Children's Portrait Photography

Lesson 12/29 - Photographing a Family


Children's Portrait Photography


Lesson Info

Photographing a Family

I would like to know who your daddy is. Which one is he? Okay, so this is me meeting the family for the first time and celeste the producer has to be matched that way what's his name well and a little side note it was I think I was telling you was pouring pouring rain outside it was really rough conditions and somehow a thread from the outside camera protector game down so you'll see the you'll see nico get rid of that in a little bit it's kind of funny hi, scott great to meet you. Thank you for letting us invade your parent's home like crazy workout I was wearing your pants a few minutes context it was pouring rain and we were rolling around out there and his mother it isn't we're at nancy his mother's house and I had to put my jeans in the dryer for a half hour because it was like they were soaked and mud filled and so I put on her jogging pants and she wasn't in the house doesn't know it. What does shane at some point thanks for coming back and you have like a crazy busy schedule ni...

ce so we're gonna like just jump in since you don't have a ton of time uh I also could use an eye exam he's an optometrist that or ophthalmologist whichever one is the right one is what he is okay and so I'm thinking we're gonna literally just sit down and chat for a few minutes um don't you think this would look better here? Help me move it okay, so clearly I'm putting her in charge tell me when you look at everything around you which one's the dead and is dad the polished the shortest yes, how about tyson and you could see what I did here with lighting I just open the doors wide open and I had all this natural beautiful diffuse front lighting I pulled the bench open up next to the door um so basically have a gigantor soft box now facing the subject's um and I'm mostly setting my exposure, talking to the family, making sure there's a good spot in relation to each other just kind of getting a little bit comfortable and I'm going to quickly recognise that I want teo getsem fill light and start shooting for real I'm talking to the kids no, no we did this let go yeah and that's the other thing every one of those shoots I showed you yesterday and everything we did today we're taking it to like the edge of the if everything's against if the weather's against you, if the time is against you, you've never met the kid if you have no conversation you know it's mine, isn't it yeah, yeah, I get how do you look around the house to get ideas? So when you going to do with photos or do you just wing it? Yes, I do walk around the house to get an idea where I might do the photos. When we walked into this house, we walk to the front door and I saw right away that there was this wide open foyer and that's, like, awesome for shooting. And then you walk out to it's kind of, um, uh, the house was kind of you walk through the living room, the stairs were up here, and then you go left to the kitchen, and then she walked the living room on the other side are some open doors to the back, which was really well it so I'm like, window light door. Great, yeah, um, I didn't go like, uh, if I had walked in and it was a dark home with a long hallway and very little natural lighting and stuff, I would have kept going, I would have gone upstairs, but we got downstairs, I would have said, I'm sorry, I don't want to creep out, but can I go in your bathroom? I've done a lot of shoots in bathrooms because a lot of times bathrooms air like white and white walls and it seems that you can people paint their house they get to the bathroom last which is to my advantage and there's often a lot of windows in bathroom release a window often in bathrooms and so um I've used those his little white box studios before you sure are you the mentalist very good kind just tell you that this is really good exposure right here. What do you think about that? Tell your mommy mommy scooch closer to me, okay, so we've I think in the effort of trying to cut this up and not make it so long we lost a couple of parts and I just basically ran over and got a reflector after I set that cameras that's why I'm suddenly holding much okay, wait, we should start taking pictures say now how about, um how about we make your dad say say having daddy say when we have together no, that was great he did a really good job you got to make him feel good about his excellent efforts here. Okay? So right there basically I'm having them interact with each other I'm having if if you're leaving the shoot, you got to make sure but you tell everybody what a good job they're doing I'm having them look at each other and I'm getting a lot of cool candids while they look at each other um, I'm having uh and I'll do this all the way around with every one of the family members and if you see something where I don't know if you saw this, but I told her to talk to him, she was his game she's game and then suddenly she's a little shy is he actually shy? You got to make him feel good about his excellent efforts here, and she'll just kind of what this a little bit. And then so I kind of, um, softened and turned it back a little bit with her and directed something energy to the little boy tyson and then came back to her in a little bit. Okay, you guys look awesome, okay? Oh, I forgot daddy has to tell us when to start shooting. Okay? As you can see, I'm moving now. I'm like slowly going outside. Um I had some shots right there and close up the exposure was really good and then