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Old October 3rd, 2012, 02:52 PM
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Gems Gems is offline
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Family portrait for friends

My friend asked me today if I could take some photos of her family.

Well, instant panic set in, as I have never done anything like this before. I've only ever taken photos for the fun of it, and have never HAD TO get it right.

What settings do I use to make sure I get all four (2 adults, 2 children) in focus? How many photos should I take? Should I ask them to co-ordinate their clothing, or let them wear whatever they feel comfortable in?

Anything I should not do?

Seem like silly questions? If so, sorry, but I've said yes, and I am so worried to disappoint them!!!
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Old October 4th, 2012, 08:12 AM
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Re: Family portrait for friends

Firstly, if you're someone that has had your camera for sometime and didn't just pick it up yesterday don't stress it. I know it is easier said than done, but realize this. You STILL know how to operate your camera regardless if the pictures are for you or someone else. Secondly, this person is a friend and I'm assuming like 99% of other situations that we ALL have had she too will be patient and understanding if you need to take a second here and there to plot out things. Remember they asked you so you already know that they like your work.

Now for actual suggestions. If the session is to be done outside try to find somewhere with enough even light across a large enough area. A family of 4 once moved around and positioned can take up a lot of space and you don't want everyone exposed properly, but mom has the shadow of a tree limb right on her face. Speaking of lighting remember to schedule when the light is good (if outside). High noon can be a good light for a particular look, but not very flattering for this genre.

Now for camera settings. Kids move FAST so I would suggest trying to stay 200-250 and above for your shutter. If you are layering the family members that is in having multiple rows (kids in front of parents, etc) close down your aperture. With your standard portrait depth of field (ie: F 4-5.6) you might have the kids eyes tact sharp, but the parents behind them are right where the focus begins to drop off.

I am not sure how you are looking for flash equipment, but even just equipped with yourself and camera you can do wonderfully. Look for direction of light and use other sources for fill or key light such as the sun or near by window.

Most of all breath and have fun with it. You and the family will enjoy it much more if you are enjoying yourself and thus making it fun for them.
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Old October 4th, 2012, 12:16 PM
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jenfadder jenfadder is offline
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Re: Family portrait for friends

Jesse has some great tips for you!
Let them know not to wear anything with logos, I usually have people stick to solid complimentary colors that are all in the same feel/style.
Find a cool spot and go in the evening, the most important thing is to have fun and goof off with them! The best shots are when the people are having fun and relaxed
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Old October 4th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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Re: Family portrait for friends

I almost forgot. Ask them to stay away from white and black clothing. Either of the two makes it difficult to expose the image properly while keeping detail within the clothing especially during harsh afternoon light.
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Old October 4th, 2012, 06:38 PM
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Gems Gems is offline
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Re: Family portrait for friends

Thank you so much for your advice.

I actually thought about going in the morning. I went there at around 11am today and the light against one of the barns was awesome, but I guess they'd have the light in their eyes. Hmmm, so I guess evening it'll be.

Never even thought about the black or white clothing. The 'no logos' is definitely a must.

To find a cool spot in the evening won't be a problem. It's getting pretty chilly here in the evenings.
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Old October 4th, 2012, 10:01 PM
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Re: Family portrait for friends

I agree that evening light is the best. Personally, I prefer to try and shoot in as much shade as possible so that I'm not blinding my subjects or fighting with harsh light. When I do shoot in direct sunlight, I prefer to use it to back light them so that they are able to open their eyes, but then you do usually need to use flash to keep them from being shadowed on their faces. Most of all, remember to have fun, try new things, and keep in mind that they asked you because they trust your judgement and enjoy your work.
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Old October 5th, 2012, 10:17 AM
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Gems Gems is offline
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Recent Photo: Wood Frog
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Re: Family portrait for friends

The thought of not being able to use my 'chosen' side of the barn is sad, but I totally get that I don't want my friends squinting in the sun. Thankfully there are a couple more locations I can use (other sides of barn ).

I won't have a lot of time to shoot (1/2 hour was mentioned by friend), as they are moving/building, so I hope I get something good for them, without being rushed too much.

Oh, and my friend asked me what I want for payment. I have no clue!? I won't be printing images, but put them on a disk instead. So, do I charge at all, or just charge for fuel (it's about an 80km round trip; done twice due to looking at location)? How do I do this with a friend?
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“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” - Dr. Denis Waitley
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Old October 5th, 2012, 11:36 AM
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Re: Family portrait for friends

Sabine,
Is she a close friend? if so I would just let her pay your gas and take you to dinner.
You can do pictures at anytime, the evening light is just the nicest for portraits If you go early you can try to keep them in open shade and use the sun for back lighting on some.
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  #9    Top
Old October 5th, 2012, 09:59 PM
Gems's Avatar
Gems Gems is offline
The One and Only
Recent Photo: Wood Frog
Photograph of the Month Winner: This award is given to the photographer who wins a Photograph of the Month Contest. - Issue reasonPhotograph of the Month Winner: This award is given to the photographer who wins a Photograph of the Month Contest. - Issue reasonPhotograph of the Month Winner: This award is given to the photographer who wins a Photograph of the Month Contest. - Issue reasonContributor Award: This award is given to those who contribute either an article for the resources section, or contribute to the community in another exemplary way. - Issue reasonSilver Commitment Award: This award is given to those who have shown great community dedication & commitment and have over 2,000 posts. - Issue reason
Re: Family portrait for friends

They are fairly new friends, that we see every so often. I think I'll just ask for gas money. I've never done this before, and don't even know if I will be able to deliver what they have in mind. I hate pressure. I guess that's why I would never consider doing this as a job (not that I'm good enough anyway).

Thanks again for all your advice.
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www.northernexpanse.com
www.fb.com/Northernexpanse.Photography


“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” - Dr. Denis Waitley
  #10    Top
Old October 9th, 2012, 07:57 PM
Clunix Clunix is offline
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Re: Family portrait for friends

Hi.
I'm kinda new to the forum but I think this will help!

http://digital-photography-school.co...oups-of-people

http://digital-photography-school.co...mily-portraits

http://digital-photography-school.co...-dos-and-donts

http://digital-photography-school.co...-portaits-tips
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