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Capturing Authentic Children Portraits

Lesson 14 of 20

Live Shoot: Photographing Siblings

Tamara Lackey

Capturing Authentic Children Portraits

Tamara Lackey

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Lesson Info

14. Live Shoot: Photographing Siblings

Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Photographing Siblings

Hi guys! Do you want to come out here real quick and say hello? Oh my gor-many, how cute are you guys? My name is Gwen. What's your name? Oh wait, you know what? Guess what? This? This is fake. It is? You can't actually, it's not fake fake, but if you climb on top of it, it'll probably all crash to the ground and it will not be cool, and you won't like it. And then you'll be like, I don't even know why I got on there. It doesn't work. So we're going to stay away from it. So, I wanna meet you guys real quick. We haven't actually met yet. All you had to do was pick out our clothes. That's all. What? All you did was pick out our clothes. That's it. That's it. I said this, this, and this. I will see you guys later. That's when I'll meet you. All right. So what are your names? Wait, she wants to go first. Adie. Audrey. (laughs) Her name is Adelaide. Your name is what? Adelaide. Allen? Adelaide! Adelaide. Adelaide. Okay, Adelaide. Adelaide is in gold top. Adel...

aide, gold. What's your name? Audrey. Audrey. Audrey, Audrey, Audrey. Audrey, scarf. I like gold. Audrey, scarf. What's your name over there? Gwen. Gwen? Gwen in the bow shirt. Gwen in the bow. Gwen in the bow, Adelaide in the gold, Audrey in the scarf. Mm-hmm. Got it. Okay. We're going to do a couple things. Before we even get started, I'm already thinking about several things. My first thought is, oh my goodness, you guys are so pretty and cute and awesome. Wait, let me say this how I want my daughters to hear it. You are smart and talented. You dress really well today, and you're beautiful. (giggles) Do you know that? Yeah. Yeah, you hear that all the time. Old news. Okay, so we've got that down. What? Look at my eyelashes. She said look at my eyelashes. Oh, look at my eyelashes (laughs)! Let me see this. Oh my gosh. Look at these. Wait, turn, so they can see it. Look at these eyelashes. They're awesome! Adelaide's eyelashes are the biggest eyelashes in our family. Oh my goodness. Do they ever call you Snuffaluffagus? (giggles) No. No. That would be weird to you, probably. Princess. What? Princess. Princess. (giggles) Yeah. I get that. You know what the second thing I'm thinking of, outside of the fact that you all are dressed beautifully together and you're so nice and cool and funny and beautiful? You know what else I'm thinking? What? I think we're going to have floppy hair syndrome. You all have awesome hair, but I have a feeling that we're going to be moving around a lot, and I'm going to want to see if we can't have a little brush or a comb, so that when your hair goes all in your face, I can't move it out quickly. Do you know what I mean? Mm-hmm. Do you mind if I push your hair back like that? Yeah. Is that okay? It's fine. Do you think we have a little comb or a brush of any sort? I am starting here, because I know from here on out, I'm not gonna wanna stop things. I'm going to start by looking at the details. What am I going to come up against? What kinda issues am I gonna have? You know what's weird? I don't normally do photographs and talk to an audience sitting there watching it. Do you guys have audiences in your house? Mm-mm, no way. No? It would be a little awkward, wouldn't it? Hi, oh, I'm not dressed yet. Great job, audience. All right. So we're going to get something so that before we even start, I can take care of any sort of strays and fly aways and all that sort of thing. I also will happily adjust hairstyles with permission of parents. If I feel like, okay, that's great. Let's mix things up and get another shot in a different way, we'll do that too. Do you think at some point I could take your hair down too? Audrey Scarf? Okay. Okay. Would that be okay if I took the hair down too? Yeah. Okay. So, yomp, yomp, get your eyelashes. Perfect. Here we go, here we go. Get your eyebrows. (giggles) Yep. Come here. Let me see. We know about your eyelashes. Yep. And your hair. So all we're doing is getting you guys started so that when we start taking photographs, I don't have to combat your hair everywhere. All right, have a seat. We're going to start out real easy. Every shoot I do, I start out really easy. Don't make this hard to begin with. Let's sit right here, though. Let's sit right here. Let's sit right here. Let's sit right here, let's sit right here, let's sit right here, let's sit right here! And all you're going to do is get really close together. There's nothing else you have to think about at all, other than getting really close together, okay? Okay. I'm gonna take this light, bring it up. It's heavy. And, as you're all flopping there, I'm gonna then think about posing in a second. But I'm not gonna do that yet, 'cause right now you're just floppy, right? Yeah. Okay. Let's see. When I am setting them up, I'll just tell you guys and you guys can listen in. When I'm setting you guys up, I'm thinking about a couple of things. One, you're not moving yet, right? It's a really still, simple shot. Since you're going to be right there, I'm just going to set my aperture to something like, I don't know, F three five? We're having issues again. We're going to switch to the V eight hundred. F three five, F four, something like that, and the joy of doing that is that I can get you guys in focus, and a shallow depth of field, but (snaps), if I photographed you guys in an F three two, right, or an F two eight or something like that, I might get you in focus but you soft, or I might get her in focus and you guys soft, and I want all of you guys to be in focus. Okay. Okay. So, I'm going to start there with like an F three five, an F three two, an F four, right? The second thing I'm thinking is, what's the lighting situation in this room? What do you guys think? It's pretty good. A lot of lights. Yeah, a lot of light. It's good light. So, I don't have to worry about going to like an ISO 8,000, right? You guys think maybe I start at like an ISO 800? I don't know. Does it feel like it could be right? Okay. I'm going to say yes. (audience laughs) I'm going to call this one. I'm going to say ISO 800. I'm gonna go with four. You want me to do ISO 400? Four. Four? I'll just turn the lights up? Or are you telling me you're four? I'm four. You're four (laughs). Okay. That settles it. I'm going to start at an F four. How old are you? Seven. Okay. I'm going to make sure at some point I'm shooting something at 1700th of a second. Which is not really one of my frame rates, but I'm gonna try it anyway. And