The Elements of Art


Family Portraits


Lesson Info

The Elements of Art

let's talk about the elements of art and what makes from great photography in general right and if anybody has art background you know there's a few things different things that really helped to make art what it is um lines are super important in art leading minds when you have um shape in your portrait ce creating triangle circles on I'm going to talk about this example right here I love this image because it has great leading lines you've got the line's coming up from the walkway where the families standing you have lines coming from the logs in the house the railing you got all these leading lines going right up to the family and then we have great shape in their body they're all in sort of a triangle and so this is what starts to make things interesting pulling people away from the backgrounds creating leading lines I'm looking for locations that offer that type of um setting again we just saw this image but I love the leading lines of the railroad track the railing everything sort...

of converges and brings you into the subject's which is I think what helps make imagesmore interesting guys agree okay this this actually is fun because the leading line is sort of the chairs and the flowers right and they lead you right up to the bride and groom who are in this great expression on their face they're walking down the aisle hands up but it lead you in there I mean actually that line of the grass lead you up there space is another important element toe art I love movies you guys like watch a lot of movies I love when big screen movies move the subject all the way off to one side and you've got like this kind of really intense side view of like a face and an empty space and it just it sort of takes you back so I like to do that in photographs as well putting your subject to one side using a lot of space it kind of gives it another element of art in which it makes the the photograph interesting I mean she's a beautiful face we did this whole little project where I kind of did little girls almost like geisha faces but I don't think it would have been as interesting if I had just had her dead center in the middle of the frame so I actually bought that door for this purpose to put one face and one pane of that where the glass was here we're using leading lines and space to make this more interesting this is older siblings with a younger ah sister two year old we're taking it we're talking about two year olds the worst here's how we handle two year old at my studio ho I have a two year old I'd like to be photographed click phone rings again I'm sorry I was a really bad connection we don't photograph two euros by bring them back when they're five normally kidding but two year old is the hardest age if you know your mom if you have kids grant will you know two year old are like me me me now now now and I have no thought of anybody else so when you tell a two year old a stand somewhere not most likely not going to happen so what we need to do is kind of manipulate them and have them looking out somewhere hey did you see the docks and so base and I have the kids holding on to her so she can run anywhere but we're using space we're using lines were using texture this is another image just using a leading line of that railing and then space a little bit of a tilt in the camera and we've got a really cool image texture texture is another great element of art and in this image the weeping willow trees with the sunlight coming behind it creates that texture in the portrait it creates a beautiful light on their face and then check out the shape right so simply just having mom kicker leg back gives her a triangular base to her body and we have we almost have a triangular base going up the whole image of the family so we have texture in the grass texture in the background and so this makes this a more interesting picture than just if they were standing against you know plain wall this has a lot of the elements it's got texture it's got leading lines like all those lines and the bricks leading up to that subject it's got space right so the more of these little elements you can start to incorporate into your work and look for them in locations it's going to be really uh important value we talk about value we talk about black and white you're white whites and your black blacks so and this image are blacks or super black and our whites are super white um and that's what creates value and that's what that whole term means color color is another great element now we can use color in subdued ways loud ways I love this image because the all the colors come together there in black the we've got great texture behind them with light in the trees leaves match the background the colors of the flowers to me this image has uh a lot of elements in it but also his expression this image again we've got triangular shapes in the body we've got texture in the background it's just here we have bright bold color right pink pink pink and set against that pink is this beautiful little skin tone of this great adorable little baby so here we're using color and a bowl and loud way impact now with family photography impact generally belongs to the family right so the impact that the image is gonna have is most likely going to affect the family s o that's through expression um but impact khun b just when you look at it you go wow that's a cool image and this has how many of the elements that we talked about anybody named the element we got leading lines we got texture space right shape see the her shape the shape of her body with her dress now this poor bride we photographed her up in canada it was freezing it was icy cold rain freezing and I'm not kidding you my assistant is standing at the bottom of her dress with a jacket and every couple of shots there like throwing another jacket like a jacket over her because she's literally freezing to death but she was such a good sport and that fire escape was just filthy you know you know who sits on fire escapes birds you know happens it was filthy but she was such a good sport and the funny thing about it this is a little alleyway between two buildings and read the night before we're driving around looking for locations now most of the time people look for locations you look for the pretty spots the waterfalls of the pretty trees right you look for all like pretty things so we're driving along in this little town saskatchewan canada if anybody's out there hey and we drive past this little alleyway and I'm like stopped the car and they were kind of like what I said back up like that's a great location and they're like really I'm like yeah check it out look leading lines look at the texture meanwhile underneath you there's a bunch of cars parked it still see it's dirty it's this narrow like literally the buildings were that close together like we're totally shooting here tomorrow and I think that kind of frightened the bride when I told her that I was like trust me have a vision for what we're going to dio so sometimes finding the ugliest locations or something