Beard Family 2013

While I was in Utah I had the great opportunity to photograph my sister’s family.  They were great to work with, having lots of energy and smiles all around made the job much easier.

 The key to a good portrait photograph is a large aperture and beautiful evening or morning light.  To obtain the nice bokeh desired, I used my 85mm 1.8G lens.  This lens is really sharp even wide open and the large aperture makes it great for isolation.

Some people are naturals in front of the camera and require very little encouragement and coaching to get a nice natural smile and pose.  Others are shy around the camera and take quite a bit more work to get them relaxed.

I love this shot, the kids were getting tired and had those tired fake smiles going.  So to relax them and to get them involved again I was joking around with them.  To get this natural laugh I told them the oldest daughter had a booger hanging on her nose.  When she went to check they all burst out laughing creating a great shot.

Another opportunity to create a relaxed shot was when I was shooting just the boys.  Most of the time boys are less excited about having their picture taken.  To help with this I had the boys sit back to back for a shot.  They weren’t really into the moment so I suggested they try to push each other over.  This worked great to getting them to relax.

One thing to remember when taking portraits that I have learned over the last few years especially with a fast lens is to not have the depth of field to shallow when shooting a group shot.  If all of the subjects are on the same plane it works okay to have an aperture of f/2.  If they are on different rows you may need an f-stop of 4.5 or higher to get everyone in focus.

Beautiful shot of Annalee with great lighting and a light breeze.  She was very helpful to the photo shoot.  She was my model, allowing me to take her around the yard and photograph her while I looked for the best location and light.

I enjoy both color and black and white portraits.  Black and white adds a classic look to a photograph.

The other tip I have when photographing a family is to start with the youngest ones first and work your way up.  Finish the session with the photographs of the parents because they are most likely to have the patience of a long shoot.

The thing I like most about portrait photography is working with a person to bring out their personality.  To do this you need to make them feel very relaxed and comfortable with you as a photographer.

Here are some of my favorite shots of the day.

Thanks again Jolene for allowing me to photograph your beautiful family!!!

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  1. That looks like fun! Thanks for sharing. It looks like you made the photo shoot lots of fun. I really like the more candid shots — just kids being kids.

    • Thanks David it was a blast! These types of sessions are challenging for me. Still learning the processes involved with portrait photography. Would love to spend some time with Judy Pavlik to get some knowledge!

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