then, lastly, shutter speed. Since you guys aren't moving much, I don't have to think about getting a really fast shutter speed, right? Mm-hmm. Right? Yeah. So, I can have kind of a neutral shutter speed just to fit the exposure that I want. The lighting that I wanna get in the camera. What if you turn the lights up? Turn the lights up? Sure. I can do that. It won't make you squint? It might. We're feeling good about this? It might make you squint? Well, let me try this. I'll take one shot right now, see how it looks, and then we'll determine from there if, then, we should turn the lights up or down. I love what you're doing right here. Just splay backwards. Just splay. Excellent. Okay, so let's see if the tethering is working fine, if I can see everything (chuckles), and how the lighting is. We're clearly not worried about posing right now. Yeah, wait, check, check, can you still see me? (clicks) Mm-hmm. Great. Let's see how that's looking as a starter shot. All right. It's sharp up there, yeah? Okay. So, we are starting with, hmm, I'm feeling good about things. I'm feeling good about things. I'm going to probably go ahead, because I think you guys are gonna move, I'm probably going to make myself have a faster shutter speed at maybe one five hundredth, and without having to change my ISO, I'm going to do what you said: turn up the lights. Turn up the lights! Turn them off! What? Turn them off. Turn them off? No! That's going to kill my photography! Watch! (mimics monster sound) How about I go like there? Does that feel good? No. Yeah. Okay, how about I'll go down a little bit if you don't like that? All right. There. That's better, right? Can we turn the lights off? It's too much? I'll make it easy. Watch. Say, can you move back, light? Tell the light. Say, move back! It listens to you. Look. Eh? Eh? Isn't that better. (girls laugh) Yes, it's so much better! It's completely different. Watch this. Completely different. Okay? Okay. All right. I'm going to work with you, miss on-the-left, in just a second-- Me? No, you're on the right to me! Can you put your thing back on? Here, I'll help you. I'll help you. I'll get it ready. She just took it off. (giggles) Okay, let's put it on. There. Now it's in really good shape. Okay. So now we're going to get you guys together. Ready? Scooch, scooch, scooch, scooch. We're going to do something really simple. Actually, you know what? No. Let's do this first. I already have like 18 ideas and they're just too many at once. Okay (grunts). Okay. Get the hair. Yep. She's already asleep. Great (laughs). Okay. And because you're sleeping this way, which is super, super cute, I just need to move you forward so the light hits you okay. Okay. (exhales noisily) Okay. (laughs) Wait, let me just shoot this real quick 'cause it's hilarious. (laughs) You see her face? (laughs along with girls) Oh, no, don't look at the monitor! Don't look at the monitor! I'll lose you forever! All right, jump back on. Jump back on. Okay, ready? What are you doing? What are you doing? (clicks) (squawks) All right. Ready? Let's go back on the couch (chuckles). (girls giggle) Oh no. Can we like sheet it or something? All right. I mentioned earlier that I try to never tether in the studio because it is really hard for people to not look at themselves, because they're amazing. So, I'm having to work a little extra harder to get some attention, but I'm worth it. I mean, they're worth it. Freudian. All right. You're here, you're here. I think you looked really good, snugly, over here. What are the chances that we have an extra pillow? If we don't, I think I can work on this one. (laughs) (girls giggle) Here we go. Let's have you lean up here. Ouch! Oh, did that hurt? It hurt to not have a pillow? Did it really? I need a pillow! You do? All right, you know what? I'm going to do this. Double pillow. Look. Watch this. Double pillow. Boom. Double pillow. Hey, give me the pillow! Okay. No, double pillow, you have to share it! Because then, later, guess what? What? Guess what's gonna happen? What? Did your parents tell you what's going to happen after this? I think you're getting a kitten. (laughs) It always works. Do you guys like kittens? Mm-mm, we're gonna get a dog. (snaps) You're getting a dog. How about a lamb? Mm-mm. A goat? Mm-mm. Oh my god, I so want a goat. For reals, I want a goat. I want a cat! A cat? Well that's what I just said! I think you should get a cat and a dog. Why just get one? That doesn't seem right. I'm going to take this off for just a second but it's not going to go anywhere. I'll keep it right here. My dad is allergic to cats. (gasps) Okay, that's just rude. (girls giggle) All right, can I tell you something, Adelaide? Mm-hmm. Ha ha! I would love it if you would take your booty and make it move you backwards. (chuckles) That's it! That's it! That's exactly what I was hoping you would do, and you did it so well! Oh my goodness, that's just gold. (hums a melody) 'Cause that was such a good shot. All right, jump yourself back there, lady. Let's try it again. Okay. Back to, okay, really? That's not where we left things (laughs). Go back over there. Just as you were doing. Just getting snugly and laying down. You, make your booty move it back. Yep. And then that's such a good shot! (gasps) Don't look at yourself! Don't do it! Don't do it! (laughs) Can I get a bed sheet over the monitor please? (girls giggle) All right. How about this? Let's jump on the thing. We did this once before. We're going to jump on the couch. Is that safe? We're all worried? No, we're not worried. Okay. I'm going to turn up the lights so I have a lot of light to work with, because that will let me turn up my shutter speed. I want a fastened shutter speed, and by doing this, by adding more light to the scene, I can have a faster shutter speed and not worry about having too dark of a shot, and all you guys have to do, guess what? Jump on the couch. But wait! But wait! I need to make sure my shutter speed is there. And, I can do a burst mode, because everybody loves a burst mode in a tether (laughs). And, I cannot worry about a thing, because the lighting is really sharp. Okay. Can I ask somebody there, can you turn the light up over there? Literally all you have to do is dial them. Dial 'em up, dial 'em up, dial 'em up. Okay, this is nice and bright. You guys feeling good about this? Whoa! Okay, you're not going to worry about that! We're only going to worry about the jumping. All right, we want to make sure we're tethered safe. Good. All right. I'm going to be at one twelve fiftieth, I'm going to be at F four five. I am shooting with a D five, which I can go up to like 25 million ISO, actually. I'm going to shoot it at ISO 4,000. I'm still not used to jumping on the couch! Okay, ready? All of you on your feet. Nobody's allowed to fall backwards. In fact, can I get