Here’s a few samples from another family shoot I just did, of a friend (an ex student) and his family:
Fall is a great time for these portraits—in spite of the cold.
A few notes on a shoot like this:
- Lit by two Bowens studio flashes, powered by a big battery. No modifiers: it was windy and the umbrellas would have pulled the lights to the ground quickly.
- I pointed the group away from the sun; else, they would have squinted.
- I used the 85mm f/1.2 lens, set to f/8-11.
- Avoid too much direct sunlioght on the subjects.
- But do use that sunlight – as the “shampooey goodness” light (a.k.a. the hairlight).
- You can do this without flash, of course. But I prefer the brighter subjects and the saturated colours. Matter of style!
To see what I mean: this is with flash:
…and this is without:
I encourage you all to have family portraits done. Because they last, and it’s the only time travel we do. You’ll be delighted later to have them, and the extra few hundred dollars are a small price compared to that.
I taught a special flash workshop over the past two days, at Sheridan College. Seven students, great crowd.
Here, a few images:
Next, a one flash portrait. Yes, you can do some great stuff using just one flash. The flash was fitted with a Honl Photo grid – without that, it could not have worked. Fired by pocketwizards. This student looks like Queen Nefertiti, we decided:
Funny, aunt and niece, who, contrary to what you might think looking at this image, both have a great sense of humour:
And finally, me, by one of the students. A standard four light portrait:
About this portrait:
- It uses a key light, a fill light two stops darker, a hair light, and a background light. Four flashes.
- Key and fill were strobes; the others were speedlights.
- They were all fired by pocketwizards.
- The background was light grey. That makes it difficult, to add colour to it, so we used a considerable distance between me and the background. (The background needs to be dark before you can add colour to it).
And finally the easiest shot. Now I warn you, the sample below was shot from the back of my camera with my iPhone, and then further mangled by Facebook, so do not look at the quality. Look at the idea instead.
So simple. One flash, located behind the subject, aimed at the backround. And a part Harvey Weinstein lookalike in the foreground.
This, a couple of samples from a family shoot I just did, is why you probably want to hire a photographer for a family shoot rather than using an iPhone to just snap away:
Those are pretty much straight from the camera. So what does that take? Well, experience, insight, plus:
- A large battery-powered flash fired into an umbrella.
- A couple of pocketwizard radio triggers.
- Set your shutter to 1/250 sec, ISO to 100.
- Start at f/8 and be ready to change the aperture to set the background 1-2 stops below nominal (f/11 in this case).
- Turn the subjects away from the sun.
- Position them right.
- Shoot at just the right moment.
Simple once you know. And if you don’t know, I have two pieces of advice: One, learn (I teach, and I write books!) and two, start by hiring a pro.
Photographer. Not just anyone with a camera.
For this, for instance, taken during a recent baby shower…:
…you need this…:
…and a lot of time. Just loading and unloading all that gear and setting up takes an hour or more.
And that is why photographers charge a fee for their work, and that fee covers all that work plus the post processing. Your nephew with a camera can click, but he can’t give you the quality images that you get when you do it properly.
Even when using an iPhone, you need to know stuff in order to take the best photos.
Like this one here (click to see it large):
Here’s Five Tips for this type of iPhone photo.
- Focus, if needed, by tapping the screen on the object you want to focus on.
- Adjust exposure as needed by dragging up or down on the screen at that point.
- For a macro shot like this, actually back off a little and crop the photo later. This is a key point.
- And most importantly, add plenty of light. This needs to be non-direct light. I prefer outside, but out of direct sunlight.
- Finally, adjust your crop and white balance, and anything else needed, afterward, by clicking on EDIT.
Want to shoot like a pro? Scroll to the previous post to read about the one-week-only Spring Madness Discounts!