The McCracken Family

October 27, 2013  •  2 Comments

So My second family portrait shoot I was able to leverage some of the things I learned the first time around.  It also afforded the opportunity to make new mistakes ;)

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Lighting is everything.. and this was a big factor with my first shoot. Here is an example of where why dappled light may be beautiful in many circumstances, and a favorite for me in scenics, is not very optimal for portraits. 

This example also shows that a photographer needs to understand arrangement and posing.  Legs everywhere on a white blanket?? Looks like I just called "Left Leg, Yellow".  What was I thinking?   And the poor baby.. definately time for a Patrick Swayze "No one puts baby in the corner" moment.

While I was still stressed from my previous shoot, getting together with the McCracken was so totally fun.  They are so down to earth and easy to be with and the boys were great and brought me back to my boys at that age.

So... What went right this time around...

 

  • A simple setting.  When Krista suggested this location I panicked.  It had great natural grasses, but really nothing else.  I worried that being surrounded by trees would cause dappled light problems again.  When I shot the Martin's the week prior, I thought I needed to find a location that had all sorts of options.  Maybe that will be handy later on when I have a better grip on my technical skills, but for now, this simple location was perfect!
  • The light, that I was completely worried about, I kept checking each hour prior to the shoot.  This was easy to do as it was around the corner from my home.  It was probably a little darker than I would have liked but it was even and beautiful and soft.
  • Had a handful of selected poses in mind, with mental notes that reminded me of things like how to position legs, keep the group dynamic and interesting and not in a straight line like birds on a wire. 
  • Grandparents coming along was AWESOME!!  It is a total plus to have someone the kids know, standing behind you, doing silly things that turn their frowns into fits of laughter.  I only wish that they were prepared to have me shoot a portrait of them.  They were wonderful people.
  • Like the location, I kept it minimal.  With my first shoot I brought all sorts of props, bubbles, balls, books, doll etc and it only distracted the kids in a way I didn't know how to control.  I also brought just about every piece of equipment I could think of.  With this shoot, the McCracken's brought a super red wagon which was great to sit the boys in, but other than that nothing.  I even kept my equipment to a single messenger style camera bag.

Because of this I was able to get some nicely composed shots.  We still had kids who didn't necessarily want their picture taken but they weren't running amok.  I controlled the shoot much better.

Now.. what went wrong...really wrong. 2013-10-07 4532013-10-07 453

  • My exposure was totally off.  It was dusk, the sun still had about an hour before it set, but we were surrounded by trees which made it a bit darker.  This, and the fact that I've gotten lazy and taken the advice of some of our more prolific Colorado landscape photogs, and have been shooting in AV mode instead of manual.  This caused my to not pay attention to my ISO which would not have happened if I had payed attention to my shutter speed.  But being one that normally shoots with my camera on a tripod, I never pay attention to shutter speed.

Now luckily I shoot in raw, so adjusting a bad exposure to lighten or darken it a little is usually a snap.  But... not paying attention to shutter caused all of the photos to be blurry. UGH!!!  They looked so good on the little display on the back of my camera!!  I was so excited until I put them up on my computer screen. then.... I was completely deflated.  Imagine looking at a thumbnail and squealing "Yes!! That is so Dang Cute!!!" to "OMG.. what did I do, he has 2 noses"  (See cute picture of Max to the right)

I did have my flash on, but in looking at the pics, it only seemed to flash every so often, and those pics were then bright and blurry. Let me express one more time .. UGH!!!

And.. what went wrong.. but I was OK with.

  • Could have used a few more poses.  
  • Could have gotten a few more angles out of the poses I did use.  

Either of these would have provided me with a much, much larger selection of photos to provide to my clients.  But that's OK.. Let me nail the few that I'm learning now before I add more to think about to the mix.

In both of these shoots I was able to provide about a dozen halfway decent shots to the families.  Only this time I was actually able to give them a family shot!!

Here are a couple of those from this shoot - exposure still off a bit but salvageable.

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Comments

Cindy Drako
Thank you so much!! I pick up a lot of great information from people who are willing to share their experiences. If I can pass that forward and help anyone else by sharing my mistakes (and my successes) I consider that a win!
Maryann Drako-Rosier(non-registered)
Wow amazing, learning through experience. GREAT photos the entire family look happy and natural. However seeing the difference between unposed and then naturally posed was huge. Definitely a photographer to be watched for future works.
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