a back person catcher? Would you go back behind the couch? If you see one of your humans tipping backwards, go ahead and catch them. All right. No stress, right? Okay. Wait, first of all, wait, jump out here for two seconds. Okay, you guys ready? Look at me. You ready for your job? (girls murmur) (clicks) Okay, what do you look like when you're ready for your job? (screams) (girls giggle) (laughs) (screams) (laughs) Brilliant! Brilliant. Okay. No, no, no! You cannot see! No! No, No! You cannot see it anymore. Okay, get there and we're going to start (laughs). (Adelaide laughs) I know! That's you. Yeah, that's hilarious. Get in! Get in! Don't fall. All right, you're in the shot. You're in the back. You're safety. You're in there. You go over here, and you know what, you want me to just show you what I want you to do? What? All right, come here, come here. Come here, come here. Ready? Don't fall. I want you here, and I just want you to go like this. Okay? All three of you, here, here, here. We get rid of the pillows. This is just an homage to doing this once before in CreativeLive. We're doing a new couch jump with much better lighting. Okay. Oh my gosh, you're ready ready. All right, you need to tuck down back there. You're in safety mode. Okay, and we're going to let everything in. Go! Go! Go! Go! Don't stare at the screen! (girls laugh) (laughs) Okay. Wait, wait, no! No, no, no! Give me your scarf. We're going to do one more without the scarf. Okay. Just for a second. Here, my wrist will hold your scarf. Okay. Get back in! Okay, I would like to state here once again, do not have a large monitor of the photographs you are taking because they are highly distracting. Okay. We're going to do it one more time. Yes, thank you so much whoever just did that. Okay, you ready? I know. Guess what's going to happen this time. You ready to hear it? What do you think I'm gonna say? (clicks) Nope, nope! Nope! Nope, nope! I'm going to say that it is time, (giggles) look at that face, to jump (laughs). It's filling up. Look, it just said full. All right. You guys ready? Yeah. Come here. Okay, go in the middle. We're going to do one more, and my goal here is to get you guys holding hands, not falling! (giggles) You got that good? Yeah. Ready? Not falling. It's not registering as FUL? Come in. (giggles) Okay, you can't fall backwards. You have to look at me the whole time, and you are not allowed to what? To fall backwards (giggles). Fall! Fall backward! As long as when you shoot, just try to hold that USB in and it'll be fine. Okay. What could go wrong, right? (laughs) Wait, wait! Not yet! One, two, okay, now is the time. Go! Drop your hands, drop your hands, drop your hands! Get that hand out of your mouth! Get that hand out of your mouth! Okay, good, good, good. (girls giggle) A natural ending to that! Very good. I literally do not have that picture on my camera. It is gone to the interwebs, and the interwebs see it. It's pretty cute though. Oh my god, so cute. All right. I will show it to you later, I promise. All right. We got some good action. You were amazing. Nobody fell. Win, win, win. We're going to switch to a different lens, and we're going to do one of you at at time, and the other two are going to help me. You've got real jobs. Okay. I wanna help! Okay. You're gonna help? Well one of you have to be actually photographed (laughs). I wanna help! Okay, helper! Helper! You be photographed, but then you help, okay? So your first job is you're just gonna be photographed, but then you're going to help. Ready? Yeah. And you're going to help twice as much, actually, to make up for this. So, look. I'm going to be you, and this is all you're going to do. See me? (girls giggle) (smacks seat) Come here. Watch me. Just do that. (smacks seat) What am I going to do? Well I'm going to show you what you're gonna do. You've got a good job. (mimics crunching noises) (laughs) (mimics crunching noises) Take a picture! Okay, now! All right. I need you to grab me that one-oh-five lens. Right in front of Casey. This? Yeah, just don't drop it. Okay. I know how to drop stuff and not drop stuff. You what? I know how to drop stuff and not drop stuff. Huh. Those are two really good skills to have. Just don't mix them up. What can I do? Well, what I want you to do is take this lens, without touching that front, and hand it back to Mr Muscles. That's what he wants you to call him. (giggles) Muscles! Casey's like, don't laugh that much! All right. So, you got everything out of your nose? Yeah? All right, put your legs back like I showed you. Yeah, like that! And I need you to help. Go over there and take her hair out of her eyes. Wait, you mean just like this? Oh, beautiful! And what you're noticing here is broad, simple lighting. We're just getting started. We're doing this. I'm not going to like (exhales noisily), I'm not going to make it harder on myself by shaping everything when all I want right now is this. Okay. Okay. Oh, this feels really nice. Yes. Okay (laughs). (clicks) I gotta get on verse mode. Is that transmitting okay? Everything is looking fine? Excellent. All right. We are like this. I love what you're holding there with your foot, so I'm going to back up a little bit to get it. I'm going to back up, okay? Tell her to lift her chin a little bit. Okay. Lift your chin! (laughs) Okay. Come back down just a hair. Come down like this just a little bit. Yes, yes. Actually, I'll just raise myself, 'cause if you're gonna stay here, I'll just go here. Yes! So beautiful! Are you comfortable? You are? (laughs) Okay, I need you to go over there and smooth her hair on top. Okay! Smooth it. Like, it's non-smoothie! See? See how it's sticking out up on top? Okay, where did you go to hairdressing school? She didn't! Oh, well, that makes a lot more sense. Okay. Oh that's beautiful. You did a wonderful job. I thought at first you weren't doing the best job ever, but now, clearly, I see that you were. Okay, tell me what's going on with her face right now. (laughs) What do we think is going on here? Hmm. Okay, this time, what you're going to do, is you're going to run in there, you're going to grab her hand away from her face and then she's going to try to put it back up again. And it's gonna happen really fast. (laughs) Put it back up! Put it back up! Come back, come back, come back, come back! You gotta earn that kitten! Or lamb. Or doggie. Oh, she did not like that (laughs). Okay, that's good though, that's her, that's her. I love this. You look so cool right now. You look amazing. I love this look so much. Uh-oh. Somebody just stepped in front of my camera. Okay, one more time just like this. Don't change anything. It's really cool. Oh my gosh, photo bomber. (laughs) You are photo bombing! (giggles) Get out of my shot! (giggles) Oh my gosh! (laughs) I see it. Okay. Wait, in one second, do