Posing Specific Groups


Family Portraits


Lesson Info

Posing Specific Groups

but a few things that I wanted to address from yesterday wass large groups some of you asked about handling and um photographing special needs children scouting locations prior to the session posing men or boys together window light and pat so we need to talk about pat's yesterday adding peasants here uh photography so working with extended families this is really this was a really fun group for me because it was I think like twenty seven people seventeen kids write so and I'm gonna take you through the entire session from start to finish I'm also going to show you how I pre scouted the location because with that many family members it's easier to be at someone's home because we're working in such small groups going along that it might be a while before this family is up it might be while before that family is up for this kid needs a break so it's kind of more comfortable if they have a place they could go um this family had a beautiful home set in the side of the superstition mountain...

very proud of their home they wanted me to come out and check it out so we did and the interesting thing is that all the areas that they were pointing out to me that they thought would be perfect were last them perfect because either the light or the time of day we're going to be shooting and it's interesting because clients will look out a beautiful scenery and think oh that's a beautiful background but just because his great scenery doesn't mean it's a great background so I walked around the house and I just shot different images of locations and this is actually pretty good cool location right here is the mountains so they literally had to cut the mountain out put this house and so there's really no direction of light coming from here so even though it's like all the side of the house is really beautiful and I was like yes I mean there's no real direction of light here so I didn't want to use it and then she brought me out back and it's a beautiful view and a gorgeous patio but for big family groups it's not ideal because the railing to me would be in the way it's hot bright sun you know there's no open shade there's no direction of light for me here so even though it's a beautiful location it just doesn't work for what I wanted to do this is more of the backyard and you can see the direction of the sun is it's all in the wrong place at the time of day that we need to shoot because that's the time of day and went to look at the location if you're going to look at a location you should go at about the time of day you're going to photograph there so you know where the direction of light is coming from it's a gorgeous yard I loved the columns there's a lot of different things we could do I love how the texture of the house here in the back and that would be beautiful if this was an open shade but it's so I thought ok that's not gonna work so went to the front of the house and this is literally the driveway is right here and you come up and there's a set of garages over to this side and then another set of garages facing this way and the front door is back here in the corner and I was like yes this spot is perfect because we have directional light we have light coming from the background we have columns to work with and you can see this directional light flowing in would be perfect in this area and so that's why I decided to shoot and the and the family was like really that's that's not what I would have had in mind because they don't see what I see when I'm looking at this so this is an in harvey and we're using this spot that's actually the front door and I'm kind of shooting in that direction because it adds texture the whites hitting the glass on the door it has some really pretty texture in it and it's just a beautiful direction of light so I started with grand parents did some individuals this is the great grandmother so you know you have great grandma and there you have to take her portrait buy yourself the family had that cart right there and they added flowers and they planted it for me so that added some texture and my background but have this gorgeous direction alight and I have ah a silver reflector here and the kids were great they were like hey can we help we hold a reflector and so and worked in small groups so keep in mind this entire session took about hour and a half an hour and forty five minutes because that's about all the light that we have so we're talking about doing five individual families individual portrait of seventeen children the whole entire group the parents with their children the grand great grandmother with all of her great grandchildren there's a gazillion complications going on here and so I'm working at a rapid rapid pace you have about two to three minutes to spend with each individual person if you you know think about it because then you have to do all those groups so anyway so love this portrait of her and then of course I brought in her mom I mean her daughter to do portrait's together um leaning in here's mom with all of her children it's a little bright it's not this break but anyway um but this mom with all her children can see some of my triangles in here you know you can see my dad in the lines triangles and here trials here but I didn't really want to move grandma around too much because it's hard for her to get around she was you know in her nineties so just lever and work everybody else around her so she's still in the same spot from when I photographed her originally sitting in that same spot I moved mom in then I'm her daughter in they moved her out they moved all of her grandchildren in and then I started with each individual child so that we had a portrait of each one