photographing family


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Jul 19, 2007
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jacksonville, fl
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My mom is very insistant about me doing photos of her and my father this weekend, & I'm not sure what to do. This is a lady not even six months ago who said I'd never be a photographer, I had no schooling ect. Now everytime I turn around she wants pictures of this or that.

My mom & dad always look uncomfortable in pictures. I have no idea where to photograph them or poses. I am having a creative block I guess.

Help :( any suggestions?
Family is always hard to shoot. Especially if the are really critical. My best suggestion is that if they are always akward when getting photographed, don't have them look at the camera. Catch them in a natural environment and don't pose them. My in-laws and my parents are hard to get pictures of, like your parents they just don't seem at ease in front of a camera. So make it easy on yourself and take the picture when they are laughing or talking... The pictures most of the time turn out better than when you have them pose for the camera.
I'm going to have to agree with Bully... I would shy against posing them... The best pictures I have ever taken.. have been pictures where the people don't even know I am taking one in the first place.

I took pictures this couple and their child once... the best pictures to turn out.. were the ones I steps back, using a 300mm lens.. while they stood at a far distanced, just acting normal.

Sometime posed pictures can look cliche.. they work if you have a nice setting.. such as a huge garden, and natural surrounding... but i wouldn't pose in front of a fire place. If they are more comfortable posing, and maybe thats what they want.. venture out with you parents, go somewhere, and maybe then you mom will understand your passion for photography, and that you can go somewhere
I agree on both of the previous posts. I have had to shoot my entire family before and one of the problems is that you're too close to them emotionally usually. before I go into long drawn out speaches on how we can read each others minds and peoples past and all that, I have a trick or two (although the candids is the BEST way to do it)

Set up using a tripod and use your standard methods of posing (whatever that is). I then will focus them then simply get out from behind the camera to have conversation and all the while, I am hitting that shutter button. Sometimes the anticipation of; "are they taking the photo now... no now....... NOW?!?"; will drive them crazy. Sneaking up on them can sometimes work better.

My mother takes horrible photos when she knows they're being taken... but, I can get a natural smile using this method.

these are all helpful, but lucky for me, they just found out the high for this weekend && i got out of doing it :lmao: My mother said, maybe 20 pounds lighter & 20 degree's higher. then maybe. go me:mrgreen:
+1 on the don;t pose thing. Long lens, stand back and circle their wagon click click click when they are standing around or sitting around or whatever. If they can;t wrap their arms around that one [like my extended family] tell them to go hither and look over thar. Click without warning, and click a lot. Then disappear to a back room with your laptop to see whatcha got [no one else comes back with you]. THen sneak back out and click away again...

My camera is like my credit card - never leave home without it... So they are getting used to seeing me walking around with my camera clickity click click and they get some good shots now.
Well I'm happy to hear that she gave you an out, for now. Best thing to do is just practice taking pictures with people just sitting around and talking, laughing or whatever. The more you take the better they get.
Get them stoned.

Ok, seriously...I agree with everyone so far pretty much. My best shots of family have some out when I was sneaking around and didn't let them know it was happening.
I agree... surprise is the best way, except with family... boy do they get pissed if they found out you took a picture and they didn't know / weren't ready. As you can imagine, I avoid that like the plague.

Now my wife and kids are a totally different story... what a blast!
My parents were like that. They would automatically "hit that pose" as soon as I lifted the camera.

After about 300 pics over the last couple months, they don't even look at me anymore and I can snap away to my heart's content. I use the excuse of practicing or testing a setting out on the camera or flash. I can do it at will now with near any family member and get great candid looking shots all the time.

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