Class Introduction


Family Portraits


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

hi everyone well thank you guys for being here really appreciate it and everybody was watching online I'm really excited to be here I'm and unbelievably grateful that you took time out of your life to tune in and see the workshop I've been teaching for twelve to fifteen years and so it is to me it's a great honor to give back to an industry that has given so much to me so I'm here just excited give you what basically what was given to me so we'll get started some of the things I really well welcome to creative life right so this is I'm so excited and thank you all for being here thank you for inviting me thank you for being here thank you for submitting your videos the beginning one of the things that I really like to do especially when teaching new photographers and you guys are pretty new is show a lot of my early work because it really helps new photographers understand that I too want sucked that's really important to know um my mom said uh when I decided to go to photography schoo...

l this better not be an expensive hobby anybody else get that you know husbands mothers you know like what you want to be a photographer this is gonna be an expensive hobby and so I failed photography in high school I was cutting out to hang out my boyfriend all the time and then I stole my parent's camera so that I can go out and take pictures and then those same parents bought me a camera of my own for graduation I have no idea why since I had failed in high school just doesn't even make sense and then I started college for sociology psychology and was totally bored started taking photography classes in college and realize it got limited for what I wanted to do so went onto a technical vocational school for fashion and commercial photography in new york city the remain school photography at the center for media arts where I got my best education really uh worked on view cameras and sheet film and processed and you know I mean spent lots of time in the darkroom anybody have dark room experience how many people out there have dark room experience um after that after school I went worked on cruise ships is that annoying person that chases you all around the ship and takes pictures of you and tries to sell them that was me it was the best experience ever for shooting weddings because a week long cruise is like a wedding you have one shot to get the captain and the passenger and that you know and if your cameras not working you papa flash and you hope that they move on because just the way it works um I started my own business at the age of twenty three I worked for other studios I was an assistant I carried bags um and then I started my own business because I don't really like being told what to do so the beginning nineteen ninety two I got my first veronica camera and s q a I my fifty millimeter and great on camera flash that big giant mets on camera flashing and I needed a model I was learning from don blair don blair videos some of you out there know dom blair is so is teaching learning from dom blair and he was great at hands imposing brides and so I needed a model to practice posing and so the only model available to me at the time was my boyfriend and I had just recently been in a bridal party and so I had a silk ok and so I was you know hey listen can you model for me I need to practice posing now here's the thing john blair talked a lot about you rotating the nian and creating s curve and the body and I was kind of good stuff will he couldn't do that because he's got stuff that women don't have and I couldn't get him to turn his knee and and so is really frustrating to me and so I went and grabbed the sheet just cover him up and so that the train comes from and then we learned early on that the first shot you take is always looking at the camera and then the second shot is gazing down at the flowers good stuff huh please laugh at home laugh wherever you are it's it's hysterical but this is true and then I came in for the close up and check out that grate online that on on camera flash the silk ok but check it out because his head is tilted towards the low shoulder he's you know he looks pleasant right there's a three quarter shot of the bride and then we dio seated three quarter and again we have looking at the camera and then gazing down at flowers right this is it's good stuff but notice the bend of the wrists if you can see that there's a bend in his wrist so I've got the wrist thing going on I've got his head tilted to the high shoulder which is a feminine pose no if the posing is really good everything else stinks actually the whole thing's thinks but yeah and then you come in for the close up yeah that there's not a whole lot of explaining you can do here look at the massive shadow look at the massive shadow on the couch so bad okay so my first three weddings nineteen ninety three and twenty three years old and I have not had a stitch of education yet except maybe some videos and I have no idea what to do with people nothing I have no idea that you're supposed to move your subjects away from the background the groom was very tall the bride was heavyset and never seat a heavyset bride there's all kinds of things wrong with this it gets worse as we go on so please enjoy the comedy because it's funny this is before I learned that we don't pull the dress around the front like the train was meant to be in the back and stick a pillow under it and just plop a bride there and have her looking out to the side I have I that's all I can say I I don't know but I got paid for this job really I know it's sad but it it wasn't a lot but I did get paid for it and there's one of my all time favorites okay because this is before I took a class with hanson fong and handsome fong taught me that you don't put a heavyset bride in front of a skinny groom and accentuate her but with her flowers but what you need to notice here is that I'm uh trying to get a double profile you see double profile in their face my camera angles obviously way too low her feet are in the wrong place it's just it's a disaster and it really doesn't get any better so I walked into this bride's house and there is this doll there and I thought oh how the doll matches the bride this is great you will what will make this work I don't know why she's pulling her dress that way it's it's listen if I could come from this is the point of the story if I can come from this anybody can become a good professional photographer this is the whole point of it because it just continues to get worse but I love this I mean she's just and you can see the quality on this bag is there bad scans from old veronica proves right cause you can tell they're square anyway sit a bride in front of the piano we'll just keep going this is fun again I'm for eleven this is before I learned that I need to get up higher when I'm shooting people who are taller than me again I put a heavy bride in front of us slim groom making him look really small making her look really big shooting up their noses I have no idea what's going on with the hand posing here it's just horrible as bad huh are you guys watching online you probably were never even this bad it's okay here we go this now ok again I'm