I wanted to get more wide shots. I backed up a little bit to end so I could bounce some more light in with that reflector, I like that you're staying strongly wayto keep staring right. Stay focused, ok, she's doing the freeze face it's this and it stays there for a long time and that's just basically you need to shake up the intensity she's she's in his own she knew she found a good smile and she's gonna keep it for a very long time and then what happens when you're looking at a face with that kind of smile as you realize there's no smile left in the eyes right it's just drained out it's not a real smile on you see how it's back now like that's a huge difference it's gigantor huge and when you see that we see it drained completely out it's just like no shake it up go way I see that stills we got question and a comment um what lens you have right now huh here it looks like I've got twenty four seventeen good great amazing to me that in two days we've watched all your stuff and you you've never used the word smile true yeah that's one thing I know I'm just wow well because and thank you for seeing that because one of the things I find is if I use the word smile I'm calling up this precondition response and that's the last thing I want but there's there always they're like yeah ari's because they know that that's the interaction yeah one two three you're and that was her coming in frame which means she was no threat from outside behind her out of focus because I'm shooting really shallow I'm shooting here at twenty five hundred um four o is my aperture and I met one one hundredth of a second with at thirty five millimeter focal one that's what the shot is right here um for you on that did I miss any other ones before this? No okay so I get that I get to that one andi the sames exciting what so like for us folks that if we were to shoot at one hundred so would destroy our photo because we don't know the mark too what I would use additional light I would I would thiss shot would have been honestly if I didn't have that noise control I would've had a phil flash you um let me see if if the setting no the setting stays pretty regular there I think when I back out there see how she's going into the stare agan I'm at twenty seven millimeter focal length on that at thirty two hundred uh my so so you're saying after getting your camera no no I'm not saying that uh this is for katie if she's watching your family photos andan this shot specifically it's crapped in because she did this kind of hand like you know put her knee up and her skirt pulled up and I was like this is a no panty situation pull that down this is a don't show me your tio pull that down look all I wanna hear your what three you're on your own and that's the point when I say I'm telling him his head is too close to me it's gonna be huge in my photographs? What? I mean, is it's going to be distorted? Yeah, he's gonna have this very distorted looking head in terms of when he leans forward cause I'm shooting wide open and anything on the edge of my frame is gonna have that kind of hurt, you know, just a side note. If anyone's ever seen with super wide angle lens, get yourself in the middle of the group shot because you don't wanna be in the wide shot because the distortion on the edges and I'm talking his language that's what he does, that's, what I'll do, okay, so I'm volunteering to make the face for him so he could stop doing it, and I do that a lot. I've got my hand on my heart radio brilliant. Right? Ready for the second race for second cameras. Okay, now we're outside. We're outside it's actually raining. Um, I am taking these shots at a shutter speed of five hundred. I'm sorry, I so I saw a five hundred at one one twenty fifth of a second, and I'm shooting a three two aperture and that's for the whole series of these almost let me see um one yeah, I think I am I slide to one one sixtieth of a second for a few of them but I'm mostly between one one twenty fifth and one sixteenth of a second at three point two and five hundred eso d'oh that shot is this one you see what I'm doing? That's the shot I'm getting out of camera and that's what? I edit it to this shot taken that way. So for that, like how's your focus that is just, like press half down and random with sort of focus or you ogling, like, for a hot warriors like I'm gonna stick my came here like, yeah, I mean, there there is I mean, this is literally out of camera, so it's framed that way already? Um here's the part that's just, you know, sometimes people ask, how did you get your business? This and that? And sometimes I don't want to hear like, I worked a lot a lot a lot a lot because I don't I don't know anybody who put out the shingle and was suddenly massively doing great. I mean, so many photographers, I know who we're doing very well worked really, really, really hard, and this is a situation where I practiced this a lot a lot a lot a lot till got to be very comfortable for me to have a very good idea of where my subject was in relation to my lens how close or far had to be to make sure they were gonna be in focus because of course get in distance of subject to the lens if I have this super close to him, I'm going to get like one eye in focus um and uh and to know that like, how can I best composers? I don't always nail the composition on these shots, but I know that I'm shooting with enough mega pixels that I can go ahead and crop down to what I want to deliver a great shot, but actually, like focusing on the like setting your focus center focus center focus I don't know the forty