you want to run in here and take over with helping? I'll go in! You do? I'll go in. No, no, not yet, not yet, not yet! One second! Okay, good. (sighs) Okay, what just happened there, that I love, is we got silly, we got active, we got crazy, and then she was like, well, she got mad. Why are you touching my hand? Why are you touching my face? I don't like that. And we got this awesome look, which is real, and then she went back to silly and beautiful and she's like golden right now. All right, can I play with her hair a little bit? Yeah. All right, good. Play with my hair! I'm going to play with your hair (laughs). Okay. What I want to do is, first of all, make sure my hands are ready. (giggles) You lean forward. I'm going to take this out. Okay. Gotta get it from over here. I have to take it out of your hair without pulling your hair. I once photographed a little girl and I started to take her hair out and she started crying, and so I had her mom do it so I wouldn't be in trouble, and her mom was like, thanks, now she's mad at me, and I'm like, but not mad at me! Okay. Let's see. Oh my goodness. (gasps) I love this! Where did our brush go? I wanna call it a fork, but that's the doppelganger or whatever. Huh? Found it! Ah, thank you. What was that thing called, that they used the fork on The Little Mermaid? Dinglehopper. Okay. So, let's use your dinglehopper. There we go, there we go, there we go. So what we have is what we call, in the business, a little frizz. Do we have a little water by any chance? Can you hand me the water? The reason I'm doing this now is because I don't want to worry about it later. I don't want to have to Photoshop out a bunch of little hairs. An image that you don't even think much about in a web-proof size becomes gi-gormously distracting when it's a 40 by 60 and there's hairs across the face. So, I will take a few seconds right now to make her fabulous. (giggles) And then that's the only thing I have to do, 'cause then I can come back here and actually take the photograph! Okay. So, anybody know where my camera, oh, there it is. Okay. So, with you, I'd love for you to go right on the edge of the couch. Nope, that's, okay actually, do that. Do that, do that, do that. Yep. Do that. Stay like this. Wait, where are the pillows? Where are the pillows? I need your help! (giggles) We need help. Yes! Yes! Oh my gosh, that's so helpful. Here we go. (mimics explosive sound effects) I actually want you here but just supported here. Yeah, because I'm gonna go really close in on your gorgeous face, okay? And then, I'm going to take this and I'm not going to worry about any other part of your body whatsoever, other than the fact I do need to shift the lighting this way so I don't have, and oh my god, that's light (laughs). That is so bright. I don't have unintentional shadows because the lights not facing a different direction than you are. Move it down a little bit. Great. Can you guys make sure that that's on there safely? You wanna make sure that that's on? Can I take a picture? Yeah, let me get one, then you take one. Sound good? Darling, come back to me. There we go. Yes. Very nice. Very pretty. Also intelligent and talented. (clicks) And I'm just gonna come over here, and you're just going to stay where you are, and we're just going to use that hair as a lead in and we're just gonna go where you're going. All I see are whites in your eyes! (giggles) Beautiful! Did you want to get one? Yeah. Okay. Go ahead, do whatever you want. Let me know when you're ready. It's clicking up here. Look through. (clicks) Excellent. It doesn't show anymore, though. We both know you took it. Okay. Can I take a picture? Yeah, you can take one. Can I step back and get the shot with a little bit of a different angle? Okay. So this is what we're going to do that's a little different, now, before you take the picture. I'm going to step back, and as she's right there, you're going to go run over and jump on her. Not yet though, not yet though (laughs). Not yet. One, wait, bring that hand in a little bit, the hand that's off the couch, yeah. Just give yourself a little gentle hug. Okay, ready? Wait, look at me. Are you ready for this to happen? You are? You're sure? All right. One, two, jump on her! Go get her! (laughs) There's no problem. Stay looking at me! Don't change your look at all! Okay, now we have the stylist on the scene. Beautiful! Beautiful! All right. Come on out. Everything going through okay? Yay! (girls exclaim simultaneously) Okay, wait, it's your turn! Okay, come back. Let's come over here, and you know what I thought was pretty cool? When you were sitting up here. But wait! But wait. Can we get a little catcher? Sure. All right. So, you're going to come up here. Look at me, look at me, look at me! Hi. (laughs) So you're here. Yeah? See, I'm doing this. I'm gonna probably do this without having you fall backwards. All right, so back up. Okay. All right. Now you say it to me. Say, look at me! Look at me. No, look at me! Look at me! Yes. So you're like that. Can you do this without sliding? Was this potentially not possible? You know what we need? (gasps) I need somebody's help! Me? Yeah. What? Come here. Come here. You sit right down there on your knees, and you're going to be the secret one. Nope, you're gonna be facing this way (laughs), and you're going to hold this pillow, but you're going to go down, like, tuck down like you're secret, yeah. Like it's a secret mission. Okay? And you're like this. Yep. I'm gonna fix this a little bit. Lick your lips (noisily licks lips). (noisily licks lips) Did you actually lick them at any point? Lick them first! Yes! Oh, looks like we have a stylist making things happen! All right. You're not allowed to fall. That would be breaking the rules. You're being held really beautifully. You have a catcher behind you. Some might say a dream catcher, another name for mom. And you are like that. Okay? Okay. And because I have adjusted you and you are out of the light frame where your sister was, I have to take a second. Oh my goodness, talk about sandbag. Man, what did you do, like 90 pound sandbags? (laughs) All right. We are here and everything's looking good. So, my goal with this shot is, first of all, to get your attention away from the lights, which seem to have transfixed you. Yeah. And then also, I'm going to shoot kind of a shallow depth of field and although this is not the final expression I'm going for, I kind of like it. And then tell your sister, the helper, that we are good for hair! We are good for hair. Say it! We are good for hair! Yes (laughs). Oh my gosh. Okay. You are not in the shot! Okay. You're taking your deep breath? Okay, go ahead and get it out. Want one more? Okay. Exactly as you are with changing nothing. Okay, you just changed everything (laughs). With changing nothing, have