I basically used the ottoman of one of their outdoor pieces of furniture it's perfect posing stool little kids fit on it well we're pretty much wide open here to point maybe three point five somewhere in there so that we can get that nice depth in the background and with you know this many kids it's definitely a thing to say kevin wants to go first you know it so now you know which we know which kids are outgoing which kids are shy some you know some of the kids would stand next to me and they just want to hold my like tripod hey can I hold it for you so anyway she's this doesn't necessarily go in the order of which it happened but it just gives you an idea of how literally we're just jumping in and out and the nice thing is that the kids can see what I'm doing when you're working with a group this big it's ideal to stay in one place because you waste a ton of time moving from location to location to location and so you kill a lot of time that you could use shooting by moving backgrounds and changing locations so I set it up and then I moved people in and out also when we're making an album everything looks consistent right so it's not a lot of different things going on at the same time a lot of love kids grabbing their toes you know and all the kids had like you know all different shoes on I said just take the shoes off you know kids and bare feet or so stinking cute you know putting her feet to the side using the ottoman this little guy you know what we talked to his parents and will he be able to sit for us yeah he'll sit he doesn't really smile so we kind of just you know I had dad standing over my shoulder I'm not going to try very hard to pose him because it's not gonna be comfortable for him and so I put him where he is and let him get comfortable and then just photographing when he's actually super cute it's adorable so she was a little shy one and then you know after they see kids when they see their cousins and siblings you know getting into it and you know posing and having fun that like okay okay I'll go you know so it takes a little bit of a peer pressure like that of your toes you just want to eat those and this is our so this family ranged in age pretty similar to what we have today from six months to like eighteen them and that's a huge so with the older kids I started going slightly different direction because I wanted to create a little bit of difference between the older portrait's and the younger ones so I went more for some space a little bit of more of a horizontal than vertical and she was super shy super shy at that stage and just got her braces didn't want to smile no problem not going to force it but she looks beautiful and you know one of the interesting things you can do also is for shy kids or kids or even moms who aren't comfortable in front of the camera I usually take my camera and show them the back of the camera and say look what I just did wow check it out do you like that and that you you ever see this they go oh oh yeah that is actually good ok and then everyone's like ha ha ha you know because they need to see that they're doing okay and that you're actually getting good pictures for them to feel comfortable and then like move on so especially sometimes teenagers you know show in the back of the camera like oh yeah yeah you look kind of good it's pretty funny so you know fourteen fifteen year old boy you know we talked about this yesterday um I like a little bit more of a serious face on him this little guy's about ten um you look at that I love the braces I just deal people like well you know I don't understand people wanting to remove braces why I like that's their ages who they are at the stage isn't it fun look at her love her so why this time you can see they're all having fun there there's kids standing behind me now the problem in this scenario is this you're working with this many children and then you have a huge peanut gallery right like so thons of people are standing behind you trying to get them to smile thinking they're helping you but at certain times that kids are generally like looking all over the place especially little babies like they just they don't even know where to look so usually have to say to parents if they want to help get the attention of a child I need one person everybody else has to go over there I just need one because if we have too many they won't even be looking at me so that's another way you often need to control the situation to say ok there's too many people screaming behind me everybody go over there I need one person who does this child respond to the best you know it might be grandma might be a cousin it could be anybody could be dad so that's another way of because before you know what you turn around and there's like a sea of people behind you and you're like okay that's just too much um too so cute I liked her standing leaning on the cart but the column in the background creates texture the light in the window creates another element of depth I'm working with the family's all together you know we have such a short time frame teo photographed these and most of the they're not retouch right so they're pretty much out of the camera although this monitors a little bright but just having kids lean in I mean they're young and she's got like that what's what is going on this group when they all had pretty good amount of children he's the families low that little guy how cute is my diagonal line so this family is definitely a challenge because he would only sit on dad's lap that was difficult as hard to pose but I put him sort of in the back so I can put the little ones in the front it's probably not my ideal portrait but it's the best I was going to get from this family in the time that I had remember