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Capturing Authentic Photos of Children & Families

Lesson 14 of 19

Photographing your own Family: Mother & Sister

Chris Orwig

Capturing Authentic Photos of Children & Families

Chris Orwig

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Lesson Info

14. Photographing your own Family: Mother & Sister

Lesson Info

Photographing your own Family: Mother & Sister

This is my sister, Amanda. Put your arm around mom, and I just wanna talk a little bit Yes. Just -- Can I? She and I are really close and she drove all the way up from San Luis Obispo to be here today for this. That's sweet. Yeah, and part of the idea, it's hard to talk and shoot at the same time. (observers laugh) Yeah, you guys talk for a second. Oh my gosh! You guys catch up just for a second. So part of the idea is, that photographing someone by their self, it is pretty vulnerable as you saw that. And trying to talk about some things, if it were just she and I, I could have probably gotten some really deep photographs, I didn't feel it was probably appropriate right now. But then, having a sibling in, like that's not a great shot, but there is some warmth to it and so that's part of what I wanna do next. So I'm gonna trade lenses and then see if there's something there. And then with your own family members, it's thinking about that too. Maybe get your dad who's really ...

stoic, but then bring in the granddaughter or bring in someone else. This is true on the beach, this is true at home, this is true in all the situations. We come alive when we're around people that we care about. Here we go, trade lenses. This is also kinda fun because we've never done something like this together. This is new. Do we kinda look like a family here? Yeah. Can you see the resemblance? I used to have blonde, curly hair if you can believe that. Way back in the day. And then he used Sun In in high school -- Hey wait, don't tell people that. (laughs) Amanda, dang it, you know my secrets. Okay I gotta arrange you guys. Mom, you keep sitting there -- No, you're doing great, I might get you a stool in a second. Amanda, what if you come kinda behind mom just a touch, yeah just like that. And come a little bit more forward and then what if you throw one arm around her, Mom, your hands are fine. And then, could you hold hands like this way? No, that's kinda awkward. Cheesy. (laughs) Cheesy. Let's do a prom photo. Actually, let's do that. No, c'mon, I have to do it. Let's do like the, okay. Do you want me to hold her hand? No -- I can hold your hand -- Come on the other side, come on the other side. Your hands actually are nice, we should show that. Okay. We have the same hands. Amanda, you go over there for a second. Okay. You're the photographer, not that you're gonna take pictures, but I want you to help me try to figure this out. Okay. And part of this to is, I really need to do this, but it's helpful to get people involved sometimes if they see it. So if you're standing here, it looks a little bit kind of wide, if that makes sense. But I dunno, and maybe we need a stool, maybe just come in, do somethin' like that. Kinda like squish into mom. I should have taken a picture of that. Was that a little better? Kind of demonstrate it. And then if you show vulnerability that you'll get in there. (camera snaps) Part of what I need to do, is I need some fill light. That's what I'm missing is the the V-flat, white right here. We had to pull that out just to change the background. Good call. Yeah, it's much too dark on this side. But we're getting closer. I need to crop, but I'm being a little free with that for right now. Just bring the edge really close. Yeah you can grab it Amanda. Bring it super close, keep it comin'. Not behind them actually, but just -- just like that, that's fine. But then kick it even closer. There we go, right there. Giant bounce. Exactly, thanks for clarifying that. Yes, so in that picture there, we'll see the difference. The side on the left is, or their left, or whatever, frame left, camera left, is too dark. And so this will -- try to come, yeah like that, that's nice. And I think part of it too, it's gonna be brighter, we'll look at this. I'm gonna have you stay on that side, stay over there. This is gonna be a fun shot. You're messing with me, Randall. (laughs) It's brighter, but I need you guys to turn towards the sun a little bit, yeah, like that. And then do that same thing. And I'm gonna have to fix the background, this is getting closer. What I'm gonna need to do, which I hadn't planned, is I need my whole back -- is that better? But I need the backdrop to fill in a little bit. So, do I want someone to do that for me or do I wanna do that? Yes, maybe John can help? Just let him know what you need. So John, I basically wanna kick this out to like, right here probably. I'm gonna block some of your view, is that okay? We can at least see it there. And then scoot back against the wall if you can. Keep going against the wall. Oh no, not you guys, just the backdrop. Can the backdrop go back further? Yeah. Okay, let's try this. I can't see the screen, but you guys tell me -- both of you, yeah just get close. Hang on one second. Get close you guys. How's that, Chris? It's good. And then you two come away from the wall, so bring the stool forward, we're getting closer. There we go, right there. Reason I wanna go away -- And then you sit on it again, mom. Amanda, come next to her. Background I need it to be a little bit more out of focus. Yeah, snuggle into mom, this is great. Aren't they a beautiful mom daughter, you guys? I mean come on, oh my gosh. And then look back towards me again. I just feel like it's a little bit too -- I just unplugged that, Jim. Okay, I need this to come forward here. Yeah, ignore that mom, don't look at that. Look towards me. And then keep turning this way, yeah like that. And then snuggle in Amanda, a little bit more. Okay, I'm getting up really close. And then I'm gonna try to do the black side of the V-flat. So I'm gonna trade this out. Yeah you grab that side, walk that right behind mom. Keep walkin' all the way. Yeah, like