your knees point to them. To your audience. Like, point them more that way, like they're actually gonna stick towards, look. See, they're like, hey, hey audience. Your knees. Yep. Yes! That is exactly what I want you to do! And then shake your hair. Tell your stylist that you're good. I'm good! You're good! Okay, wait, wait, wait! That was so nice! That was so nice. All right. I like that very much. Did it come across? Okay. I'm going to come in, and I'm shooting blind. Untethered, really. (gasps) (laughs) Stay. Go like this with your hair. Yeah, good. Oh, oh. Oh. Everything here. I don't want to change a thing 'cause you are perfect! (laughs) Are you perfect? Okay, there's someone behind you. Don't look. Whatever you do, don't look behind you right now. Okay? Okay. Do not look behind you right now. Chin up a little bit. This is your chin. Okay. That's a lot a bit. Down. No, there's no one behind her. No, there's no one behind you, right? Right? Is there anyone behind you? Yes (laughs)? Oh my gosh, why did you go so low? Come up! Look, this is your chin. Watch me. Down. (laughs) That is it. Oh my gosh, it did it quick! Why did it lick? Ready? Come here. (mimics mechanical clicking) Turn towards me. (laughs) Turn towards me. (laughs) Chin up. Chin down just a little bit. Right down a little bit. Right there! Don't move! Don't move! Don't breathe! Don't look at anybody else! Don't fall over! Don't be who you're meant to be! Simply be there! Wow, how are you actually paying attention to me right now? My own kids don't listen to me this well! I'm really loving this moment! Okay, as I get closer, it's gonna get brighter. I need to keep adjusting. Good. So good. Such a good job. You wanna collapse now? Throw yourself on the couch. Throw. Very nice. (audience laughs) Okay! Do me again! Your turn again? Yeah! Well I was thinking we could try something new (laughs). I forgot you were back there. (laughs) Thank you! Should we get one of you and your girls? Sure! All right, let's try one. Can I just double check the, yeah, oh my god, so cute. So they were getting brighter and brighter. So one thing I want you to note, one of the things that absolutely happens to me, is I am so engaged with my subject and I'm moving closer and I'm moving closer and I'm having this exchange, but, as I'm moving closer in front of the lights, I'm letting more light into the shot, because now I'm getting closer and closer, whereas back there, you know, this could be well lit, but I'm actually changing the exposure. So, as I'm coming in, I'm noticing I'm not only getting a bit of an adjustment in light, but I am changing the exposure myself because I am making my aperture go shallower and shallower, which is the main issue in terms of it going brighter and brighter. I was transfixed with her and I'm getting shallower and shallower and the lights adjusting, and I need to pull myself out of that flow to say, are all my settings back to where I want them to be? Adjust quickly and then keep going. Every single professional I know who's doing a great job gets lost in their shots. They get lost in the posing, the expression, and everything they're doing, and you've got to step back and say, right. Let me double check everything, where I'm at right now, and adjust my settings so that I'm getting everything I'm seeing right now properly exposed. Do you look at your screen often, then? I actually hardly ever look at my screen, so this is not tough for me. But in this kind of situation, I'm actually looking more at my exposure reading, and I can call it pretty well at this point. But, because I can't even look at my screen at all right now, because I'm tethered, so I have no way of referencing that if I want, I can't see it here, I'm basically shooting film. There's no way to see what I'm doing. I just have to make sure my exposure is right, and so when I'm shooting and getting closer and I'm realizing, oh, I was caught in that flow where I'm just so transfixed by how ridiculously cute she is. I have to stop and shake myself up and look down and say, right. I need to adjust my exposure. It's too well lit right now. It's overexposing. I need to adjust on the spot and then keep going. A lot of people get kind of nervous about shooting film, but film is basically, you're just not looking at the back of the camera. You have all the opportunity to adjust your ISO on every shot, which is incredible, but just keeping that in mind. Okay. Take this picture! Okay. Who is ready? Do you guys just want to get a portrait like this? Why not? All right. Does anybody see anybody around here that they can talk to who has, what we call a brown hat? Does anybody know anybody who has a brown hat? Hmm. Mom. Me! Mama! Mama! I'm going to switch that in five seconds. Mama has a brown hat! Okay! Well let us throw the hat on whichever kid you want to throw it on. Me, me, me! Boom. All right. You come in there. We'll take turns. Magic hat. Come sit. (laughs) Okay. Well, it fits you right away. Okay, jump in. I just had to change my settings. I shoot everything in a manual mode, so I have to really, really quickly adjust my settings as I'm adjusting the shot, and if I want to get a shot right away, pull your hat on! It's falling off! Pull it on! If I want to get a shot like that, I've got to quickly look down, make sure that I'm exposed well, and get the shot I want to get. All right. So I'm going to shoot back here with the 24 70. Oh my god, I like that. I really like that shot. I'm going to be back here, and I'm going to change my settings. I'm gonna bring the lights in. I'm gonna make sure everyone is covered. I'm going to have to think about, first and foremost, what's the first thing I'm going to change now that we have four people in the shot? And I want them spread apart? You mean five people? Are we counting the hat? (giggles) Okay. Now that we have five people, four of whom are breathing, in the shot, what am I thinking that I have to change first, based on I was just now shooting one at a time? F stop. Aperture, yeah. I have to pretty quickly say, no, I can't shoot at a one eight or a two two or a two eight. I'm going to have to be back. I want them spread apart. I want a shot where a narrow aperture, or an extended field of focus, is what I'm going for, because I want everything in the shot. And I also have to interfere here for a second. Excuse me, can I wear the hat? Please? Can my camera wear the hat? No! Please? No! Can my feet wear the hat? No! Why do you keep saying no to me? (giggles) Can I please have the hat? No! What if I just took it and I really quickly put it on a website for purchase? Could I do that? No, no? It's yours forever? Me now! Okay, wait, this moved! Watch! Okay, very good. All right, let's try it this way. Throw me the hat, and I'll put it on the light so you can see it the whole time. Do