Monday, November 7, 2011

How I Got The Shot #25 - Environmental Family Portraits

It's always a good time to get family portraits, and if you've been following along with the BLOG here for any amount of time, you'll know that I favor the environmental portrait.  I love them because, for me, it gives the images more context and allows for the viewer to have more of a vested interest in the subjects.

For this family shoot, the Shamblin's, a family of 5, wanted a nice location shoot at the Creekside park in Gahanna, OH.  This is a relatively newly renovated area that has fountains, bridges, great architectural designs...and well...just a lot of great backdrops for portraits.  I've used this location before for some fashion and commercial work before, so I was very familiar.

Check out the details after the break...
Creative Process:
The family wanted to have some updated portraits.  It had been a long time since they had one and with their newest addition to the family not even being a year old yet, the time seemed right.   Shooting outdoors can be tricky because you don't always know what kind of lighting you are going to get.

For this day, it was cold and overcast.  The overall lighting was great, but the shadow areas could use a little punch and I like catch lights in the employed a very low power on axis fill light.

Another thing - kids.
Kids can be tricky, especially at a younger age.   They are high energy, can be temper mental and are usually easily distracted.  This can make for a lot of challenges during the shoot, but if you have a plan in place, then you can overcome a lot of this obstacles.
First - get an assistant if you can.   The assistant not only helps you with the gear, but can also help you occupy the attentions of the kids.  Especially if you have a shy child, they will need to start trusting you.  A very kid friendly assistant can help open up a shy child and show them that a photo shoot can be fun.
Second - toys or other things that can get/keep a kids attention.  This is not always needed, but some kind of familiar or kid friendly toy can help keep kids attention where it needs to be, which is in the direction of the camera.

Creekside park, Gahanna, Ohio.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
Nikon SB-600 - (on axis fill) - diffused

EXIF Info:
Shot in aperture priority mode
Camera quality setting - RAW
Specific camera settings changed per image, so that info will be placed in the image captions.

Lighting Setup:
On speed light, on camera as a fill to lift the shadows and add a subtle catchlight.

Here are some of the portraits from that day - the last one being my personal favorite.

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