Family portraits - Hot July days


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Aug 3, 2012
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Mustang Oklahoma
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My Mom was wanting pictures of the grandkids with her and my Dad this weekend. It was hot and early afternoon so the background was a little hot, luckily they have plenty of trees for shade. Here are a couple that I took while getting set up, this is my brother and his daughter.

1) She loves her Daddy.

Lane July 2013-4.jpg by Ron_Lane, on Flickr

2) Dad having some fun with his daughter.

Lane July 2013-5.jpg by Ron_Lane, on Flickr

Things that I notice about them is the pose in #1, she needs to be up a little more instead of behind him. On #2, there is some harsh lighting on her face that needed to be diffused. Because of that harsh light, I was using my 5 in 1 diffuser placed overhead and using a fill flash from camera right. The sun was coming in from camera left.
maybe lose the goofy sunglasses? Just a black hole in his face!
Yeah, I know what you mean. I didn't even think to tell him to take them off, as we were just setting up and getting settings right. I really didn't think that any of them would turn out good. At least these two the reflections in the glasses weren't too bad. The others needed some PS help.
I like 'em, but it depends on what you're going for.

These tell me "this is my bro and his kid" and that's awesome. There's no better way to put that into a picture. It's not likely to be High Art, but you've done a nice job with that. No matter how good or bad they are technically, they're always going to feel "snapshot" because that's the essence of a snapshot, it's intensely personal and largely meaningless to people outside the group, to strangers like us.

If you want a flattering portrait of your brother and his daughter, that's a different kettle of fish. Get rid of the glasses, maybe even the hat, manage the lighting better, etc etc. TPF has plenty of threads with plenty of links on how to do that. That would also be awesome, who doesn't like a flattering portrait of himself or a family member? Different picture, though.

It might be possible to combine the intensely personal flavor with "flattering portrait" or "high art" ambitions, but if it's even possible it's exceedingly hard.
Thanks Andrew. These were just "snapshots" and I knew that going in. I was using these to get the lighting better for the ones my Mom wanted of the grandkids and her and dad.

I didn't think that these would turn out good at all and was pleasantly surprised that they were okay.

I would also agree that loosing the glasses and the hat would have helped his portrait, as would having shaved.

I know that a lot of my portraits are deeply personal to the ones that I am photographying and may not touch those on here, and that's fine. I am still at the stage that I post to see if my critic of my work is good and to see if someone picks up on something that I may have missed.

Again, I appreciate any and all comments that I receive and will continue to learn from them.
I see that I didn't quite make all of the point I was aiming for, actually!

The deal with the formal portrait, and the high art, and all the other things that are NOT these pictures is that they lose something of your brother. Even when superbly done, they are an idealized and abstracted representation of your brother. They can be very nice, and frankly everyone loves to be idealized, right? But, as they become more appealing to me, a stranger, I think they tend to become less authentic and less valuable to you and your family. In the long run, the picture with the peace sign is more likely to stay on the mantel than a studio portrait, isn't it?

All that said, studio portraits are pretty fun for everyone, and present some nice challenges, things to learn and so on.
I think I see what you are saying now. You are saying this is who he is and how he is and to change that would give a false sense of who he was. I read that in your first post and took that as a compliment. I guess, however, that I am still just looking for all those things that are wrong and that I need to learn.

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