me a favor and get really mad face. Okay. The hat will always be with us. You will never not see it, and the look you're giving me is perfect. I am going to quickly look at your face, and say your face is amazing, but your hair is crazy! So let me fix your hair. I'm gonna just do what I did last time. Just a few seconds now saves me a lot in post, and it's always worth it. (smacks hands) There we go! How's everybody else's hair look? Good? How do you feel? Sit up and let's check. You feel good? Are we staticky? A little bit. A little bit? (chuckles) Do you want to do the secret method? Sure. (laughs) All right, I'm over here. I'm over here. Oh gosh, you're keeping with the face. Let me make sure I get that, just 'cause you'd hate to walk out of here and not have that setup for you. Real quick, before I can do that, oh it keeps popping in. All right. Tell me if you got it. One, two, yep. Is that the face that you're going to go with? That's your final one? That's your final answer? Yep? (clicks) Beautiful. Okay, now put this on without messing up your hair. Probably gonna throw another card in real quick if someone can grab me one. All right. Beau-tiss-amiss. Okay, she's there. Wait, do you think we should all maybe lean on mommy? Let's just all lean on her. Should I scoot over maybe a little bit? Lean on her! Right like that. Yep. There. Good. We're going to go for the album shot later. Right here we're just gonna do this, and I'm going to think a couple things as I'm posing this group. First of all, oh my gosh! You guys came together so beautifully. I love it. We do have kind of a diamond shaped composition happening here, and I kind of prefer more of a different look where I don't have, this is what I'm seeing right here. Composition-ally, I love where you're leaning. I love where you're leaning. I love the sweetness. I love the togetherness. What I'm seeing here is this head's going directly on top and bottom here. They're completely lined up, and that's not really the look I want, so I can do one of two things. I can have mom, what do I call your mom? Mama? Just call her mama? Okay. Hope that's not weird. Mama, can you move that way, and, okay, we've completely lost this head. You can call her Katie. Katie? Mm-hmm. I don't know. What do you think she prefers with people she's just met? What would you think she goes with? Katie. Katie, all right. We're going to go with Katie, then. Oh no, this one's falling apart a little bit. Are you getting warm? Yeah? All right, come here. Let's take this off. I feel hot. I know. Let's take it off. Let's go. All righty? All right. Let's let it go. Let's not mess up the hair. Okay, how far do you want me throw this away? Do you wanna just throw it away? Just throw it. Throw it as far as you want. You want to throw yours? Throw it. Excellent. Keep throwing. Good. Great. Jump back in. All right. So, Katie, since you won't let me say Mom anymore, can you just be cognizant of when she pops up, and I'm sure she will, of ensuring that she's not directly underneath you? (giggles) All right. Take this. Take this. Take this. Very good. Hmm? Okay, great. Okay, I'm in good shape. What is happening with the face? (giggles) (clicks) Okay. How's it feel? Is it going? All right. I love this. Let me make a note about temperature. It's a little warm in here because we're all in here. It's a little bit of a warm feeling, especially if you're jumping around and running around here. I always try to keep my studio, when I'm shooting it, just a hint cool. It's the opposite of what you do for newborn photography. But because we're moving around an running around. This one, we're having a feels everything child. Come here real quick. Because, that's what happens. You transition into that when you're kind of done with something. Come here. Okay, this is what I need for you to do. Ready? Tell me. Look at your big sister. How is she doing? You kinda like that, don't you? It's cute. How about your little sister? Maybe tell her to get comfortable. Okay. (laughs) Okay. Where's she going? Go back! Go back! You're not in the picture! We have to earn the kitten and the puppy! I'm just giving away so many animals in the last two days. Kitten. Yep, get back in. I'm thinking a short gray hair. All right. I want a baby kitten! Yeah. See what I'm doing? I'm not only getting the shots I want, I am enabling you to rescue an animal. I'm doing that for you. Give you a stuffed animal (chuckles). A stuffed animal. Whatever. However you prefer your animals. Okay, so, you take one picture of them, and then, as soon as you take the picture, hand the camera back to me and then run in the shot. Can you do it? All right. Good. Something has just turned around by saying that. All right. So look at that. This is where you click the button. Ready? Normally I put this strap around your neck, but I do want you to run back in, so I'll hold it for you. (giggles) Oh no. This has gotten, let's see, you know what I think you have to do? Hold it halfway down, like this, look through it, and, let me see if I can help you focus a little bit. Okay. Nothing weird about this either. You know what? It's not you. Let me just set, oh, great. Good, good, good. Now go do the thing! Get in the shot, get in the shot, get in the shot! No, no, stay, stay! Run in the shot! Run, run, run! Just throw yourself in there. Just throw yourself in there! Nothing could possibly be wrong. (giggles) There! Okay, maybe not with the booty. Flip! Can you turn around? Flip! Okay (laughs). What's going on with your neck? Are you getting sleepy? Okay. So, I'm going to shoot this real quick, because I'm going to shot you something. Okay, I want to shoot this, because I want to show you, of all the children, who's into it right now? (chuckles) Is that what I think? Yeah, who's into this shot right now? We've got one super into it, we've got a mom whose like, you're there, you're performing, you're in it. We've got one who's so tired. Go over there in the corner. Go over there in the corner and make yourself comfortable. No, no, no, you stay where you were. Yes. Make yourself comfortable. Be how you wanna be. You do the same thing over there. Make yourself comfortable. Yep. I'm gonna widen my shot here. In my studio or wherever I'm shooting in a home, I'm not going to worry about all these lights around me, but at this time I'm gonna get the shot I want, I'm gonna make a couple of adjustments, like for instance, maybe take those feet off of her head. Thank you. And I'm going to say, Katie, can you fix your hair real quick? Yeah, the kids made it madness. And I'm just going to get this shot as is without adjusting a thing, because it's really kind of funny just like that (laughs). Just like that (laughs). Brilliant. Yep. Okay. It's only getting better (laughs). I love it! Okay. All right. Now we've shown you