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Tips for taking a family (2 adults + 1yo) portraits?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by eyeguy, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. eyeguy

    eyeguy Mu-43 Regular

    80
    Feb 26, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    So I've had my EPL2 for about 5 years.
    In my arsenal now is a EM10ii and the oly 45/1.8 and panny 20/1.7. I don't really have much other accessory equipment, such as an off camera flash or something to bounce light (forget what they're called).

    I usually take candid photos @ the family events and do some street photography. My brother asked me to take pics of his family (2 adults and their 1 year old) at the tomorrow. We plan on just going to the park by their house and taking some photos, so it is low risk. If the pictures suck I can just come by again next week. That said, I'd like to make the most of this opportunity to expand my photog skills and I'd like at least a a few good pics that is canvas quality.

    Any tips/tricks? Sunrise is at 5:43am and sets at 8:45pm, and it'll be sunny/hot all day. Unfortunately I am unavailable in the evening for golden hour.
     
  2. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Veteran

    389
    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Simon
    You will need some shade, and take in the whole scene - make sure your background is free of distracting elements.

    Use the 20mm for group shots and the 45mm for individual shots. Don't just shoot at maximum aperture, you'll regret it if all your decent shots are soft when you get back home.

    Light is going to be difficult to balance without a flash - you can try using the onboard flash to fill in the shadows under the eyes, and use flash compensation to get the balance as you want it. Because it is a small light source, this may not be very effective.

    Spend tonight looking at group shots so you know what poses you want to catch tomorrow. Be prepared - good portraits rarely happen on their own.

    Pay attention to where limbs are in the frame - don't cut them off at the joints.

    Frame so you can crop later.

    Shoot raw so you have maximum flexibility for post.

    Be confident and take charge - you will have more success if you exude confidence and knowledge.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    First try to make them feel comfortable, this may also mean not taking the whole thing too seriously:




    You may not need to strictly pose them but notice if the arms or the pose are "wrong" and fix it. Decide a few shots: standing group, sitting group, mom and baby looking at you, mom and baby playing, mom and dad, each alone, etc. The same shot with the two different lenses will look different. Take many shots for each, like 10 or 20 (closed eyes, weird expression, etc.).

    Outdoor light comes mostly from above and cast shadows over the eyes. As already said, find some shade, it may be a roof a canopy or tree branches. This does not mean a dark place, just cutting part of the light that you do not like. Notice where the light comes from, turn them around, etc.



    Find a nice background. To have a nice blur you need a distant one.

    You are in daylight, with fast lenses, I would not bother with flash assuming you did not used it much before. And with the on-camera flash is not easy to get good results anyway. I'd stick to what you are used to.
    For group shots stop down the lens a little (2.8-4), especially the 45, otherwise you won't get all of them in focus. Check that you are using at least 1/100s, 1/200s if you want to be safe (should be easy to get it outdoor, just go to ISO 400 or 800 as needed).

    For a small child you may need something to capture his/her attention, like a squeaky toy making some sound.

    Use the shadows & highlights mode to check for highlights clipping in the skin/bright dress and fix it with exposure compensation.

    I've never used it but face and eyes detect AF may be useful here. Otherwise use the small box and place it where you want (usually the closest eye) or at least double check what the camera is focusing on.

    If you do not shoot RAW set the WB correctly (sun, cloudy, shade) or just use AWB as outdoor usually works very well.
     
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  4. eyeguy

    eyeguy Mu-43 Regular

    80
    Feb 26, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    Thank you both for the advice!

    I typically exclusively shoot jpeg and do post in lightroom. I'll do jpeg+raw tomorrow just in case I need to "save" an image.

    I'm at work, so will try to watch the videos tonight.
     
  5. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Veteran

    389
    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Simon
    How did it go?
     
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  6. eyeguy

    eyeguy Mu-43 Regular

    80
    Feb 26, 2011
    Bay Area, California
    It went okay. Definitely took me out of my comfort zone. We went to the park and my personal goal was to get 3 good unique shots of the baby alone, and about 3 of the family, 1 of mom and baby, 1 of dad and baby.

    In the end I shot about 400 pics, culled that in to about 80 that I sent to the parents, but really only ~4 that I'm really happy with. We took the photos of the baby alone initially, and that went well. There were a couple shots that would have turned out really well but was ruined by a poorly placed blade of grass (taking low angle shots). Pretty much after we left the first scene, the baby was getting fussy so there were a lot of photos where she was crying or grabbing mom's hair.

    Next time:
    -More homework on location and poses
    -Prioritize what poses I want, and take those first (as the baby may not cooperate later in the day)
    -Consider white balance card, light reflector, polarizing filter
     
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