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Heirloom Portrait Overview

Lesson 22 from: Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

22. Heirloom Portrait Overview

Lesson Info

Heirloom Portrait Overview

So, what is an heirloom portrait? What do I mean by that? Let me pull up this screen here. And go full-frame on the Keynote, there we go. An heirloom portrait in my mind is something that stands the test of time, something that you can look at today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, 50 years from now and it still seems valid and current. So, timeless. A little bit moody. You know, we're not looking for bright, shiny, happy, smiley faces in this scenario. We're looking for a little bit of mood. And by mood, you know what I mean. Serious. Sometimes I use the term mirthy. Mirthy to imply just a slight bit of, "I'm not mean, "I'm happy, but I'm not like really funny." So, mirthy is a word that I came up with. Pensive might be another term, another term to describe it. And then lighting. The lighting is often somewhat delicate. And by delicate, what I mean there, is that it's not harsh. Big umbrella, maybe a reflector, a nice big reflector, and then you want to include a lot of the backdrop as ...

well. The backdrop is just as important a lot of times in these shots. You don't want the backdrop to be devoid of detail. A lot of times in these heirloom pictures I like a little bit of information back there. So, the name of this backdrop... Do you remember the actual name, the product name? Not the company, but the-- Serenity. Serenity. So this is called the Serenity backdrop. And you can see, if we look at it here in the studio, the middle is a little bit brighter. That also comes from a little bit of a stage light effect. And then the outer sides are darker. So it's even got a built-in vignette. This Serenity backdrop is beautiful. I think it's gonna accomplish what we want for this scenario. Another thing as we do these heirloom portraits, is a lot of times they're full-length. They don't have to be full-length, but today I'm gonna do them full-length. So that backdrop needs to go down to the floor and come out. This backdrop is only 12 feet long, I think. If you're buying your own backdrops, you're own muslins, I recommend getting 20 foot long backdrops. That would then let the front of this to go way forward, especially when you're photographing adults. I'm 6 feet tall and you can see here if I'm shooting at, if the photographer's shooting at a little bit lower angle, I'm gonna have an issue with the top of this backdrop, it kind of be going out of the frame, or coming into the frame, so higher and farther out. Mike, people can get this exact backdrop at Seamless Photo. These all come from, so if you wanna get a backdrop, you can just go to right now, open a browser window and actually check them out. Yeah. What's the price range. 200 bucks. Cool. And that sounds a little bit expensive, but here's the cool thing about They hired a bunch of pro photographers who are well-known in this industry to paint and design these backdrops. So, I think they have like eight different models and each of them are designed by famous photographers. And so, this one, I don't remember which photographer created it, but photographers like Lindsay Adler, other, I think, I won't say any others because I'm not sure exactly, but they actually created it, designed it, painted, and these are all custom painted for each of you to use. This is great. Another thing to think about with these big seamless backdrops is wrinkles. Now we were moving kind of quick between the last segment and this segment, so we didn't get all of the wrinkles out. You can see them here. So, we may have to do a little bit of work in lightroom to pull out some of those wrinkles. We use a steamer and so you go behind it and you basically steam out the wrinkles. That's really important. Make sure to spend the time to steam out those wrinkles because they're a pain in the rear to try and Photoshop out or lightroom out, whatever. We'll see how well that works today. So, I'm gonna piece this together mentally. I'm gonna have the kids come up here one by one. And we're gonna stand in a posture that's real similar for each of the kids. I'll probably have them stand something like this, looking towards the camera this way. And then change their position, look towards the camera that way. And, again, it's kind of a timeless look. We may try a few other positions for each of the kids. And then when it's all said and done, my ideal case would be three similar portraits of each of the kids that we can frame and print for the parents.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Children & Family Images Lighting Diagrams
Gear List for $100 Budget
Gear List for $250 Budget
Gear List for $1000 Budget

Ratings and Reviews


Great course really love the way Mike teaches so informative with very useful tips and tricks to use in photography

Dortohy Lyner

Loved this class. Great basic essential information. Mike filled in many gaps concerning my knowledge of studio photography.


Love the natural way Mike has to explain and to work on the studio. Plenty of tips and clear knowledge transfer for me that I manage quite well natural light but that I still mess with the on-camera flash.

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