that. Okay there we go. And then, let's do that same type of thing. Amanda, get low and that's kinda cool when you get your faces really close together. And I just wanna see how I'm doing. My tether I think stalled, oh no, it came back. Yeah, just like that you guys. Oops, that's too dark. That's too bright, too dark. It's complicated. What did you guys like more, the bright background, that one's obviously overexposed. The bright background or the dark background? Dark. Kinda simplifies it a little bit. My big problem right now, and I dunno if I can solve this, is they're too close to the window, 'cause Amanda's head is shiny. I could fix that if we went way back that way, I dunno if we wanna go through all that hassle, Jim. Or just keep doing it, keep shooting. Where are you thinkin' to move? Yeah, I think we're okay, Chris. How far back? I just have too much light. I think part of it, yesterday when I tested it, it was overcast. Can we cut some of the light? From the top? It'll be cut, pretty dark, on the top. Yeah, maybe a little bit. It's just that we're getting a lot of bounce from this building which is nice, but it's kind of overpowering everything. Alright, let's try that right there. Now let's try that whole thing again. Amanda and mom, thank you so much. Mom, you climb up on the stool right there. Are you all with me though, are you seeing what was happening? There's moments and stuff. I had tested this out yesterday, I took a shot but it was overcasting gray, so I think that's the thing. I just wanna see, there we go. (camera snaps) okay hold that for a second. And then I'm gonna do one thing. Okay just hold it and I'm gonna check to see if I'm -- Is that a lot better? And I could work with that, that's a really saturated screen but I'm gonna bring down the skin tones a little bit, make it a little moody. It's poetic, I think. Getting closer to poetic. Okay so let's get a good one. Don't fall asleep on us. (laughs) She closed her eyes in one of 'em. I know, I was falling asleep. Oh it is? Okay. Yeah, I do see that. The seam of the -- I'm gonna right now, just for sake of time and everything, I'm gonna deal with that in post. But in a real world, thank you, I would wanna have a more even background. Almost ready for that. Okay okay, here we go. Yeah, this is great you guys. And then I just have to change the lens out for one more, just hold that, I need a new lens. Amanda, do you have anything stories about me from when I was a kid? You wanna tell? You guys keep hugging right there. A story, well -- when he got his wisdom teeth out, when you got your wisdom teeth out -- Sure. My mom put me in charge of watching him, he was in high school. And I'm like four years younger, five years younger, four and a half, he's sitting there with tea bags in his mouth like this a gauze and he goes, "I think I'm gonna go in the backyard and get the skiis." We had hills in our backyard and he got skiis and set up a jump and a ramp and went and jumped off of it. Went skiing! It was like, he was at home restless, wanted to go like, have fun and here I was -- Keep doing that Amanda, we're almost there. Are these looking good you guys? Okay, keep holding that. Keep holding that just for a second longer. And then Chris and I went, he was doing some sort of work, he was like the best big brother to have. And he decided to take me along with him and we went and hiked up Half Dome, and I was in like junior high -- That's in Yosemite, it's a really big -- Yosemite, and we brought In-n-Out, do you remember that? Yeah, of course. And we saved it until we got to like a certain spot and ate it but it was old. And mother didn't know. Yeah. Fun stories. Mom, hop up just for a second. Because I'm wearing the bracelet that Amanda gave me for my birthday. Though she be little, she is fierce. (laughs) So I want you to take that. Let's do one mom, with Aunt Nana, Aunt Nana's what we call her, Amanda sitting. And then mom, you get in free for one. And you do the same kinda thing. I don't know how but -- I'll stand on my toes. Yeah, just stand on your toes, put your arms around each other, yeah, that's fine. (camera snaps) And then mom, you hop out, just for a second, just right there Aunt Nana. And turn a shoulder towards me. How 'bout that one, yeah like that. Keep going. Like that? Yeah, a little bit less, a little bit less. Just like that. And then mom, come back in for a second. I'm gonna get one more stool. We have one more thing that we're gonna do. And why don't you hop on this one, I'm gonna try to lower those. I'm gonna trade lenses up. From the -- I'll just let this roll here. I'll give a recap when we get it. As you can see, I'm kinda scrambling, working faster than I normally would, but I think the benefit is trying make the connection --

Class Description

  We love photography because it helps us celebrate and savor life. Capturing those images can be difficult, especially when it’s your own family or friends. Photographer and artist Chris Orwig walks through all the techniques that go into capturing a photo quickly so that you can focus on your subject while relaxed and confident. He’ll discuss tips for working with available light as well as how to develop your own creative style. He’ll discuss gear recommendations and location scouting tips to set your photo shoot up for success. 

He’ll also cover: 
  • How to connect with children and capture real emotion 
  • Finding moments that photograph well and how to set them up naturally 
  • Wardrobe tips that make your photos timeless 
  • When and how you should turn your passion into a profit 
  • Essential Lightroom workflows for quick processing of your photos 
  • How to deliver your images or prints and share them for all to enjoy 
Start improving your photographs of your family with this course and learn the essential skills you need to make photographs that last a lifetime. 

Class Materials

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Family Resources

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Student Work

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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.