Family Portrait...what's wrong with it?

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by Sharkbait, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. vonnagy

    vonnagy have kiwi, will travel...

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    hey shark, i'd agree with what folks are saying here about the lens, lighting etc.

    This is just being ultra nitpicky but i don't know if anyone has picked this out yet:
    One thing that I would change is the throw on the sofa, or changing the clothing so they don't blend in the background.

    For portraits, its easy to forget that apparrel plays an important part. You, your wife and mother (?) and are wearing reasonable bright coloured clothes but your dad is a bit drab in this setting. That and the fact that his vest blends in the blanket on the sofa, he gets a bit lost there. If your dad is opposed to wearing bright colours, try another background.

    thats just my 5 cents (we don't have pennies here in nz ;))

    Will say that you and your wife look stunning here, the foreground looks fantastic, and the colours in the foreground colours look especially vibrant. Good stuff matie!


     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Nice composition. As has been mentioned, a longer focal length will help compress the distance between front and rear rows; I think that an image where everyone looks the same size would look better. Although remember this wide angle exageration; it can be used interestingly with children, pets, single subjects, etc...

    The folks in back are just edging out of the DOF; they need to look as sharp as the folks up front.

    Clothing coordination can make the whole thing come together. Darker toned clothing helps focus attention on the faces. Logos and writing can be very distracting.

    The couch and close background make the image look very casual. This isn't right or wrong, but if you want it to look more "professional" I think you have to hide the couch (background colored blanket over it), or sit on something else that doesn't show in the pic. Studio backgrounds are almost as far away from the subject as the camera is. Close backgrounds, particularly indoor walls, can look snapshotty; somehow you have to give more interest to the wall if it is going to be so close to the subjects.

    This lighting is great for color, and there are nice catchlights in everyone's eyes, but it's so diffuse that there are no shadows at all. This is where a black "reflector" (blanket, paper, post board, whatever as long as it's dark) might come in handy. Hold it up just off one side to keep light from reflecting back on that side, adding a little shadow, and a little drama.
     
  3. drlynn

    drlynn TPF Noob!

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    To add just a couple of things to everyone else's suggestions:

    1. I like to see everyone's clothes complement each other in a portrait. Contrasty colors make one person stand out, which is not usually the idea behind a group/family shot.

    2. In a group shot, it usually looks nice when every head is on a different level, horizontally and vertically. give everyone their own "space" in the shot instead of looking "stacked" in rows and columns.


    All in all, tho, a very nice shot.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    excellent advice
     
  5. Tammy

    Tammy TPF Noob!

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    Hope you don't mind if I jump in... I agree with Chase, I think I'd like to see the gentlemen in the back place his left hand on her left shoulder instead of her right. I'm also slightly distracted by the edge of the sofa on the right side - just seems to be crowding things a bit. Still a nice shot.
     

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