Buried deep in the work of finalizing brand new Lenspiration photography courses, James' voice came over the phone, "You know, it would be really helpful if you could shoot the demonstration video this month". When I heard the details of the new assignment, I got excited. Who wouldn't want to take pictures like this?! Not only might these photos meet the needs of the publisher, Dr. S.M. Davis with Solve Family Problems, but they would be a great blessing for the people I photographed!
Now, just to figure out who, how, when and where to take the pictures! Things went full circle in my search to answer these questions, but wait...let me not get ahead of myself. When you watch the video, you'll see what I'm talking about. 🙂
Isn't this a great assignment?! Before I give additional comments, let me share with you the e-book I mentioned in the video, 30 Tips for Perfect Family Photos. It's 50% off for Lenspiration members, and has great principles for starting out in portraiture. You should definitely pick it up!
Ok, that being said, here are some extra takeaways!
After talking about green color casts, they were still more strong than I was hoping they'd be. It's just the location and lighting I was working with, and I still have a lot to learn in that area. Thankfully if you're shooting in RAW you can correct a lot in post-processing, but it still was difficult to nail the colors in the images when I was editing.
When I could feel that my lens was not focusing quickly enough, I switched to the lens I'm more comfortable with. I still had to be careful, though, since I was photographing people who were moving. Switching lenses didn't magically make problems disappear, and I still had a few photos that were not in focus. The main point is that you have to know how to work your equipment, and it's a learning process to know which equipment is best for which situation.
That being said, taking tack sharp pictures is something that cannot be emphasized enough. A blurry or out-of-focus photo is not something that can be fixed in editing. The only way to fix it is to take another photo. 🙂
In my experience, I've found that walking loosens people up a lot, so I like incorporating that. But you have to keep extra care with focus since they're moving. 🙂 When possible, after taking the first set of photos I'll say something like, "yes!! That was great!! Ok, let's do it again!" They don't mind walking 2 or 3 times, and it gives me more opportunity to nail the photos if that's needed.
If I was going to photograph this assignment again, I'd definitely try to have the whole family, and then maybe do sub-groupings like I shot as bonuses. Can you imagine if Dad and Grandpa were added on either end with these walking photos?! It would add so much to the story of the photo.
Additionally, let me encourage you to be a perfectionist with this assignment. The publisher may or may not choose a photo from this assignment for the cover of his catalog. He will only pick one if he really likes it.
So, what are some things that will up your chances of having your photo chosen?
- The publisher is less into the technical aspects of the photo, and more into the genuine expressions on faces. So, make sure your subjects look genuinely happy. 🙂
- Impressions matter. While it might not make a difference whether or not your subjects are Christians, it would be ideal if they are because of subtle impressions that can come through.
- Think about what story is being told through your photos. For example, I thought at first that the following photo might be one I could submit. However, on further reflection I realized that, although it's clear to me who the two women are on either side of the child, it may not be clear to the viewer. Who are they? Are they her big sisters? Friends? Neighbors? Aunts? Mom and Aunt? Since this assignment is all about relationships, it is imperative that the relationships that are pictured are very clear and the relationships are God-honoring.
Now it's Your Turn!
Hopefully some of these tips are helpful for you as you go to photograph this assignment. If I were you, I'd start into planning this assignment as soon as possible, to get the logistics worked out well ahead of the deadline. As always, feel free to ask questions or give comments at the link on the details page, and I look forward to seeing what you all come up with over the month of June!