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Photographing the Family

Lesson 10 from: Capturing Authentic Photos of Children & Families

Chris Orwig

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Lesson Info

10. Photographing the Family

Lesson Info

Photographing the Family

Let's roll this next bit of footage here and check out how some of this stuff is really put into action in a situation that was challenging, where we have weather, we have a family with different dynamics, and let's roll that and check it out. Here it goes. Well, let's do this. We're gonna take some photographs of kind of groups, grouping together, and you guys look like a group to me, over there. So maybe we should just do the group of these guys here, first, and then I'll put you two in as well. And why I'm liking this spot is because I like one, something to climb on, sit on. That's always good rather than just people standing there and not knowing what to do. And also I love the tree sort of framing the bridge in the background. So, why don't the three of us step back, and I'm actually gonna step way back and use a longer lens. You guys, I'm gonna have you just stand or sit here. You guys just get to sit here and talk, and the question I want you to talk about while I go, and I'll ...

tell you when I'm ready to take the picture, is, you guys ever been to Disneyland? Yes? No, you've never been? Where do you guys go on a family vacation? We recently went to Santa Monica. Santa Monica, okay. Here's the question. Quinn, you have to ask your brothers. What was your favorite thing about Santa Monica? Okay, ask them that while I cruise back here. Okay, hey, you guys. (camera clicks) Look over. Look over this way and just sit just like you guys are and then do one where you're not smiling at all. So, like, no smiling, okay? There we go. (camera clicks) And now do one where it's a really big smile. (camera clicks) And now just a halfway normal one. There we go. (camera clicks) And then, Ruth, do you want to hop in there? Sure. And then we'll have Steve. Where do you want me? Yeah, why don't you go to the left side. And then for this next shot, why don't you guys, (camera clicks) well, part of it is, one, how was your drive over here? I gotta ask a couple of questions. Was it stressful getting here? Or was it not stressful? Not that stressful as far as I know. Did your mom stress out? Yes. She did? They slept. You guys slept? They slept. It was awesome. Not me. Not you, no. Quinn, did you sleep? Mm-hmm. Sort of. Oh, sort of. Okay, why don't you guys squish together a little bit. So see if you can squish in there. And then see if you can put your arm-- Get squishy, squishy. Yeah, yeah, squish like that. Be a nice squish bundle. There we go; that looks fun. (camera clicks) And then look back towards me. (camera clicks) Yeah. (camera clicks) (laughs) Quinn, you're crazy, huh? Not that crazy. Not that crazy. Quinn, you got to tell me. What do you like? What are you into besides orange shoe laces? I don't know. You don't know. Well tell me, if you were to watch a movie on Netflix, what movie would you watch? Baseball. Basketball. Basketball, soccer. I don't know. I don't know. Hockey. (laughs) A lot of things. No. Okay, all right, you guys look back towards me and everyone take a big breath. Just like, ahhh, there we go. (camera clicks) And then look back right at me. There we go, awesome. And then is your dad around? Is he behind me somewhere? Yeah. Okay, we'll have him come in, too. (camera clicks) All right Steve, do you want to hop in this one? Steve, how about if you get on this side, and maybe do you want to have, maybe have Quinn on your lap, maybe? Or on your knees or something? Quinn, come over this way. No, no, no. Actually, Quinn, I have a cool idea. What if you stood right there? I like that. No, I don't like standing. Okay, well what if you sit right there? What if you handstand right there? No, no, no. Aw, what if you do a cartwheel right there? That would be dangerous. What if you did a somersault right there? No. Okay, this looks cool, and then, what I'm trying to do is arrange the family in a way that's nice and natural and stuff, and so while we're doing this, are you guys doing any kind of a summer vacation this year? Do you have any trips planned for the summer? Yes. Nothing too big. We think so. You do. A bunch of random stuff. Random stuff. Or what do you guys like to do in the summer maybe is a better question. Water slides? I want to go swimming. Swim, water slides. Swim. Amusement parks. Okay. And babies. (laughs) And