Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is doing great! The holidays are coming up and its a really good time to get your camera out with all the lights and festive activities. But today I want to talk about taking family portraits. This is the time of year that I like to take family portraits. Everyone is home and its one of the few times a year when you can get everyone together. I have a wall in my house that has all of the family in 8X10 headshots that I update every so often. And they are due! My grandchildren are growing like weeds and other members of the family are aging gracefully. I had to get PC for a second! LOL We're just getting old. Its a great time to take photo's of the older people in your family because you never know when the portrait might be the last one. Taking the portraits and making prints from them are essential. That way the people that are important to you will live forever not just on a hard drive somewhere. As all of you know I am a big supporter of printing although I don't do enough myself and need to get on the ball. I do make a End of Year book each year and have my best photo's from the year in it. Thats one way I try to have prints of my photo's although I do need to print my best larger than what's in the book. Well let's talk about portraits.
Making portraits can be as simple as using your cell phone or a point and shoot both can be good options but if your printing larger photo's this might not be the best option. Of course the photographer in us wants us to break out the gear and really do it right. If you're like me you have practiced on your family so much that they are really tired of having their photo taken and its a struggle to get them in front of the camera especially if you shoot in a style that they don't like. I am a more traditionalist and like to shoot head shots and small groups. But the newer run and gun photographers now a days want to be outside and shoot by a tree or a bush and try to make it look natural like a Instagram photo. Those are nice but when I think of family photo portraits I'm more into the head shot and I like to use my lights and all of the equipment. But sometimes this can be overwhelming for your family so I try to keep it as simple as possible. I try to use umbrellas instead of soft boxes that and I shoot in TTL instead of manual like I like to shoot in. I used to set up a back drop , reflectors and all kinds of stuff which is fun for me but in a small house like I have and when you have a house full of people its not as fun to everyone else.
This time of the year we tend to have our house decorated maybe with fall colors or even Christmas decorations if you wait until Christmas to do your portraits. These decorations can be a great backdrop to family shots especially if you can blur them out a little to make them less busy. I have to hold my wife back every year not to put up the Christmas tree after Halloween. I personally don't think it should go up until after Thanksgiving. But that's me. What ever your family does is fine. I use shoot through umbrellas to soften up the light . For Single portraits I use one as my main and one as a fill light an for groups I have one on ether side of the group at a 45 degree angle and try to make the light as even as possible. Be creative as possible and try not to take a lot of the same photo's over and over again your subjects will get board. Try to make it as fun as you can after you've got your keeper. Have them make silly faces! Have fun! If you're doing the shooting at Thanksgiving make sure to make Christmas Card shots. And don't forget the group shot of the whole family. Set up your tripod and put a self timer on for 10 seconds get everyone grouped together and do some regular ones and some silly ones to make everyone laugh. Sometimes those are the best ones. Have fun and make memories!
So until next week get that camera out and start shooting! Lots of things happening in your community to shoot during the holidays.