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We shot our first ‘family portrait’ yesterday morning – in Piedmont Park – and it was really, really cold. Fortunately, it was bright and sunny and clear. This of course poses another problem – the sun – especially for us since we’re not ‘natural light’ photographers. Add to that challenge the part where you’re trying to photograph a toddler full of energy – and then adjusting for constantly changing light conditions… ha, it was a really wild and crazy photo session. I mean – photographers have a hard enough time getting the lighting right during a posed photo shoot where people are sitting still – try doing it with all manual flashes, full manual on your camera (except autofocus) – and a really fun toddler who’s ready to play.

It’s almost enough to make you want to become a natural light photographer. No just kidding.

This shoot was the most tiring out of all three shoots we had yesterday – but it was also the most fun. Once I found the right settings to balance out the light – it was just a matter of chasing the toddler around, trying to catch his face and then just shooting away.

I really could not have done this shoot without Leah. We had a three light set-up. The sun up above and behind them (mostly), Leah on the right side with a bare flash aimed at their faces, and then I held an umbrella’d flash in my left hand. Yeah. So I’m crouching down, with a camera in my right hand and up to my eye, while holding a big while umbrella with the other hand, and we’re chasing him around trying to get a good shot. Leah and I must’ve looked pretty funny to anyone else in the park watching.

Still, this was not the time for light stands and inflexible setups – we had to move and move and move. Aim left light, aim the right light, aim the camera. ShootRunRepeat.

First Shot: Since it seems like almost every photo shoot I do these days is a type of shoot that I’ve never done – I’m always a bit nervous until I get that first shot that shows me that everything’s going to be alright. This shot of the father was the one that calmed me down. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to not only balance out the light against the sun, but to make it have the quality I wanted and not just end up with a lot of ‘snapshot’ type photos. Once we made this shot I got the feeling that we’d be alright.

One of the things I’m most happy about this shoot is that I think we achieved that underlying goal of always producing shots that many other photographers won’t or can’t get…


Of course – that may not always be a good thing – because some people just want photos that look like everyone else’s family portraits…

2 Replies to “Family Portrait

  1. love the fourth shot down! subtle rim light from the sun and a nice hint of catch light in the kid's eye makes for great lighting. nice job : )

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