« Steve Jobs does the right thing | Main | Video Podcast #10 Show Notes »

Podcast #40 Show Notes

Shooting Your Family

- Avoid busy backgrounds -- don’t pose everyone on the front porch or in front of the house. Think about what the subject is ... the house or the people?

- Shoot wide open (Low f stops)

- The “sun behind you” rule. Not good. Subjects will have the sun in their eyes. Shoot with the sun off to the side a bit, use a reflector if necessary to fill the other side of the person with fill light.

- Try shooting in the shade.

- Use a fill flash if necessary in the shade.

- Shoot at eye level for kids or even below eye level.

- Another option is to shoot from up high to eliminate the background completely.
With kids and pets, shot A LOT ... Keep shooting. The best shot may not be the shot you are trying to get.

- Postprocessing. I like to add a little bump to the saturation in family photos, it really brings out the greens in the trees and plants, the blues in the sky and tends to deepen skin tones a bit, especially in fair skinned subjects .... post processing family portraits is a matter of personal preference ... play around with the settings in your image editing software and see what happens. Remember that if you are using a destructive workflow tool like photoshop be sure to work on a copy of your image, never edit the original.

Examples: (click thumbnails to see larger versions)

This is an example of shooting alot to get the perfect moment. Again, the shallow depth of field allows the background to be visible without being overpowering.

A typical family portrait, the kid and grandparents. The shot was taken from a low angle to give it a dramatic look, again the shallow DOF allows the background to add to the photo without taking your attention away from the real subjects. Notice also that the shade of the trees makes for very nice diffused light seems to deepen the colors a bit. A wide aperture is needed for shade shots ... but as I explained, you should be shooting wide open, or very near it anyways to keep the background out of focus.

This is a cute shot of the kids, the low angle works well, but I’m not happy with the concrete steps in the background. Having the kids move onto the grass would have made for a better shot ... but this was another one of those spontaneous moments where the magic just happened while I was shooting. ... so, it’s a keeper.
Here we have another example of what happens when you shoot a few hundred shots ... Sure, you could plan a shot like this, but who thinks of such things. Spontaneous moments are sometimes the greatest.

In front of tree ... tree is in focus, not good. Kids are in harsh sunlight, boy has his eyes closed as a result.


Dear Allen

I have come to your podcast digging around and I have found it to be very interesting and very profesionally edited. My congratulations.

I have just got and EOS 1DS MarkII out of a friend of mine that has got the Mark III. I was coming from the 350XT and it is a big step forward.

As I enjoy a lot your podcast on my way to work in my car I thought that dropping you some lines was the least thing I coud do.

I want to send you the idea of a podcast about flash photograpy. I have a Canon Speedlite 580EX and the user's manual is not very good from my point of view.

I edit the pictures in my Mac with Aperture and I find it to be a good piece of sotware. Have you give it a try?

I live in a little town by the sea near Barcelona in Spain and now you have a friend there.

Keep up shooting and with the great job you are doing!

best regards
[email protected]

Post a comment

(All comments must be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. If you are a spammer, please do not waste your time or mine, your comments will not show up on the site.)