (basically, don't put them in a line). Try to space them evenly, in a nice composition.
    It will look 'off' if every face is one foot away from the next, except one which is right next to another one...do you know what I mean?

    Working with kids does add an aspect of difficulty. They may not want to look at the camera and may be squirming around etc. The parents will probably need to help constrain them, but then you often get time when the parents are looking at the kids rather than up at the camera. It can take many shots to get one where they are all looking...but the longer you shoot, the more restless the kids (and eventually adults) get...so you don't have all day.

    Of course, lighting and exposure will be important. Look for a shady spot and try to make sure that there are no extreme light or dark spots falling on them.
     
  5. wet

    wet TPF Noob!

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    Should I use telephoto like 70-200mm to get better depth of field? Is f/7.1 too big? I worry my flash is not adequate to do flashfill, in return create 'hot spot', should I just shoot in complete shaded area without flashfill?
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    By better, do you mean you want more or less DOF?

    It might be hard to shoot at group that large with a longer lens, as you would have to stand quite far away. If you can get away with it, it would probably make for a more flattering photo though.

    Even when shooting in shade, it might not be a bad idea to fire the flash. You may not need it for the primary light in the photo, but it can add catchlights to people's eyes, which is a good thing.
     
  7. wet

    wet TPF Noob!

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    You brought out a very good point. I should shoot with flash to bring out the glow of the people's eyes.
    I guess I could try with longer lens too to try to get good bokeh. I thought my 85mm f/1.2 could give me that but maybe i am not setting it right.
    Thanks, man.
     
  8. Beverly Stayart

    Beverly Stayart TPF Noob!

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    You don't want a monochromatic color scheme -- ask the family to choose two contrasting colors (such as blue and yellow) and dress in those colors. Also, the children should always be in front of the adults. You don't want everyone to stand -- too boring. Ask some to kneel or sit.
     
  9. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    Ask them to wear darker/muted color tops so that their faces are more the focus than their clothes.

    Flash for fill and catchlight is a good suggestion that others have made, and yes, compositionally, try for interesting shapes with their faces.

    Also, a connection between the family members is nice, a hand on a shoulder, holding a child, shoulders touching, etc...

    I did a family portrait outdoors and one of the sisters and her kids all kind of stood on one side with their hands in front of them and totally looked splintered from each other and the rest of the group!
     
  10. Jeffro

    Jeffro TPF Noob!

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    I think also if you need about 10 good shots take 100! It is digital and Free!!!
     

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