that doesn't look that cool is kind of a better way to go now all the elements of art are needed to have a successful image but I think you should have at least two so when you're out scouting for locations or you're planning your session with your families and your talking about color I think that successful portrait elements are texture and depth leading lines shape space impact value I think these are some of the most successful things that you could do importance when you start to look at portrait or even art photography or whatever look for some of these elements and figure out why you like a picture or why you don't write when all else fails expression is the most important that's what hansen fund taught me and I'll stick with it for the rest of my life so these are more journalistic images during wedding but really what makes these images so powerful is the expression the bride and groom on the left is just right after their ceremony they're about to line up to receive gas and she just beaming and look at the way he's looking at her you can't pose that you can't stage that that just happens on the right mom is helping her daughter get dressed for her wedding and it's just it's expression that sells that image this is one of my all time favorite images because it actually has some cool elements it has texture and has depth it as expression I was actually photographing uh this is a uh friend of the bride and I was all the way on the other side of the venue and I wanted to get they were talking and I want to get that little intimate moment of them talking through the centerpiece but as I held in my camera turn and notice me and that's what these guys like oh it's totally what sells that image is so good plus I just like that you can tell I'm sort of peeking in on a moment I wasn't supposed to be in because of the texture I don't think this image would be the same if we didn't have the centerpiece out of focus in the front which creates the depth and the texture it would just kind of be I don't know maybe regular this is uh my own three year old at the time she's twelve now and you know his mom's when you want to photograph your kids and you're like okay let's go outside we're gonna take some pictures of your kids like no I like please I want to practice a new technique don't practice new techniques on your own kid school find someone else's kids because your kids will never behave for you anyway so I take her out in the yard and like mommy wants take your picture and she's like an o and she's runnin and balancing housing so mike fine I just got a photograph or the way she is and that is that's my anna she just happy face this image awesome you know this is uh bridegroom is kind of ah crazy wedding that uh I got called to photograph the night before the photographer the bride bride's friend was set to photograph the wedding she got sick and so the bride's mother who knew me from the community called and said hey do you know anyone who could help us out our photographer for tomorrow's wedding got sick and I was like okay what time's wedding and she's like well six but you get here form like all right I'll see you tomorrow four you know hang up and I was so happy to be there because it was just such a great day but I love that expression and this was just walking over to the park to do some fun pictures of the two of them together this is that same bride from canada she's standing on the top of a pickup truck on the hood because I don't want her ground level because the building behind her is painted and I'm standing on top of another pickup truck across the street so that I could get this image and it's a great expression but really should not happy she's like are we almost done yet because it's freezing you can see the wind is blowing she's holding onto her veil and I'm like well just have some fun with the dress just lean in the dress around you like trying to that fashion look actually okay it looks done yet that's where the expression comes from and I'll only I know that but it's kind of just a fun from expression eso creating depth in your portrait middle ground foreground and background are so important and that's what's going to create depth and texture and you're in your portrait this is a classic eighteen months two year old who didn't want to sit didn't want oppose it want to do anything related to anything I wanted to do as faras portrait's go so I finally said to his mom do you know what just pick him up and jump in the bush right there and talk to him about the flowers and that's what she did and it's a beautiful full face of her with a profile of her son so knowing my classic portraiture I know how to play some to get her in a full face and get him in a profile using the bush as a foreground my subject is the middle ground and then that backlight coming through the willow tree is my background all thought out all planned all specifically done not by mistake right so when you learn the elements of art and good posing everything you do has a reason and it can look completely soft and natural and candid but it really is pretty set up I love this this is um just beautiful fountain grass and I literally stuck the kids in the middle of the fountain grass because it makes for a great foreground and you know kids are like you want me to stand where my cat you've got to get in the grass like like stand in the plan to get all the way in the plant guy came there all right and so I put him in there and then we've got the bridges a background and it just creates this beautiful soft background text jeremy uses words over and over again just so that I can keep her mind you a love dead foliage and stuff like because it's so interesting right like most people might just pass this by because it's a side of a building it's all dead and firm and go sit in the dead bushes there's your high school senior like what you want me to sit where I can get in the corner and you know people like okay you know and so but I loved the building I love that corner that stretches out behind her all the dead grass in front of her the direction of light there was perfect so it was fun image to create and sometimes it's just about being at the right place at the right time have you ever had that happen right place right time so for example shooting wedding it's awesome right I hope this poor kid is not watching this right now but it is just a beautiful moment like you just you just need to sit on that for a minute this is great isn't it yeah e I'm sorry I laugh with my own stuff and there's another one and it takes people a minute to get the babies peen yeah yeah but here's the great thing about this image mom is like oh my baby like she doesn't even know the maybes peeing right and here I am behind the camera I'm like I got to get that shot right like shoot it and then I'm like maybe just people should go really like seriously it's a stream straight of mom never saw it until I could until she actually got wet but baby look how peaceful the baby is hysterical love that image mom oh my sweet little baby

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!