photographing a total of twenty some odd people seventeen children an hour and a half hour and forty five minutes you know what in this moment and this wasn't the main focus of the session the main focus was the big group right so their toes but notice how I'm always sort of you know it's covering pieces of mom's bodies with her children we can literally see it in every image that I create that because it just hides anything that mom might not want to see so by using her children putting them in front you know it just it makes mom look good and that's the bottom line make mama look good right mom look good okay seriously I mean the age range here that this is worst case scenario this's old please help me so this is great grandma with all her great grandchildren and teo get each of these like five six four three two year old six month old to pose exactly how you want not gonna happen so I worked with the older children first put them where I want them to because I know they'll stay there and then you sort of just throw in the younger ones because that's all you khun dio and great great grandma loves it and we know this little guy that's that's all he wouldn't you know that's it that's he would sit there and that's it I couldn't get I wanted to see if I could get him to sit up a little closer in the chair and you know he get upset and so don't don't worry about it just leave it so and then uh this isn't the final cut of the family there's doll back here so you can totally tell this isn't retouch this kid's turning the wrong way um term knees or too far open so then I fix her knees and his kids look another way then he's going this way so this image you know you just shoot everything you screaming I got grandma behind me right great grandma gone okay okay kids okay and to get all of these different ages looking at you smiling at the same time uh it was but here's another great example of a large family group and I just want you to notice some of the details that we were talking about yesterday in the triangles and getting faces is close to the same plane as possible with basically have three layers but the way that they're stacked is really important to look out like how opened the bodies are so that we can add people in between and we could no actually turn him in a little bit more and look where can we add more people remember yesterday how was saying you should be able to add more people we can put another person in here we get well unless they want to sit in the water but you could add another person here if we had more young children you can add little ones right into these empty spaces so being able to puzzle and build those groups is really important so this is a great example of that because our heads are different heights we've got triangles triangles triangles triangles like right and so all the created really with shoulders legs going out in opposite directions creating that triangular base so they're all details that are specifically planned it just doesn't happen fun is not a fun group it looks like it looks like east coast this arizona it looks like these coast it's done in the fall ok pretty ugly backgrounds we talked a little bit yesterday about you know my community there's these beautiful waterfalls and people like okay we have our picture by the waterfall and well he's like it's not the best spot and it's pretty it's nice it's nice to look at but this isn't my favorite images of family it's nice but this offer so much more this is the location when I go to people go oh that and then they go became would be by the waterfall and it's nice but really that doesn't have that texture and the dap than the color and so and some people love this and that's cool but for me I prefer this that's soft background the bright color coming from behind I do really like the light that falls behind my subject so that creates that background in that depth same family I like my preference back better but anyway all right boys and that we talked about this yesterday right and tough teenage boys so I pulled up some images of just dads that I did with sons andi I thought because you asked yesterday you know do you put their heads is close together and I was like sometimes I guess it just depends on the relationship but I love this image dad is sitting on a chair I've got his knees separated and his son is sitting on a little stool in front of him leaning on his knee so and then look at how dad is leaning over his shoulder so that their faces are on the same plane and they're leaning and together I love this image I love this image so this that had recently been divorced and came to me and said oh really want portrait with my boys and so we went out and we did portrait's and there I love this because they're close family and this totally relates and yes their heads are almost all touching and it makes sense in this case because that's the relationship of this particular family so as I was going through images last night you know kind of responding to the questions I was like yeah mankin touch heads boys can get their heads and close together and I love that image so I haven't seen in a while but okay just so you know this is totally something I fix in post I take locos out of shirts I would never leave that you can tell this is not retouch because I haven't done anything to it yet but I had jared here in front of his dad and then I brought his brother in over the shoulder so many of things that we talked about yesterday that will work on today but related to some of the questions that you guys had yesterday okay so is a jared you know twelve year old boy don't smile smile boom that's mom's favorite picture big big laugh that is what she sees when they're home having dinner you know and kids cracking