how you really can feel in these situations without any manipulation whatsoever. And then we're going to be done. You ready to be done? Last shot. Everybody, all the girls, come right here and lean forward on the table. This is our be-done-shot. Katie, why don't you put the pillow down and just relax. Lay across, take a break. There we go. I have to extend my field of focus to get this shot and then everybody is going to say to me, all you're going to say to me is, we're done! Like, we're done! This is it. You're going to hear five clicks. Count them. One, two, wait, wait, wait. You're going to hear five clicks, because this is the one who doesn't want to be here anymore, right? This one's worn down. You're just starting to play. You're like, why can't we, do that again! Do that shot again. Yes (laughs). All right. So, from this perspective, I have really made sure my aperture has been extended. Mom's gonna be a little soft in the background. The girls are going to be in front, and I'm going to work with them all individually to get what I need from them so we can close this out. Okay? You stay there, 'cause that's awesome. Whatever you're doing right there is working. Here, let me make sure we got a good shot to reflect that. Yep, that's perfect. All right. Your name is, wait, don't tell me, what? Your name is Aha? (giggles) My name is Gwen. It's Gwen? All right, Gwen! Gwen! Say, five shots and we're done! One! You gotta count 'em or else we'll be here forever. One! Katie, lean forward a little bit. Yeah. Ready? One (laughs). One! No, you have to look at me or they don't count. One! One! Two! Two! Three! Three! Four! Four! You're not counting! Did you get stuck? Shake up! Four! All right. Four. Four. What are you doing? Go like this! Five (laughs). Five! Stop it! Five! Five! Six! (girls giggle) Seven! Eight! Eight! Okay, this last one. This is ten. Bring me. Give me everything you've got. Whatever face you wanna make. Whatever you wanna bring, go. One, two, three, four, five, oh my god! (laughs) That's what we end on! Fine. And we're done! That's it! We survived it and stayed tethered. That was awesome. Oh that one. Go back to the other one. I love that. All right, good. Good. You can look at yourselves. Yay! You silly gooses! (Katie laughs) All right. Brilliant. Everybody say thank you to the girls! (applause) And to momma! You guys, before you go, every kid, I want you to tell me what you thought when the shoot was starting and when it was over, how you felt. Go on. Stand up there and say it. How'd you feel when the shoot started and when it was over? (laughs) Nothing! You felt nothing the whole time? The whole time you were just dead inside? (giggles) (Adelaide murmurs off mic) You got to say it into a microphone. Yeah, let's say it into a microphone. How did you feel when the shoot started? Start there. Happy (giggles). Okay. What did you feel when the shoot was done? Nothing. Okay, you became dead. Great. Your turn. How did you feel when the shoot started? (gasps) Pretty good. (laughs) Good. How did you feel like in the middle of it? (gasps) Happy! Okay. How did you feel when I was like, okay, one, two, we're almost done, how did you feel then? (gasps) Pretty, good. (laughs) Well, thank you for sharing all that. You did a wonderful job. Let's see what your sister has to say. Okay, how did you feel when the shoot was starting? Tell them. Happy. Happy. How did you feel like in the middle of it? You can be honest. How did you feel? I'm going to give you three choices. Did you feel still happy, getting a little tired, wondering why I can't eat yet. Get a little tired. Mm-hmm. And then at the very end, how did you feel? Hungry! Hungry (laughs). (claps) All right, we're done! We're done. Thank you guys! Thank you guys. Awesome. All right, that is a wrap on that. You're like, no, that was just so much! I guess I'm curious, Tamara, again, just to review the way that you identified which type of personality they were-- Oh yeah, that was pretty straight forward. Right. And then how do you mold that together when they're in a group? Yeah. So, when they first came out, it's like this bundle of sunshine, right? They're just fun and they're ready to go and they're bouncing around, and my thought right away was that the oldest child, even though it may not have seemed like it right away, she was going to be the dynamic child. If I'm putting this altogether, she was gonna be there, she was gonna pose, she was gonna answer in kind of silly ways to me. She was going to lay down. The fact that I had her lay down, I splayed her hair out, I changed the lightings around, I talked to her while I was doing it, I changed her expression while I was doing it, that is a dynamic personality. She's going with it. She's fun. I didn't have her going cheesy, cheesy ham until the end. Remember in the end, the looks she was giving me? So she kind of flopped it a little bit, but she was the same thing the whole way through. At the end, she was like, I'm going to give you every look I can. So that's how I kind of pinned her. The twins, the one with the dark curly hair, (chuckles) Adelaide, I'm horrible at names. I can tell you every face, but I'm horrible at names. Actually, I can't tell you every face either. But, I can tell you the energy of people. Her energy was that she was interactive. I was asking her questions, she was answering. Every time I asked her a question she thought about it. She didn't blow me off. She's like, it's going okay, you know? Like I was like, do you feel like is that a nice pose? It's a pretty good pose. Like we're actually having an interaction, an exchange. As long as I was doing that, we're in good shape. The youngest kind of did a shift, which is not abnormal at all. She showed up, needed a little bit of time, not the youngest, the sister with the shorter brown hair whose name is Gwen, she needed a little bit of time to warm up, but then she converted to the one who doesn't want to be there anymore. She literally said, can we be done now? And what I read on her face is she actually looked overheated. Under these lights, running around, these are not hot to the touch, but in this situation when you're running around, you're moving, it's not super cool in here, her face was getting red. I could actually look at her and see that she was getting overheated, and also she was hungry (laughs). She actually said she was hungry. You could kind of see that she didn't want to be there anymore, so I have to do the exact same technique I told you guys this morning. What did I do with her? I know you want to leave. Help you get out of here. Help me help you get out of here. And we did it like, we're almost done, let's get it done, and I was able to close on a really fun spirited shot of the whole family being goofy and silly but engaged, which is what I wanted.