five points that just confuses me. I look for my lance and I'm like, oh my god, I want one little dot to not, you know, being too much separating us yet, and then I'm focusing on eyes as best they can. And again here I'm shooting at three two so again, I would normally if I was sitting there holding it that close, I would probably be it like maybe a two two, but I'm gonna get myself more room and go to three, two so that if it's a little slipped, I'm still fine perfect. You just reminded me of a quote that I read that, um, I forget who said it, but it said the dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Uh, nicely done. Let's, uh, tribute to craig swanson person who actually said it is not on the internet. One way. Hammer I just wanted to let you know that cristina is, in fact, in the chat room. Mom. Katie! Katie! Katie! Katie. Sorry. Unless she's got a different twitter handle or chat room. Mom, uh, it is katie it's. Katie all right, k break. Because I she had a data block post that we did it too. Well, maybe she's like, uh, does she have a different name in the chat room with stina can't start rumors? Yes. Someone asked me. I got the mike used to cameras and because we had the lens bag had the two cameras I'm moving about and the two cameras handles the straps got stuck behind each other. And they asked me, did I do? Was I doing that on purpose? To be goofy, to make the kids left? It was like, no, I'm really stuck way I lied to him, I was just a lovely steps away from your face, familiar face oh yeah you just shoot two cameras so you have plenty enough to change that's exactly how what percentage of the time we do two cameras, two lenses percentage of time I do to humans and two lenses you always took eighty five percent okay that's such a random system isn't your one d on your five marks my five day march to my wendy in my experience treating with both cameras that's right there's uh bang here drive me crazy. Okay, um they're in my experience shooting with the two cameras is said earlier that the five d the one d two is becoming quickly, you know, obsolete for me because of the noise control issues once you get past maybe eight hundred isil have done like I just don't want that quality because I start losing a lot of the color saturation and the getsem loss in detail so I will use that if I am at a one hundred and I've got some sort of a little con trick you're letting situation because I get a more neutral palette when I shoot and that allows me to have less contrast issues. Um the five demark too is now primarily would have moved to for the majority of my shooting but that's only been like in the last six months you're jett this is the shot I just got here that was yes staying at one and I jumped in his front his face and got that shot right here and if you see I jumped his face I like this shot of him but I think there's some casting there's some green that's going across the top of his head and his hair that I don't like so I made it black on white and you still get the tongue which is awesome okay, you guys got there shows you know I'm waiting we owe you one, okay? She just randomly decide to jump that curve I think we missed this a little bit she ran and decided to jump that curb and I thought that was a cool enough shot I think I got this that's a good shot like that shot that's fun but let's do a better yeah, I waited for the rest of it. Okay. Okay. So what happened there is this the little boy fell pretty hard actually in on the ground and nico and jacob both felt terrible filming him on the ground crying so they stopped filming witching appoints for sensitivity but what's important to show it like in that situation what's important to them and that sort of situation I talk about like letting the child know that you understand how they're feeling and stuff you can let a child I know that you understand how they're feeling but not necessarily don't the following behavior from it so it's very likely that a child would fall like that and get really upset and then see that other people noticed it and then get more upset that studio that just a lot of time what kids dio so I do the same thing on shoots that I do with my own children, which is just, like, acknowledge that they felt that must not have felt good, but let's move on, you know? And so because you can let a kid can start spider when they realize there's that much focus and there's that much energy, and they're not different mode when you're on a shoot because it's a lot of hate and energy. And so what we did when he fell down was we just acknowledge it this and that. All right, let's, get going. So, wait, poor little buddy. Yes question. What do you do if you sort of doing a shoot? The child falls over and then the parents like, okay, I think that's about it. Well, we'll go home now. How do you sort of get them back into improv? That happened? I've had that once or twice like more with younger children. Yeah. Um, stay sort of hurt themselves, and then their parents are like, uh, yeah, um I don't want to sort of do it it was a baby, so god, but worked up and cried. And then the mums sort of sort of jumped in was like, oh, no, and then just got all tensed up. Okay, what is it with that? I think if I were in that situation and that kind of thing happened, I would say aw, let's just let's just take a moment, let's and I may be preempted if you feel like that's coming put your camera again, there's. A lot to be said for non verbally communicating that you mean it. Take out your camera. Move it aside, let's, just take a break, let's, just