Portraiture Photography Is Easy, Right?

April 29, 2013  •  Leave a Comment
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Portraiture Photography is easy right?  You think I'll just go and take some photographs of family and friends and it's a walk in the park no big deal. Well I'm here to tell you not so fast.

 I know for me when I photograph landscapes your one with nature, nothing is around that disturbs you, it is peaceful and quiet and you take your time and compose your shot carefully. I walk around look at everything in great contemplation of the lighting & shadows. I see the composition of what I want it to look like.

Tara & Hunter, I love this Photograph
 Portraiture is the total opposite but also in some ways the same.You have to make split second decisions about camera settings then there is the lighting and posing. Then you have to think about what you want it to look like and what is in the background oh what about the hands and feet where are they.

Starting out is totally stressful all these things are going through your head. I can not even tell you what stress your under when everyone is relying on you to know what your doing.

 Now for all those beginning photographers like me out there don't ever get intimidated by other Photographers you might not be as good as them but everyone I mean everyone must have felt like this when they got started.

I for one am my own worst critic of my work. I go to great lengths to study and study some more. I watch videos and Take classes I look at countless webpages of other Portrait Photographers.

I thought ok I'm ready for this.

So I'm here to tell my story of my first family shoot. We got lucky on a location since it's private property. I had been there before so I thought nothing of using this location after all it is very pretty.

I arrived early at 9:30 to set up my gear and grab a few shots around the location before my family's came. It was a very sunny day. A lot of people would think a nice sunny day would be fabulous well not so, what you get is harsh shadows,blinding sun & squinty eyes.

Melissa, Ryan & Taylor such a Lovely family  
 Which of course goes back to me the beginner I know a little but not enough for the first shoot to be full sun.

 So my family's arrived at 10:00 and I started out with them going around and cutting Daffodils and gathering them up I put a zoom lens on and captured a few shots of them being themselves.

I then had my first family My friend Tara and her two children start the shoot. We did a few poses I brought a cheat sheet of poses which i used to help me.

 The flying bugs and harsh sunshine were terrible to work with and more miserable by the minute I felt so bad for my family. The grass was wet with dew and our feet were soaked, the daffodil field was full of prickers & everyone was squinting away. I moved my family's all around looking and searching for a shady spot without the harsh sunshine on their faces the bugs seemed to get worse.

Tara,Emily & Hunter all smiles  
 It was becoming quite comical by this time. I started getting nervous about the time and needed to get the other family started. So my other friend Melissa and her two children were up next it was about 11:00 by now and of course all over again moving trying to find a place without the harsh lighting and less bugs and prickers.

I moved them all around into different poses and places and did the best I could with the situation. They were all very good sports but I was disappointed about not doing better with lighting which is so important and if I had scouted the area better and slowed down a little, I might have found a shady spot under a tree across the grounds. 

 I have a few tips for other New portrait photographers:
I love the Vintage look of this.
1. Slow Down I can not say enough about this I was so eager I didn't check my settings enough and I completely forgot to use my Flash to fill the light I don't even know how I forgot that. 
2. If you use a reflector have someone else hold it try not to do everything yourself if you have others to help.
3.Take more time to look around for obstacles around your subject.
4. Never bite off  more then you can handle to start out with.
 My friends were gracious enough to let me practice with them.

I did two family's back to back however I will never do that again until I'm more experienced and comfortable.

Hunter & Emily striking a pose.

I love this one of Taylor & Ryan she loved the Flowers.
I felt rushed by my own pressure that I put on myself and one of the family's had to be done for a 12 O'clock practice.

Some of the Pictures I took I am very very Happy with They could be better and next time I will slow down and watch the lighting.  My friends are happy and that's what matters to me.

 So all in all it was a very good first experience with Family Portraiture.

Just one more tip for the road Family's are even more difficult because you can have 20 fabulous photos of two of the three people in the shot but that third person frowns or squint & kills the shot so be prepared for that with multiple photos.

what a great shot even if Ryans making a funny face.
Emily is taller then her mom now.
 So the question was Is Portraiture Photography Easy?

My answer  to that would be Absolutely No!

It is hard work and takes a lot of thought, skill & technique and of course the time and Knowledge to edit them all so never think this is a cake walk for your Photographer. 

I know now it's not easy but I never thought I would enjoy something so much and I look forward to getting better at this. I love the reward of those wonderful Photos and the happy people in them.
This my Favorite from the Day I love the playfulness of this shot.

What I'm giving to them is joy of a happy time in life and time will always stand still forever in a Photograph.
So get out there and snap away and enjoy prepare and go crazy I learned a lot from this first shoot and am grateful for the experience it has given me. Thanks to my Two Friends and their children for putting up with me for the morning and helping me with my journey.

I love this it Looks like Central Park to me.


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