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Family Group Posing

Lesson 5 of 33

Shoot: Get Family in Front of Camera

Vicki Taufer

Family Group Posing

Vicki Taufer

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Lesson Info

5. Shoot: Get Family in Front of Camera


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:09:12
2 Favorite Family Group Poses Duration:12:45
3 Plan the Photo Shoot Duration:04:08
6 Review Images from Shoot Duration:04:37
8 Family of Three Shoot Recap Duration:10:05

Lesson Info

Shoot: Get Family in Front of Camera

I'm actually going to have you guys switch sides. If we can and then, oh perfect. I love it. Just snuggle in. So these first ones are more up close. Kiyomi ... Kiyomi, let's just, yep. Perfect. Perfect, perfect. Kiyomi, peek-a-boo! Oh, I'm gonna get some of my little tricks out that I use at the studio. Where is... Yep, thank you. This I know looks crazy. So I do not shoot with an assistant in my camera room. Most of the time, if my employee's there, I will grab her once in a while, or if there's other family members I will have them help me, but I've adapted over the years some strange things that I do to get those reactions. One of 'em literally is like a telescoping feather duster that I can handhold shoot and act like I'm going to tickle somebody and be in the right spot that I need to be to shoot. Kiyomi, look. What's this? Should I tickle Daddy? Should I get Daddy? Tickle, tickle, tickle! Oh, should I tickle Kiyomi? Oh, tickle, tickle, tickle. Oh! What was that? You guys, I love ...