slow down and take a break and you know, you give him whatever love he needs if you know if I need to sit over there and I have, like, nine million mansa just respond to my phones all just to have for a while or whatever. Sometimes people need permission. Teo, get the end result they want without having to disrupt the whole flow, you know, and that's really allowing them the permission to take the time they need quietly. And they may think the first thought might be like I've gotta leave, but that's not always what they have to dio, you know, that's like getting mad at a party just leaving when you kind of under the state the rest part you're gonna just let give him a chance to have a little bit of a break yeah uh okay all right wait told him and then we had him slap the ground and tell him to stop it not to hit him anymore so we let him get some frustration out you know me through graham okay just got that like as I'm talking her about how the ground was so rude okay that attacked him and she agrees that it was very rude to we both agreed that so these were, um c two seconds apart these two shots or us like a second apart and I would if I were deciding what to give to the client I would decide between them I wouldn't give both because I think that's just to like I don't know you could say I've seen mom sit there and struggle for twenty minutes like which one is better I really they want you to make that yeah make that call that call make it easier through ground okay, do you ever have somebody in that store now? Whatever happened to that one shot you took where we did this and yeah, I'm happy to say I'm only gonna give you the awesome stuff you're not gonna have to deal with the stuff that wasn't great and if if there's anything any shot there's taken that I was like that just didn't really show this as best it could not even look at it I just keep going yeah rude yeah but you shouldn't do that to people just straight up I want to try something a little bit different but make sure you thinking yeah here you hold this small okay, so she did that cute thing when she jumped the curb and I want to do it from a different angle and try something different. Yeah, okay. Ready? You okay? You hold your breath. You stay with your mom is in that show you what you're doing ready? Tio did you do it? Okay, it takes years of training. What did you do something perfect and I'm not ready. I will be terrible. Okay, okay, okay. I'm pretty much ready to get to scott that while she was getting ready to go, that was like we're not ready and I'm keeping it a quick intents and keep her expression moving to get way excuse me, daddy, wait. Oh, he's working with you. Wow. You know, you got this, which I thought was really fun, but she was looking a little bit over and it was, uh I just wanted a little bit different you want teo teo okay, ready, wait okay so we get the uh boom I think we skipped one in here by accident oh you know why? Because it's on the starter screen there it isthe there it is so that was the one I loved that's the one that's on that produced right yeah I mean I love her look her feel her expression I like that our mouths open and she's engaged I like how the pink goes with umbrella with this with the light it's like a souffle of gorgeousness to me and could you just share them better data on that? I don't want to know if you're still using three two yes uh hold on a second um the metadata on that one is yes three two one sixtieth I'm at thirty five millimeter focal length and two fifty so from one one sixtieth and when you're five missing on her where you focusing when you're setting up that shot on the sidewalk or on her or you following her I'm following her panting panting and I'm clicking as I go you could do the continuous burst mode we got that what what happens is they run out of focus you have to constantly and I shoot everything one shot everyone so I'll do like jump for them rock I'll do that for fun but most the time I'm doing everything in one shot um all right so do we have to wait a few seconds okay, you do it from over there all right, so we got that and I got that shot I really wanted and if you can see like it some of this is just candid some of this is just interaction some of this is just grouping and some of this is no I want to get this shot let me show you what it isthe ah, I think daddy don't squash your nose she scratched his nose at you so we got uh let's see, these are all out of camera so at a camera at a camera not a camera at a camera and I would love to do like a set of these I'm assuming that the exposure's going to be right on the monitor someone's watching because these look right to me but I love these I think that's just a really fun little set and that's just you got his eyes looking alien eyes beautiful alright, good has really cute like after he left but he had to leave she start crying because I missed daddy we'd like just left was very sleep here I'm gonna give your umbrella back city all right, so we're in the barn again. We're in the crazy dark, deep, crazy crazy barn on and I am now at four thousand eso e don't have to be I could be at one thousand with phil flash okay it's honestly it's not about the camera it's not it's about like making she have enough light and you have a million ways to do that I was totally her name seriously didn't over okay, so I was just talking about something I was not planning to shoot in here again remember when I said how we go into different locations and I always give him a chance to explore and look around so I don't have to