Monday, October 17, 2011

Family portraits - A beautiful family gets a beautiful book

About 6 months ago, good friends of ours (from our swim club) asked if I would take their family photos. Like so many other families who I talk to, they had not had nice family pictures taken in quite a while, and really wanted to capture images of them. It doesn't take long before the kids are off to college and you realize that you don't have nice family pictures of you and your teenage kids. A couple of weeks ago, we set out to a local park and had some fun.

I started with individual shots of the kids. This is a good chance to loosen everyone up and let them get used to me and the camera. My goal with family photos, is to get their true emotions in the images. You can see in the image above, that this is Kendra's real smile. I really try to avoid that "posed smile" look.

I asked J.J. to lean against the post, but did not tell him how I wanted him to pose. I wanted to see what he would do naturally.

Then it was time to take some images of Jeff and Lee (the parents). Using the same location, I had them stand by each other and made some small changes to the position of their hands. 

For the final edit of this image, I cropped in a little tighter to avoid the hands and arms and concentrate more on their faces.

As we moved from one location to another, I noticed this great sunlight rim-lighting Lee. I asked Lee to stop and give me a smile and grabbed some images using the this great light off of her hair.

We headed down to the creek and I grouped the family together. I positioned my camera so that I could take their picture but also have the small waterfall visible behind them.

Once I felt like I had some nice images of the family, we added their dog, Mia, into the mix.This dog really made my life easy. Some animals are really antsy and difficult to work with, but Mia was so calm and well-behaved, that we just told her where to sit and she listened. All I had to do was call her name to get her attention. (Photographer tip: When photographing a family with a pet, make sure you tell the family members to keep looking at you, and not at the pet. It is your job to get the pet's attention. There is nothing worse than getting the pet to look right at you, but the family members are all looking down at the animal.)

For all of the previous images, I used the Canon 70-200 2.8 IS lens, but then I thought that it would be fun to break out the Sigma 85mm 1.4 lens. I love the narrow depth of field of this lens and the way that I can blur everything but the subject's eyes.

We moved over to a large area of grass and I took some more family photos. As you can see, this location is very different from the family photos at the creek (which is just a couple hundred feet away from this spot). I prefer to take family photos in different locations so that the family has more choices. The family and I really liked this photo, but there were a couple of things that really bothered me. So, it was time to put Photoshop to good use.

The first thing that bothered me was that Kendra was a little too far from the other three family members, so I carefully selected her and moved her closer to her mother. I was also bothered by dad's foot sticking out to the right side of the image, so I cloned the grass and removed that distraction. After some skin touch-up, removal of fly-away hairs, and other little modifications, we were good to go.

After all the image retouching was complete, it was time for Annette to start the book making process. You can see the book by clicking here.


James said...

Great pictures

ElizabethH said...

what aperture do you use for the family shots? i'm always lowering the aperture to get everyone in focus, but then you loose the blurry background.

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

I shot these at apertures between f4 and f5.6. The best way to get everyone in focus is to use a long lens (like the 70-200) and stand farther back. If you were to shoot these images at f4 with a short focal length lens (like 24mm), that would be a problem getting everyone in focus. Make sense?

3x1 hdmi switch said...

Those are lovely photographs of family. I like capturing photograph & the background image is also so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Family Portraits said...

Great pictures!Those are lovely photographs of family.Thank you sharing..