Shooting a family this weekend... need some input

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bigtwinky, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Like the title says, I'm doing a quick shoot for a family this weekend. Their son is turning 1. I was already over at their place on other business and when they heard I do photography, asked if I could take some photos of them and their child.

    I'm good with event shooting. I'm somewhat good with portraits.

    Family shooting? Never been there. Looking for some tips on what to do, how to direct the shoot. I already gave them the "don't wear loud clothes" speech, but when I get to shooting, I was thinking of heading outside and getting more interaction between the family member shots. Its supposed to be -1C and scattered flurries on Sunday, so the weather should be good.

    Any inspirational photographers I can look over portfolios to get an idea of shots? Standard waist up of them holding their child, child playing, maybe them holding his hands and shooting them from the back when they lift the kid up in the air...
     
  2. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My Man P :)
    WELL... now you're in trouble, j/k.
    anyways, since you'll be outdoors and it'll be cold, as you said, kid will be wearing 20layers of cloth and at least one of them will be covering his face, so remind mommy and daddy that you need to see his face. #2. keep an eye for white balance - snow is usually white NOT blue; however, often it looks blue on the pics due to lack of processing.
    #3 - focus. moving kids are pain in the @$$. So be mindful of your focus. Along with focus, comes exposure. I'm very big, as you know on lighting. So watch your lighting, watch your exposures. If you CAN, use a flash to accent your subject(s). If you can't - it is what it is.
    If you'll be just doing some outdoor portraits, then there isn't much of a dif from in-doors but again, keep an eye out for lighting, exposure, white balance.
    Now, I'm not a fan of shooting uzi, on contrary. I was taught to count your shots as if they are $. Every wasted frame = $1. HOWEVER, in times like kids out in the park shoot a lot and see what you get.
    Keep an eye out for parents, grandparents, who ever is there... they all have a tendancy to look at the kid when you're jumping like a clown and when kid smiles THEY aren't looking at the camera. So forewarn them "look at the camera NOT anywhere else". keep an eye out for smiles and head positions of adults (over tilts/rotation, etc etc)
    Finally, do not tell mommy and daddy how many frames you did b/c they will expect that from you. Rather tell them that you'll see what "we got" since kids blinks and look all over the place.
    Then, when you process the job, spend a bit more time adding some funky image or little collage. Maybe even photo montage that's around 2-3 minutes.
    Good Luck Pal

    Edit
    this is more of a personal preference. But I normally shoot b/n 5.6-11. I'd recommend for your to shoot the same way. If mommy and daddy will hold the kid by the arms and start swinging him (away-to-away-to the camera) , shooting wider might give you out of focus image. Therefore shots as such, I rather spend few more minutes in pp. Also remember that sharpest apertures are about 2-3 stops down from widest ;) but again, its my preference
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  3. Dayna Pollard

    Dayna Pollard TPF Noob!

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    I always find that you need to get the typical family portrait that everyone likes. I do those just to keep people happy but I find my best pictures come from natural interaction, people just being themselves. When it comes to shooting children I believe this is the best approach. You'll find that when you are trying to get children to pose, they do the exact opposite. Especially when the parents are their adding stress to the situation and forcing them to smile. I would get your traditional poses for grandma and grandpa then have fun. I also make people do corny things and the good shots come from the laugher in between or after they do something corny, not the actual corny pose (hope that makes sense). Take a peek at my blog and website. Hope this helps!

    dkpphotography.blogspot.com
    daynapollardphotography.com
     
  4. kkamin

    kkamin TPF Noob!

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    I think if you do too all candid work you run the risk of taking snap shots the entire time or doing something the client might feel they could have done if you don't have the experience with that style of shooting. I do think super formal family portraits can be manufactured looking but I would take a few as a safety. I would come up with some strong visions for your other shots that vary in aesthetic and mood. And then figure out what you need to do to get the shots.
     

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