Now that the weather has finally decided it really is autumn rather than a scorching hot summer (that was a rather unexpected but lovely few days, wasn’t it) I have become wistful for those lazy, long days of sun, sand and sea.
I took these photos of my lovely friend and her family back in April. It felt like anything was possible back then; surely every summer day was going to be just like this one and summer would last forever. Quite a hedonistic way to think but a bit of sunshine in April will do that to a person.
I’d never really done a ‘people’ photo shoot before, so seven humans all at once was in at the deep end for me. I needn’t have worried though because every moment was an absolute joy. I don’t know if this was because we already knew each other, or that we were on the most wonderful beach (on the Isle of Wight – what an adventure), or that the sun shone – all I know is it was a perfect day!
I certainly learned a lot about portrait photography that day too, namely…
- children are short (I wish I’d got down lower for a lot more shots)
- props are a godsend
- one-off photo opportunities only ever happen when you are changing lenses
- you sometimes need to get quite bossy to get the shot you want
- plan a few staged shots before the day
- kids (and adults) will do almost anything for an ice-cream
- dedicated photo-management software (Adobe Lightroom in my case) is essential when you return with over 500 photos
- even when you’ve edited out the rejects, it is very hard to select your star shots (again, Lightroom, essential)
- if you weren’t good at editing photos before you soon will be
I didn’t do much in the way of research before taking these photos, part of me is pleased about this as I feel as a result the style of these photos is more personal and relaxed and from the heart. Having said that I have since picked up some fabulous tips from the book Expressive Photography (from the founds of the fabulous Shutter Sisters website – also full of tips) and this eBook that’s recently been released by Digital Photography School (again, great for photo tips).
Post-production-wise it was really hard to stop myself going crazy with the filters and presets in Lightroom and Photoshop. When I was working on an individual photo I had to keep in my head all the time that ‘this photo is part of a group’ as I wanted them all to look like they belonged together. I could go on for pages and pages about how and what I did in Lightroom – I’ll save that ‘treat’ for another day, maybe.
So there you go. Please let me know if you have any hot tips or advice on shooting this style of informal family portrait – I really need to learn more about it. And do you have portrait photos you’ve taken yourself? I’d love to see them!