babies? All right, okay, you guys look back towards me, and I have to scoot back so I can get somewhat of a frame here. (camera clicks) Yeah, and everyone look out towards the ocean for a second and then now look back towards me. And basically, I'm trying to have them look multiple places so they're not just having to stare at the camera the whole time. And it's also a little bit hard for me to compose this shot because, well, one, I'm trying to teach, and then, two, I'm trying to get the shot, so I'm multi-tasking here, but sometimes it's nice to step away from the family and let them have a chance to chat, but Quinn's wiggly. He's a wiggle dude. Okay you guys, look towards me and we'll do one, then we'll go walk on the beach. Everyone look right towards me. (camera clicks) All right, let's go walk on the beach. Come on, let's head down there. And the next spot we're gonna head to are the steps, and we'll take a couple pictures on the steps. Who wants to come with me first to the steps? Okay Quinn, here's the idea I have for you. I'm gonna have you lay across your family's lap sideways, okay? So, yeah, just like that. Okay, perfect. Okay. Keep scooting down that way. You're not far enough down that way. Crawl like a worm, keep going. All the way to Daddy. Okay there you go. There you go. (camera clicks) Okay, that's good right there. That's good right there. Okay, now you guys look back towards me. Okay, then everyone try to look right at the camera, including Quinn. Quinn, if you don't look at the camera, I'm gonna ask them to tickle you. Okay, ready? (wind blows and camera clicks) Now snuggle in a little bit closer. You guys all snuggle up. Quinn, look towards me. Here we go. (camera clicks) Okay, now. This is a question for Mom and Dad. Can we do those shoes off for some beach stuff? I would love if everyone had shoes off. Okay, let's do that, and let's run down to the water. And then the only thing-- But not go in. Not go in the water. Yeah, let's jump from the highest ledge into the water. (laughs) And then the only thing is just, we want to find a path where the driftwood isn't super spiky but we'll head down there. All right, flip your jeans or your pants like this so they don't get messed up. Do you want me to do it for you, Quinn? Here. Go like that. And then you go like that. All right, here, I can hold the camera. All right. I'm gonna run through it. And then will you come over here? You're gonna test our spot out right here. Okay, all that I need you to do is to jump up in the air as high as you can, but when you jump, jump and spread your arms and legs. Yeah, like that, like that, okay? Ready, go for it. (camera clicks) Okay, wait, do that again. That was awesome. Ready, one, two, three. Okay, can you guys go in there, too, with him? All right, you guys. I'm gonna count down. Uh-oh, here comes a wave. It's gonna hit me. On the count of three, you guys jump really high, but open up when you jump, like arms up. Yeah, like that, exactly. Quinn, are you ready? One. Two. Three. Go for it. (camera clicks) (laughs) Okay, Ruth and Steve, why don't you guys come in, too, and let's just walk a little bit on the beach. (brothers babbling) Here's what I'm gonna have you guys do, and Ruth and Steve, maybe you can help out. And this is crazy with our weather. But walk down there, and then Ruth, I think if you're walking this way, your hair will get blown the right way. And just hold hands and walk and talk and walk right up to me. How far? Quinn. Yeah, another 25 yards or so. So at this point, for me, I'm wanting them to just get some space, because it is kind of awkward when you're being photographed and filmed at the same time. And then just walk, and when people walk and have natural movement, it's always better than if you're just stiff and trying to pose. I gotta get them to stop thinking about posing. Yeah, just walk, and maybe... Why don't you guys just start walking and talking and come towards me? And so I'm hoping that I can get something that shows family on the beach, walking along. (camera clicks) It's definitely, the weather's a little complicated. (camera clicks) And it's not very bright out. (camera clicks) Stop right there; that's awesome. Wait. New weather. Do you guys want to do a risky picture? Here wait, you come over here. Come over here. Put your arm around your bro, just like you were. Scoot in again, yeah. Okay, this is really nice, and just stay there for a second, and maybe what you guys could do is just talk to each other for a minute and talk about something that is fun for your