worry about that. So we walked into this barn and I kind of like our camera away and I said, just check it out see, I want to take the pressure off him a little break we've just been doing a lot of shooting on guy said just go ahead and explore and see what you see but I walk around with them, I'm still with them, you know? I don't leave the picture no pun intended I stay with them, but I'm just kind of hanging out in that circle, okay? I know what this was. I was talking about how there's like this rivet in the ground and I was making up a story how that this used to be a castle and there's a moat there and all of her stuff and I just started describing repent sel but I was trying to think about like what the name of her her name was um to her, you know, to the little drives acting like I didn't know the name for it, and I know it's a big movie coming out right now, so it would be probably in the forefront of a lot of kids minds, so I wanted her to come up with it. And, um, he showed me that she knew what her name anything princess in a castle with ueno was totally her name seriously didn't know ugo okay, what happened there is she was delighted that she knew the answer. I wasn't expecting to shoot so immediately grab my camera because I didn't expect her expression of that fantastic and and then I was still set toe outside with dad, so I picked up a camera. I did a shot. I'm like well, what? Underexposed and I dialed it immediately too I so four thousand one eightieth of a second three point two left my aperture as is, um and a thirty five millimeter focal was their hair color was here e okay, so that's the shot we get out of camera and then just brighten up a bit and then wait, hold on! I'm jumping ahead, I think there's two yeah, so again, I would I would choose one and I would give the one, okay so I'd let them explore and then I took him to the engine bark so I wanted to do the chute the whole time at the edge of the barn with the doors wide open getting all that light but I didn't want them to be standing in from the bar on the whole time wondering what's behind them so let's get that out of the way and then start with their attention. Does anybody notice its rating? I know now what document? Okay, here's the deal ready? Mr pryce in here is kind of like losing patience with this situation. Can you guys hear me? Okay, so yeah, I was telling her and basically telling her I need her to help me out with her brother. Mr tyson here is kind of like losing patience with the suit. Yes, I'm talking about you. Yes. Oh, excellent. I make a great coat hanger thank you, that's what I'm doing um when I it's unexpected laugh I didn't see it coming it's hysterical your dictations and he was like, that's true on what I need is for you to try to go to him, right? So what? I'm taking pictures of him and he's like you're jumping on him and you beat okay, okay here ready we'll have you right here all right everything's going very well the situation is excellent I backed up because when I'm right up next to him my settings were at five hundred eso won sixty eighth of a second and two eight but as I'm backing up and going outside a little bit I knew I was a little adjustment I think I just picked up my shutter speed very nice she's just starts to orland so what do you do? You gotta catch the coral it's awesome this is it to eight twirling hold on. Not that one yet that one so two adorable little twirls at two point eight again when uh I'm at five hundred esso and one sixteenth of a second e like that that's very dominant right ready? I want to try something here come here and she's gonna be like this I get past the do you know if we got past the one of just the stand a lot of him can't member that's in there I may cover this later. Um no actually I think we just missed it. Let me show you there is a shot where he came and gave me a great look but she was in the backdrop like that and that's just you know kind of obviously I could've made that perfect she would have been to the next to me and it's just been a standalone of him I thought it was really cute so I just edit it in a way where I slightly vignette her and if I want teo and photo shop I could take her out we wanted to just be a cool portrait of him but don't think just because there's other people cluttering up your shot or there's something that's not ideal that you can still grab a great expression and clean it up a little bit imposed again we're not creating an image in post, you know, not starting from something that's miserable we're starting something that was a great expression and I want to finish it in a way that I can deliver that image my client, I'm ready, I'm ready and I'm getting her ready for him to come in and so I'm setting them up on a shot where they're on the ground and he's gonna be sitting in her lap and we've lost him at this point he's completely we haven't lost him, but you know his mom saying that he way blew past his nap and it was a long day is a lot of commotion so he's now in a more sensitive mode. And then we talked about when you've got someone more spirited or sensitive retired, so I have to make it super easy for him to just jump in and he's still laughing and being cute but it's in and out, you know it's really funny and then it's really not anything like that that's very dominant right ready also try something here come here and she's gonna be like this I know and I think the way those jewels situation are we on him? Yeah he's crying he's crying things cole he's tired it's almost like it's inclement weather ready here's the