that. Lookin' right here. Oh ... Let's do quiet smiles guys, so just not smiling, looking right at the camera. Oh, should I get Mommy? Tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle. Oh! There she is! And I want you guys to huggle in a little closer. Snuggle your faces right there. Kiyomi, here comes a tickle stick. Ohp! Here it comes! Oh... Tickle, tickle, tickle. Oh... Does she like to sit on your shoulders, Chris, ever? Yeah. Okay, we'll do that in a second. Kiyomi! Oh ... Tickle, tickle, tickle (lip smacks) Oh, I get Daddy. Oh! Oh! Should I get my stuffed animal, Monkey? (crying) Kiyomi, look! What's that? Oh, and then snuggle in. I love this. Go 'head and just soapy so-- Oh! You guys look at her. Look at Kiyomi. Look at Kiyomi. Oh! Where'd it go? Where did that monkey go? I always am setting stuff on my head. I can't find it! Oh, do I see it? Do you wanna see? Do you see it? I'm gonna throw it, watch! Oh! Where'd it go? Where'd it go? Kiyomi, here it goes. (lip smacks) You guys snuggle in on her a little bit more. And... You know what, let's get her sitting on your shoulders, Chris. Okay, it's actually this. So what we're gonna do is, Chris, you're gonna sit right about here. (crying) What if you hold her, so you're gonna actually, yep. Snuggle. Momma's got you. Snuggle in. Snuggle in. Snuggle in. Do you wanna be on Mo-- She could be, oh, there we go. (crying) You know what? Wait! Wait! Wait! Look, oh. Try it one more time. Did you know Daddy has a squeaky shoulder? (squeaking) Oh my goodness. Oh wait. It's his nose. (squeaks) Did you know Daddy had a squeaky nose? What?! What? And she can just sit both feet here, too, if you wanna hold her up there. His head. Can you squeak Daddy's head? (squeaking) Oh, squeak Daddy's hat. Look it, Daddy's hat's squeaky. (squeaking) You know what, that's okay. Let's do this, I'm gonna have you actually, Sophie sit down. Yep. Let's do this, we're gonna shoot a vertical panel this way. I love it. She's gonna sit, literally we're stacking heads. Yep. That's perfect. She's with Mama. I love it. You're gonna snuggle down, Chris, like your head come -- Look, is it your nose? (squeaking) Is it my nose? (squeaking) Can you get my nose? Get Miss Vicki's nose? (squeaking) You better watch. Oh, there we go. Beautiful. Grab Mommy's hand. Get Mommy's hand. Oh, can you get Mommy's hand? Is Mom's hand squeak? Hold her back. Could you pull her back a little bit, Soph? There we go. Mommy's hand squeaks. Is it your knee? (squeaking) Get your knee. Oh! Let's see if you can pull her hand away from her mouth just a little bit. Oh, there we go. Chris, that's beautiful. You are so cute! You are so cute. There, let's do it again. (squeaking) Oh, snuggle in, just hugs! Big hugs, big hugs, big snuggles! Perfect. Lookin' down, lookin' at each other. Let's get Chris and Sophie look at each other, noses touching. Just noses touching. And then see if you can pull her hands back out of her mouth a little bit. Here we go. Boo! Boo! (squeaking) What does Mommy have in there? Kiyomi, Kiyomi! Kiyomi, hi! Hi girl! Beautiful! Big smiles, guys, for a couple. What'd you get? What'd you get? (crying) Let's try, sitting her on your shoulders. We're gonna still go for this piano. And it doesn't have to be, You're still holding her, you can just be sitting her literally up on this shoulder. (crying) Hi. You know, let's do this, we'll switch. We'll get just, Sophie, you and Kiyomi. Just the two of you. Yep. I love it. Yep, let's do a couple like that. Actually, you know what I love to do? I'm gonna make you work. Okay, cool. Gotcha. Do no let your Dad put that on my head. Okay? See and with the older kids, that'll work really well. Let's pulls, see if we can pull those hands And you can keep looking down at herself Beautiful. Kiyomi! Go ahead and get her. Go ahead and I'll let you go up and, Dad, tickle her. Yep. Oh! Did Daddy get you? Did Daddy get you? Did Daddy get you? Kiyomi. Kiyomi. Kiyomi say cheese. Peek-a-boo! (squeal) Oh! Yay! Yay! Do you wanna sing a song? Say cheese, right here. You wanna sing a song? A, B, [Vicki And Sophie] C, D, E, F, G, Stop bouncing the legs a little bit. There we go. H, I, J [Vicki And Sophie] K, L, M, N, O, P Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X Go hop back there actually, while they're doing this, while they're singing, yep. You sing for us, Dad. Next time won't you sing with me. Yay! Perfect. Chris let your head get in closer. Yeah. Yay! Let's sing it again! We're gonna sing that all day long. C, D, E, F, G H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. Now I know my ABC's -- Let's your heads all touch. Yep. Next time won't you sing with me You guys, look at each other. Yay! Yay! But make your noses and foreheads touch. Noses and foreheads touch. No, no, no, you're fine, you're fine, you're fine. Keep looking at each other. I want your heads actually touching. Heads touching. (squeaking) So you guys, yep, looking at each other. I'm just focusing on (Kiyomi sings) I love it. So these, I'm just focusing on Kiyomi. See if you can scoot her forward a little bit. I'm actually throwing you guys a little bit out of focus. Yep. And it's just of her. There we go. And you guys snuggle in, looking at each other. Don't look at the camera. (squeaking) (singing) Now I know my [Sophie And Vicki] ABC's (squeaking) Next time won't you sing with me. Perfect. Okay, let's switch this up. You guys are doing awesome. Let's get Daddy. Will you sit with Daddy? Will you sit with Daddy? We're gonna do the same thing and get a series that'll go nicely. A, B, C, C, E, F, G And then, actually Sophie, you're gonna come this way. (screams) Look! Look, look, look! Oh, is Mom -- (crying) Oh, baby! A, B, C, D, E, F -- Oh, no? No? H, I, J, K. I know what you (mumbles) (squeaking) What's that? What's that? (squeaking) Do you wanna hold that with Daddy? Hold that with Daddy. Hold it in Daddy's hand real tight. Just snuggle down, Chris. Looking at her. Yep. (lip smacks and motor boating) Oh! What was that? Wait look, did you see? Where did my pet monkey go? I cannot find him anywhere. Where did that cute little pet monkey go? (Kiyomi yells) Oh sweetie. That's okay. Why don't you go in there. Why don't you go in there. Mommy's here, Mommy's here. (squeaking) Now this time I love this. So yep, if you're behind -- (Kiyomi crying) Yep, Mom's gonna hold you. We're gonna go back to trying the shoulder shot. I don't think we got it first. So you're holding her, which she'll love. I got it. That's okay. And then, So if you're actually gonna bring her over to this shoulder. You're holding her, but see if her legs will sit up there again. Okay. We'll try that shot one more time real quick. So, facing forward. Facing forward -- No, you don't like that. Okay, okay. That's okay. You know what, we got one, I think we got one another way. Let's go 'head and get you guys, maybe all three, sitting on stools to change it up. Same colors? No, actually I'm good with this 'cause I think we're gonna be more up close. So what I typically am gonna do with the light source, if the light's coming in this way, it's gonna be more flattering of a pose, of that feminine pose, to have your body facing away from the light, and then your face turns back, actually this way, towards the light. So we're gonna let Mom sit here. And so obviously, Kiyomi wants to be with Mama, so the shot I'm envisioning is Mom, Sophie sitting here snuggling Kiyomi, this will be a great shot, maybe it's holding Kiyomi up and they're looking at her. That could be the flying baby shot. So yeah, we're gonna go 'head and, Sophie, yep this is great, yeah, we're good, we're good. Chris, you're gonna actually sit here and straddle the chair. So you're actually gonna straddle the chair facing ... Thank you. Sophie. You got Mama. You got Mama? I'm gonna have you try to pull her shirt down a little bit. And this would be a great shot, this first one you guys, look at Kiyomi. Oh, Kiyomi. Kiyomi you wanna ... Do you wanna (squeaking) You know, do we wanna take a little five minute break and I can do some keynote? Do you think five minutes would be helpful? I mean, it's up to you, if you think. Yeah. Yeah, sure. Okay. No, that's okay. We'll just do a little five minute break. This is super common with kids. This is what happens. This is why I allow enough time. So rather than keep forcing something that's not happening, let's get her happy, and then, we'll take some questions, and then we'll come back. So, no pressure, but maybe if you wanna take five or so minutes, Sure, we'll be right back. Then we'll come right back in. Awesome. And maybe what we'll do when we come back, we might set up something with the rug, just to do a different look anyway, so Okay. Go take a little break, come back in just a few minutes. I did have a couple people asking about sort of the method that you shoot with, are you shooting in manual or aperture priority? And then also, how do you approach sort of, we saw you work it, but the apertures that you're using as everyone's moving around? Right, so I do both. So, When I am in my studio or in a controlled situation like this, I do try to get that light meter reading and set it. I did change things up, just manually, I was guessing a little bit, but when I just quickly was tryin' to move fast, and like, okay, this would be a great shot, Kiyomi in the foreground, parents somewhat blurred out in the background. But cameras have gotten pretty good. I absolutely would say half the time I do shoot on aperture priority, so the challenges for me with that, excuse me, is that when it comes to the culling and the editing, if I am shooting aperture priority, it just takes a little bit more time. We edit in Lightroom and the exposures are gonna fluctuate, that I'm gonna, of course I can make the adjustments and make the images look just the way I want, it does take a little more time. Versus, I would almost rather do a reading with my meter, set it, and even if that setting was a little bit high or low for whatever reason, if it's consistent, that's really easy to click one image, select all, it just really makes that editing time a lot faster. But if I'm in a scenario where that lighting is changing, like when I do shoot weddings, or on location where I will switch to aperture priority if there is, rather than stopping the flow, light meter like that, I even made that choice here. Things were kinda like, this child might not give me a lot more right this second, so I'm gonna shoot it, and that would be the situation where I was explaining trading technically perfect for getting the shot. I felt like if I kinda stopped things and did another meter reading, it just kinda was breaking the flow a little bit. That was awesome watching you work, 'cause that was the real deal. (laughter) I'm glad I wore her sleepless. I know. ABC's for the win, right? We did have some people asking again about the spider holster and about the reflectors. Yeah. Will you mention the name of those? Yeah, so the reflectors I get from the same place where I also get my soft boxes you'll see me shooting with later. It's all I've actually ever used since day one. They are Larson reflectors and Larson soft boxes. And they are from a company called SweetLight Systems. I love them. Literally the first equipment I bought, I went to one of my first trade shows, I saw a speaker speak, his style was super simple and beautiful, and like that's what I wanna do, and that he was shooting with these Larson soft boxes. And it mimics window light, that's what'll be cool. So, when I talk about style and consistency, you're not gonna see a ton of, my main images, a ton of variety, and that's on purpose. I know what sells. I know what people come to me for. I love that they can recognize my work. Absolutely not to say that of course I've got, I brought one we might shoot with a little bit later, a ring light, some other fun things that I will add into sessions, but it's like, ninety-ten percent. You know, like ninety percent of what I do, why people came to me. They're wanting this to be this timeless, consistent look over their years. That's why they're waiting, with all their kids, with their grandkids, I can't completely be changing my style, and like now I'm trying to be what the photographer across the street was trying to be. Well, they could've gone to them, whey would they wait for me? You know, I mean it's just, besides, hopefully they're waiting to work with me 'cause they're comfortable with me. I think that what they're expectations are, I want to meet, and then I can play. It's not uncommon that, I got it, okay, I got this cool, new light, or I got this fun fabric, let's try wrapping you up in it and doing something crazy I saw somebody else doing, and you can just be like a model, you don't have to do anything with these images, but use it as a timed experiment and play.