up talking about school that's what he sees so sometimes it's just working that moment of don't smile give me that serious face hold it well and you can't he's started crack and then and then it's a great smiles a beautiful smile but then there's wow that's expression that's what mom loves to see it's pretty fun isn't it so sometimes it's just like holding out for it like digging for the laugh not saying smile you know what give me that big laugh like don't smile no no not that serious you know like it's it's sort of playing with them so this is lisa and jay um always try to get a portrait of mom and dad together because I always say what you know ask any mom and out when the last time they had their portrait just together most people will tell you their wedding like really your wedding and you have teenage boys like yeah it's been forever and so always make it a point teo photograph mom and dad together as well I love this look look at their heads boys were leading into that these air teenage boys hanging on their dabs leaning in this is a relationship this is the connective ity of this family so you know they asked me that yesterday I was like yeah lean in squeezed together I don't care boy girl doesn't matter this dad look uncomfortable here how it's on the kids actually looked pretty happy and look at mom she listens her favorite image is the one I think we put up on the wall for her we did a big gallery rap and um and she loved it okay grandparent's I love this because on their granddaughter is just totally laughing totally having a good time and um you know grandpas all very serious but that's grandpa old older stout no serious men you know okay so I love this image of jared again and he's got that great look some kids can pull this off some kids can't we're using space um and then this is the same family in a different setting in a different pose because some of you were asking yesterday about doing multiple poses with the same family so you can start with dad in the center bringing mom over the shoulder now we have mom in the center bringing dad over the top and jet jared's below and his brother is coming in this way and I think actually have I might have the other image of that let me see so that was that one and I just want to back up and show you that one so two totally different images same family different pose putting mom in the centre for that uh for that one putting dad hire for this one that makes sense I love that look at the lean they have grandma on her granddaughter loved this portrait totally love it okay so this is serious serious and the parents love this image because it's so her right cause I have are like arms crossed over mike young serious mad face on that's coolie what happens so you this to me is the key thing getting those expressions we were talking about yesterday okay I love this kid who visit brandon he's one of my favorite all time kids ever and he's like hey shallows may discredit chop like okay sounds good let's do it I love it it's so him just him um terra whose portrait of her while we did the other session with her grand parents seagram possible serious kids are smiling okay I have to tell you when I edited this session I know this family quite well when I ended the session I cried the whole time because growing up with my grand parents I never had portrait with them I have random snapshots with them but I want portrait with my grand parents and that's one thing I really feel like I missed out on because you did we just didn't do it then and so whenever I have an opportunity to photograph children and their grand parents I'm a mess I'm good during the session I hold it all together and michael this is great and I love the relationship between them and then as I'm editing it I'm always like you allow this one I love this one and then when they come in and they see them and we go through them together for the sale session I crying and I'm like to me children and grandchildren grand parent relationships are priceless they're the best so um so this really for me touches my heart and then you have a what you want me to photograph here who and how many did you say you have crap I used to say no to this all the time right pets it was never a dog person so people call hey know when they come in for the do you think we could have the r dog I was like no I'm sorry photographed dogs and then uh my assistant who works for me now don is totally dog person and she has libby who's a spazz e dog and so she wouldn't do her family portrait of us like we have to have living in the picture I'm like no I don't photograph dogs and she's like you know we have to have the dog in a picture of mike look you know you really need start photographing people in their dogs dogs like part of the family and like dogs are four legged two year old like you know like I can't do it and so anyway um it because here's a here's a thing with dogs they obviously don't follow direction and the only way really get their attention is tio yip at them or bargain them and so like you're doing a session and literally I have to say to the family okay just stay smiling at me just look at me I'm going to get the dog's attention and mike and I'm like behind the camera making dog sounds so that the dogs would get me and I'm like please don't tell anyone I do this this is totally embarrassing um and then if you tell me have more than one dog I'm like oh anyway I have two dogs of my own no um so I have become a dog person thanks to don um but in this family have photographed multiple times and aspen is you know part of their family the dog is named aspen because the parents met in aspen and so it was a real connection there and you know but seriously I'm like and the kids a kind of laughing at me