deal when daddy's him he's gonna climb in like an airplane he's gonna hit his bottom here not here when he says here she's a little tall from you be able to see your face is sitting right here not here but here and when he comes in you put your arm around him and just lean towards him a little bit okay you ready? Okay where's he gonna go is gonna go here here and he's not gonna go here and you're gonna go here and then you're gonna hunt right? Okay, wait, wait and a little bit of our sky drool situation okay? I'm so excited to see if this works okay? I mean, you look so cute like a great idea it's like a wet rag you make it look good. Yeah she's ready? Okay. Yeah. Okay. You see that little, um dropping his eye that's a tear that didn't fall way got this out of camera and then I went okay, so this is the situation it's fine because she's got pantyhose and legs cross but I still kind of. You know, I told you I'm kind of protected that way, so I'm like, what can you do in post you could blur it or you could just go right in on them and then see if you're going right in on them. Um and there's that teardrop oh, there's another one. Where is that it out? Remember, courtney, go give you like, a million images and then I just edited out the teardrop take it to the next level, and then he just started playing and being really cute. So we got that and that give your sister kit. Oh, and those by the way, I just shot I'm at, um eight hundred eso at one sixty eighth of a second shooting at three. Five get your job. All right, now we're doing the family shit family in the barn outside. Yeah. So I know at this point I've got to keep my energy really up for taison because if we'd mellow out a little bit he's done so I'm almost nearly entirely playing to tyson now. Good job. Okay. And dad's awesome he's in like he's, only there for now, but he's with us the whole time and katie's like she's, like I know what to do, how much todo right way okay you heard me tell her uh katie to stay with me because mom is usually making sure nobody else is okay and I want to take that responsibility away from them I'm like no no no we don't want I will get I will take everybody else you just stay with me it happens a lot me and family photography like parents are always like focused on the kids yes yes yes and then what you do is you get this great shot wherever it looks great moms like yeah yeah so tricks tricks that that is say let me take care all that weight is off your shoulder sweetie you know you fight shinsei sweetie because they came across we're ready you see how texans get a little set to face so I'm entirely on tyson anybody else's with me it kind of looks like you're really really short and your legs were coming in your face but I see that I think that looks a little bit too like his puppet dolls so I want to move him around a little bit uh everybody was just not good with daddy what you just did there that's not gonna be a very flattering shot so I gotta move your hand still good nicely dad people will see that was I think the last shot we got right there way got her yeah this this this this this and I think that's ah that's a wrap off way before we get a break can I just ask one question because everyone the chimera was screaming how did not get motion blur at one sixty of the second I'm really really steady I'm crazy tripodi your human tribe I'm even try but yeah it's how I shoot um really really high s o as well is that I know that I'm crazy here but I'm really study here but with the kids moving when the kids which one panning if you pan with a low shutter speed you can keep your subject perfectly and focus on the whole best the background is out of focus so ah lot of what I did before in the past was I've done a lot of sports photography I've shot a lot of weddings in low light and I've gotten really good at um getting sharp captures but I mean I allow I help myself out by you know as best I can if I get my solo where I do if I can keep my shutter speed higher I do use additional light sources I will but in situation this a situation like this we wanted to show like go this is all you could do what can you d'oh you know practice practice yeah and you know what here's the other thing look at this image there is nothing wrong this is a little bit soft this's not tack sharp like when I'm in on them that's tack sharp that's. A little softer, but that's not bad. You know, most moms I'm photographing are saying to me, can you shoot with a little bit of a soft filter? You know, um, so there's there's times that it's okay, and that those family shots at the end, we're at, um, the those were at, um, four, oh, one twenty fifth of a second, and at three twenty, I s so those wants the very end and there's a couple in here that I am that I, I, I think, didn't make it in just because there's. So much to put in here. But there's, like five or six more shots of just katie, if you're watching that that you have come into

Class Description

Celebrated children's photographer Tamara Lackey leads a special worldwide workshop on the magic, art, and business of child portrait photography. Take a live, front-row seat with Tamara as she works with a wide range of kids. You'll watch as she works to put them at ease, gets them laughing, and coaxes out their natural personality for fun poses and great family portraits. More importantly, you'll be part of an ongoing weekend conversation with fellow photographers around the world about how to grow your own successful portrait photography business, while balancing personal and professional lives.