twenty three what in the world possessed me to say hey go sit next to the pumpkin head hey imagine what I was thinking I don't even know what in the world was I thinking go sit next to the pumpkin head this will make a great shot but I did it and it gets better now I can only imagine for a minute going back that long ago because it's a good twenty years no yeah long time ago it's a long tango but imagine for a moment me turning to a bride in saying turning kiss the pumpkin head that's the dumbest thing I've ever done so we have her kissing the pumpkin her hand is beautifully placed her ankles across the flowers or to the side I mean really I think it was this moment that I discovered I really absolutely needed to get an education so that's where getting educated comes in my great mentors were monty zucker hanson frankly black mor susan cameron they taught me more than I could ever ever give back and so we get better as time goes on right we learned to use architecture we learned to pull his a bride so her body looks appropriate we learned to put the train behind the dress here we learned to pull subjects away from the background bounce light off this ceiling have people leaning in right they got better fast right yeah here as I started to get into more photo journalistic photography I used all the things I learned is a classic photographer to make my photojournalism look good this is one of my favorite images I shot in canada this bride is leaning up against a filthy train car on a railroad track that was graffitied up which was really cool she was great sport but just just a fun image against more photojournalism and just sort of taking you through a progression of my work right now uh more wedding work for fifteen years in new york I only photographed weddings amazing great weddings in new york city ah this is another favorite image of mine I did same bride in canada it's amazing what education can do right I feel for you ara you know jump in and laugh anytime you want I love this backlit pencil line on their faces groom leaning in back light means just all sorts of good stuff going on here I got the double profile much better on this one right here this is a way better than a double profile and once I moved to arizona so I'm originally from new york uh and after fifteen years of shooting weddings decide to move to arizona it was it was kind of a mind escape I'm not really sure what happened but I really like it there but the wedding's in arizona were totally moring just not my pace and so friends and family started to suggest that I photograph children and families and I was like no I have no patience for kids like plenty of patients for cranking brides but no comm patients for kids and well it looked like I did because I started photographing infants and families and kids and I love this image because this dad walked into my studio and I completely yelled at him I was like dude you couldn't like bother to shave this morning like you're being photographed with your baby and you didn't even bother to shave your face what is wrong with you and then once the picture came out I was like look so awesome like the scruffy tough guy with like a pure little soft innocent baby and now I absolutely love that image andi I apologized to him for yelling at him moms and babies this is all available light by the way I'll just jump in and say that infants these infants took four hours to get this one shot um if you've ever worked with twins you know somebody's peeing somebody's pooping somebody's crying somebody sleeping somebody's punching the other one like to get like one minute of two maybe sleeping together like that takes four hours so I had the patient's right children this is all done in my studio at the time uh but yeah much better in the early stuff huh much better families really started to fall in love with family photography I think it's one of most important things we can do is photographers especially moms you know mom's always taking the pictures of their families right moms would never in the pictures um but if we look back the most important thing we have is pictures of our family right when you think about it first thing when you know we lose somebody we want more pictures of them so family portrait of one of my favorite favorite things to do just because it's it's a great way to bring a family together create a great memory and leave something behind for the kids always say to mom's we're not doing this family portrait for you today this family portrait for your kids someday someday you're not gonna be here and this is what they're gonna have I'm italian catholic and bring in a lot of guilt you know it's good stuff um I love working with older families and I love love working with elderly and I've got a whole thing on them they're the best if you think mom's or vain at like forty something you wait to get to eighty is a whole different ball game but this is you know it's a forgotten generation and the funny thing is in new york a lot of the east coast where they don't really do a lot of high school senior photography so I didn't really know it high school senior photography was until I moved out to arizona when people used to say to me you know senior photography that's what I thought they meant right and I really wish there should be a market for this because you know this is how we remember people when they're late in their years and this is cathy and her mom anna and just cause her name was ana I fell in love with her she's italian my daughters and my grandmother was anna so instantly fell in love with anna but she's hysterical because she walked into my studio and share a little walker and she's like I'm not smiling my teeth are yellow and wrinkled I don't understand why should wait until I was eighty three to have this portrait done I understand why she couldn't on this twenty years ago it was hilarious and I was not about to argue with anna and she didn't smile but I don't care I still love it

Class Description

Learn family photography from Michele Celentano! You'll learn how to pose and light groups, but to be a family photographer you also have to be a psychologist, director, sales manager, a marketing director and postproduction expert. Spending three days with Michele will help you find the style of family portraits that you love, learn how to create portraits that illustrate family relationships and learn how to work with people of all ages, from newborn to 99.


Courtney Zito

I love this class! I am transitioning from film & television to photography, specifically children and families, and this class is wonderful! I am only on Day 1, class 6 (The art of posing) and I have learned so much that I have already applied to my own photography. If you're like me, you have come across other's photos and thought "meh", and then you come across some and you are like "wow!". What is the difference? Well there are many factors that make a great portrait, but one aspect I hadn't spent as much time thinking about was posing. You don't think about how important posing is until you see it in action here. I am looking forward to the rest of this series and soaking up all of her experience and knowledge. She's cute and quirky, and very organized in her teaching. Thank you Michele, great class!