family, like, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh. And what I mean by that, that's where I was kind of going with the summer vacation or Yeah, yeah. You know, something that-- It's cold out here. Yeah, it's freezing. Are you okay? I'm fine. Okay, let's reset, and let's try it again. Okay Henry, get over by your big bro. Big bro, put your arm around him like you guys are a team. All right, let me just get a picture of you two. (camera clicks) Okay, now squish towards your dad. (camera clicks) Okay. Now. We're gonna do a risky picture with these two guys. You know what I mean by risky is the waves gonna come in and then it's gonna wash out, and when it washes out, we'll go out there, and then you guys do whatever brothers do, you know. Put your arm on him or lean on him. Right after this wave. Right after this one. Right after this wave? Yeah. (Quinn laughs) Okay, right there, that's good, that's good. (camera clicks) Okay, when the wave comes, run. Run, run, run, run, run, run, run. (chuckles) Steve, you can take Quinn off your shoulders if you want to. Let's go walk over to this driftwood hut and see what that's like over there. You guys can run ahead, too, if you want. Okay, so I have zero idea if I've gotten a single image which is good. Part of the reason is the family dynamic is a little bit, like, wound up and stressed right now. And Quinn is acting way out of character from what they're saying. And so one thought is just to let the kids, the boys, just run a little bit wild and see if we can tire them out a little bit. Sometimes that can help. And also just try to find isolated moments where it might work. And what I asked them to do now is kind of go over there, regroup, and then do another walk. Walking is always a good thing to do just 'cause it gets people moving, and obviously the little guy, Quinn, loves to move. He's a runner, and so with challenges like that, you can't force someone not to move, but you've got to roll with the movement. So at least that's what I'm trying. And with anything like this, what I'm hoping for is finding some in between moments. Like, I don't feel like I've found the moment at all, but maybe I'm starting to capture some in between moments, and then hopefully if I tire them out and get near the end, we might find something where we have like a nice moment, as well. So, that's kind of the status of where things are right now. (laughing and panting) Hey Quinn, come here for a second. I want to see if you can jump off this big log over here. (camera clicks) Okay, now see if you can balance walk on it. (camera clicks) (Quinn yells) (camera clicks) All right, brothers. We're gonna do a brothers shot. The youngest brother gets to sit right here on the tallest spot. Yay. You sit there. Aw. Or you can stand; that's cool. Oh, yay. Here, stand up there, then. Quinn gets to call the shots. Quinn, you come up here. You put your arm on him. Actually, what if you just leaned. Oh, that's cool. Yeah, that's nice, and then you guys all stay together. (camera clicks) And then look back towards me. Where's Ruth? Ruth, do you have any things you want these guys to do? You guys squish a little bit closer together. And then, Steve, if I can get those guys in the zone, then I'll have you guys swoop in, too, in a second. Okay, let's first do the brothers. You guys come over here so you guys are behind me, too. All right. 'Cause you might be able to help get them towards me. (laughs) (Quinn screams) Ah, I stayed on. (camera clicks) Nice, you guys. All right, now, let's bring in your mom and dad. Where shall we have them stand? They should stand right behind us. Okay, that's a good idea. Do you mind coming behind him here? Absolutely not. There we go. Yeah, and then you can come right, Steve, you can come right behind her, yeah. Now, this is perfect, you guys. Yeah, there we go. This is so nice, you guys. So part of what I'm trying to do is get them together. Also try to get the wild one here. And then maybe, here, Quinn. Quinn, please. Okay. Hey Quinn, do you want to? How about if you take a picture of them for me? Come here, you get to push the button. Come on over here. You're doing great. Quinn, come here, this is cool. You get to push the button. (camera clicks) But now we're just taking a picture of the ocean. That's not very interesting. (chuckles) Yeah, let's see your picture. Oh, really good picture of the ocean, Quinn. (camera clicks) Let's take a picture of your feet. Okay, that's a good picture of your feet. Now look towards me, everyone. Yeah, whoohoo, got it, you guys. So