because I'm like oh I want to treat you the things my god I have to do that to kids like but dogs definitely have to do it this this is funny thiss little boy was autistic and you know I tried teo you know having just hey just wrap your arms around mom well he's ending up choking her which you can't see here which is pretty funny and dad's like what the hell's going on and the dogs are like all over the place and this is an outtake but it's it's funny because you know and I love this tunnel and you know this beautiful wall I've got this light it's a great location and it's like I said it's an out take is the dogs aren't looking at me but there I am like and the kids looking at me and moms like I'm being choked tired is barking at our dogs and it's total chaos the only thing that could add chaos that today is having a couple of dogs maybe a neighbor has a dog with a borrow window light is something that we didn't touch on yesterday and I wanted to get to that today as well so using reflectors I use reflectors very much same way studio photographers would use studio lighting um this is all window light and you'll see him I have my big panel reflectors that a use silver white people asked about reflectors yesterday so want to kind of address that a little bit um but I'll use reflectors like light so bring in a phil reflector to balance the main light from the window I may pop a little reflector underneath the face to create that catch light that we have in the I don't paint my catch lights and I usually try actually find them um you know this same thing my window light my studio came from subject left subject right camera left and then I would always add in a reflector if I wanted more dramatic lighting I would leave the reflector out or even perhaps use that black panel we talked about and subtract some of the light um I love love love so sweet and she shaves before I'm just kidding I'm getting money um all right so this family all window light reflector here to the side um I just I love window light I am a natural life harder for I love beautiful soft natural light I will do anything to find soft beautiful natural I I'll do anything to enhance it s so I really do prefer reflectors natural light today actually sons peeking out a little bit but I think we have a beautiful overcast day do you know what an overcast day is god's soft box it's the biggest off box in the world and god delivered it for me today soft box you like yes and you ever have clients go oh so cloudy out like yes that giant soft box it's good no problem um see dad here again that same thing with dad leading into his kids and these are little kids look at that face who like god of him like you and he's like yeah not so much and then everybody together so see how we just add on to that group which is kind of fun so many of the same concepts we talked about yesterday using in the studio same idea same concept puzzling heads triangles diagonal lines adding mom right and there was a perfect space for her we have no actually diamond shape which is kind of two triangles go in opposite directions this little girl is one of my favorites because her mom can her oldest son has alopecia which is hair like autoimmune hair loss disease and I did a whole a photo shoot for this alopecia group and so the mom was in for her son and I did always stuff with that uh alopecia kids and all them together it was really a lot of fun and she goes you know I have a two year old who I cannot get a photograph of I have brought her too every studio imaginable and she will just not have her picture taken it's a nightmare like ring ring get the problem and so and she was tough you know she was you know not wanting to like go near the background any of those kids you like won't even go near a background when you sit on a stool like nothing they have won't have nothing to do with so the windows that I had built into the studio at the time ah there was a back door and I had mom go outside and so she went to the window to see her mom love this image one because I know she's looking at her mom and she's like reaching up for her show her this mom was so happy because I had to do something that was appropriate to the two year old I could have force a two year old to take a picture you can't force a two year old however you can set up a scenario in which the perfect light mom's outside you know a little bit of flowers she's holding onto her blankie not going to take that away from her right and there she is beautiful eyes is that awesome you know and mom was so happy and I've photographed her family ever since then isn't my uh my banana anna banana uh this is actually down in my home since I moved from my regular studio to a home studio and so this is done in my home I have a big uh double glass sliding doors going out to my yard which I use is beautiful light all the time and so it's just the window light and a little bit of a reflector and that's it so my little tomboy daughter who wore dress for her first communion and so funny toots I'm taking this portrait of her and I bought her those rosaries in um in italy and so I do this portrait shows you know mom I think if we put the rosaries over my hand that would look really cool and I was like okay let's do it um some of the things we talked about yesterday found this image last night of this gentleman and his mom and when I was posing them she started laughing about something and just hugged into him remember how I said you know I don't really do too much to older people what's there to do nothing she's just a little soft filter on her because like I said yesterday everybody needs a little soft filter but other than that I didn't do anything this is beautiful

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!