Class Description

Taking a great portrait of one person can be a challenge, but how do you capture an entire family looking their most authentic selves? Well-known family and children photographer Vicki Taufer will show you how to focus on the relationships and keep your clients relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera.

Vicki will show you:

  • What props and gear you should have on hand to bring out the best in your group posing
  • How to shoot with natural light as well as in the studio, and what lighting you’ll need to highlight all group sizes
  • How to make your clients feel comfortable before the shoot to get authentic images
  • The most efficient workflow to make your post-processing work for you

Whether it’s a group of children with pets or the extended family with grandparents and cousins, Vicki will give you the confidence to tackle any situation and provide your client with images that they’ll want to purchase and hang on their walls for years to come.


DOlores RUsso

All I have to say is - Vicki you are a saint. To handle four kids, dog and their parents too, not to mention a class of students watching...AND YOU'RE TAKING PHOTOS, GOOD ONES!! All I know is, I could not handle that as you have even though I was a teacher for 25 years (K-12, all of them) - and wonderful people like you are far and few between. May you stay healthy and happy and continue interacting with kids and parents - you really have a talent! (I had to turn the sound off on the vid because it was driving me crazy,, with kids, dog, etc etc!)

Marla GIbson

It was true to life and yes, a bit chaotic. But I enjoyed it, it shows the work that often does go into a session with all the multitasking. I got some great ideas for poses, and learned some new way to interact with younger children. Thank you for a honest session and not a perfect planned one.


Fantastic posing class, loved watching Vicki in action. There are so many little things she said to the families she was photographing that really made all of the difference. Jed's product template creation and backend streamlining segment was great too!