good. (camera clicks) Okay, what's challenging, too, is it's super windy, it's cold, and it's raining a little bit. And so this is typically not the time you do family photographs, so but with that, it's like make the most with what you have, and so that's really the mode here. They're starting to walk, and I like the hills. I like the small family in the big landscape. I like empty beach. When you're photographing families, it's always better if they look like they're alone than they're in a crowded beach, right? So you shoot it at a park, at a hill, wherever it is to try to cut out other people from the scene. You let Steve have the beard. The beard is amazing. I am so jealous. Okay, Graham. Well, first I'll ask you. What's one of your favorite things about Graham? One of my favorite things about Graham? Yeah. He gets along with everyone. Yeah? Yeah. Graham, what's one of the things you like about your mom? She's caring, and she takes care of us even when she's sick. Yeah? Yeah. Whoa. You're nice; I'll take it. (chuckling) Yeah. (camera clicks) And let's do one here. Rather than your arm around her, let's see. What if you guys just stand side by side for a second. Yeah, like that. And what if you hook arms? I don't know why I'm kind of-- There we go. Yeah, like that. That's kind of fun. And then turn towards me a little bit this way. Yeah, like that. Yeah, there we go. Your little brother Quinn's about to go in the water behind you guys. (laughs) All right, let's do one more where we are walking down the beach. Okay. And where you guys hold hands while we walk. Okay, we'll try to get everyone lined up. Yeah, see if we can do a lineup. And now I've got to get low so that I can see they're taller than the rocks and everything. (camera clicks) Hey you guys, stop right there. Stop right there. Okay. Let's do a big jump on the count of three, a big family jump, holding hands, though. Or no, yeah, let's try to hold hands. Ready? One. Two. Three. (camera clicks) Let's do one without hands this time. And this time spread apart just a touch. Everyone spread out. Quinn, no. (laughs) Okay, ready? One, two, three, jump Jump, jump. (laughs) Ruth and Steve, this is so good, so just stick with me. I think we're there. And then Graham and Henry, you guys look towards me, too. Knock, knock. Knock, knock. Okay, everyone, right over here, just like that. Knock, knock! All right. One, two, three, four, five. I have to tell you what. You guys have done a great job. Ruth and Steve, my hat's off to you for being so, like, go with the flow. And Quinn, your energy was awesome. Yeah! And then, why don't we, I'll walk back with you to the car and we can walk on the beach in case there's another little moment. Sure. And then we just need to grab your bag and everything. Yeah. And shoes. No one got soaked. That's a good thing. And I think tiring them out a little bit. It helps; it does. Oh, there's gonna be some great stuff.

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Ratings and Reviews

Meredith Zinner Photography

Chris is a FANTASTIC teacher (and photographer). He is so very very authentic, warm, REAL, talented, knowledgeable, honest, open and true to his wonderful self. This class, in addition to endless nuggets of knowledge and insights, highlights how being true to your own self makes you a better photographer- emphasizing connection, authenticity, fun and easy relaxed simple joy. A refreshing take on children's photography for sure! Thank you Chris and CreativeLive!

lisa james

Wow, I have been in search of my style. I've been reading and researching and listening to inspiring speakers and from each one I've gathered pieces of information that help guide me. This class, however, has been the most successful for me. Chris's approach to teaching and his material that he provides is Spot On for me. Thank you, Chris. I am so inspired and eager to move forward now that I can see my vision more clearly. I highly recommend this class.

Neeraj Arora

Oh my god!!!! What a class. I couldn't stop watching. Chris you are an inspiration, loved every word you said, loved how you said it. I am in the process of getting a plan together for doing photography professionally on the side, on top of my research career, and you just hit a home run in getting me motivated and excited in taking the plunge. My photography of people gives me a lot of satisfaction and meaning and you just validated what I have been thinking of doing lately. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

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