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Photography Question 
Julie C. Martin
 

Lighting for Family Portrait


I will be taking a family portrait and would love any tips I could get. I plan to do the sitting at 6-6:30 pm. Would I do best using side-lighting? Or backlighting? This will be my first job :) Do you usually use a tripod when doing outdoor portraits?


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9/20/2007 5:47:27 AM

 
KIM SCHULTZ
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/15/2004
  You don't mention the number of people in this portrait, and that would make a difference. The more faces you have to watch, the more consistent the lighting needs to be. I use a tripod for 95% of any portraits that I do. It's just one less thing that could move to ruin a good image.
I prefer side-lighting, if the group is small enough. Backlighting is good if you have the ability to provide some soft frontal lighting - reflectors or even a flash.
Try both methods, you might be surprised!


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9/20/2007 6:45:32 AM

 
Julie C. Martin   There will be a total of 6 people. Then I will do some shots with just the parents and just the kids. Thanks for your advice. I will try both lighting situations.


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9/20/2007 6:49:42 AM

 
W.    Yes, side or backlighting to prevent squinting. A reflector or fill-flash can open up shadows. Bracket your exposures. Shoot Raw if you can, and as many exposures as possible.
Try to avoid them standing side-by-side in a dull row. Sit a few down, with others behind them. Maybe one crouching next to a chair, and another bending over a bit. Make 'em come alive in the pic, like let 'em toast the central figure. Or you, the camera. Make 'em DO something!
If it's a festive occasion, you could bring a couple of confetti shooters (party shop?): you shoot one so that it falls into the frame from above and lands on the group and you expose while it does ... preferably with a sequential setting of 3fps or higher speeds. Hopefully, your camera's buffer allows that.
Tripod is a given, unless flash is the main light source. After composing and focusing, a tripod allows you to stand beside the camera and watch carefully for how the scene unfolds, like facial expressions - with your finger on the button to expose instantly.
Good luck!


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9/20/2007 5:34:51 PM

 
Julie C. Martin   Thanks for both of your great advice. I will definately show you the pics when they are done. Anyone willing to post family photo's you have done? I would love to see them.


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9/21/2007 5:39:37 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
This is not my best work from a technical perspective, but here are a few from family sessions I've done that the clients really liked. And I like them for the variety in posing. I always like to do some w/ families tightly grouped, but then do some w/ them spread out, using the surroundings like in the one w/ trees.


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9/21/2007 9:20:15 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
got an error, trying again for the other 2 pics...


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9/21/2007 9:22:06 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
hmm, one more time, if it doesn't work I give up, lol


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9/21/2007 9:24:11 AM

 
Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
 
 
 
last one


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9/21/2007 9:24:53 AM

 
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