Class Description

Each child is unique and needs different techniques to draw out the most authentic portrait. Acclaimed family photographer, Tamara Lackey, talks through how to quickly identify the characteristics of a child and the posing techniques and direction that can lead to a fun session with great results. She’ll cover:

  • The 6 basic personalities that children may show up to a photo shoot with
  • How to draw out a shy child in front of the camera
  • Tips for photographing the children who don’t want to be there
  • Gear and accessory considerations for family shoots
  • How to build to a natural pose

Have the confidence and the technique to capture an authentic child portrait in every session no matter client or their mood!



Tamara Lackey brings amazing energy to her teaching and shooting style. She shared a ton of tips and tricks for capturing the true character and personality of each child in both individual and group portraits. I have always found it to be particularly difficult to capture portraits of multiple children that are composed to be both visually interesting and true to their unique story. I learned so much about directing and communicating effectively with child subjects, and how to use my gear and other tools to streamline the process and keep it all fun for the family. No matter how much you think you know about photographing children, this class is an asset that you will not regret! Thank you Tamara Lackey!

Heidi Mikulecky

I love Tamara's tips for working with common personality types found in children. I also love that class allows you to be "fly on the wall" during her photo shoots. It's so helpful for me to see how other photographers engage their subjects (especially children). Tamara brings a ton of energy, excitement and playfulness to her shoots. It opened my eyes to how fun (and how exhausting) a photo shoot can be when you give it your all. Great class!

Sara NAomi

This was an amazing class. Photoshop has been a huge learning curve for me during the past year and it was so helpful to see the quick and easy way you used levels to bring down brightness/hotspots. I will definitely be using it to improve the "ear" on the portrait that you critiqued. Thank you soooooooooo very much Tamara and CL for providing such great content!