Saturday, 31 May 2014

7 Tips for Posing Family Portraits

7 Tips for Posing Family Portraits

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7 Tips for Posing Family Portraits

Posted: 31 May 2014 01:21 AM PDT

Posing families and groups is one of the more intimidating feats for photographers. Working with several people of different heights and ages is certainly a challenge, but following a few posing guidelines makes the job a bit simpler.

family photo with children

“September 2012 Family Photos” captured by Kate NG Sommers

1. Family portraits are largely about capturing relationships and interaction, and that’s pretty tough to capture when everyone is far away from each other, so the first thing I do is get everyone to squish together.

family photo pose

“Walker Family Photos” captured by Meghan Marell

2. I like to get everyone’s heads fairly close together which can be done by having everyone sit down. Even if the kids are dramatically different heights, sitting down brings everyone closer. It can be as simple as just sitting on the ground. Look for nice colors, textures, and clean backgrounds. Steps and benches work great, too. There are tons of options!

family photography

“Untitled” captured by Dave Malkoff

3. One of the easiest way to dramatically improve your composition is to stagger everyone’s head position (but keep them close). Arrange faces on different levels so that any pattern of height does not distract the viewer from seeing the group as being one cohesive unit.

family group photo

“Young Family” captured by Good Eye Video

4. Position each individual so they are visually connected to another individual. You can do this by having them stand very close to one another or, better yet, have them touch another person. No matter the poses you go for, always try to incorporate direct contact through touch. Hands on shoulders, arms around waists—any way that you can get everyone in physical contact with each other. This will convey emotional closeness.

outdoor family photo

“Banchitta Family Preview” captured by Pete Labrozzi

5. The other posing technique that I often use is to have the pose wider at the base and narrower at the top. Some photographers refer to this as the pyramid pose. This makes the group look like a single unit and the composition looks complete.

family group pose

“Kathy’s 50th” captured by Nom & Malc

6. Pay attention to your subjects’ hands. It is usually a mistake to have everyone in your pose doing the same exact thing with their hands. Occasionally I will direct one or more of my clients to change their hand position to improve the pose as well.

7. It’s ideal to have everyone in the family looking in the same direction, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be in your direction. You can direct everyone to look behind you or at the youngest family member.

parents and child family photo

“Untitled” captured by Kenji Wang

It really doesn’t have to be stressful the next time you want to capture your family’s portraits. Be patient, be flexible, and make it fun. You’ll end up with some awesome portraits, lots of real moments, happy parents, and happy kids! Try it out! It will surely improve your photos. Good luck.

About the Author:
Linnae Harris is a portrait photographer who specializes in photographing families, babies, children, and high school seniors. I primarily photograph families and children outdoors or in their home for natural light sessions.

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How to Create Imaginative Photos on a Low Budget (Video)

Posted: 30 May 2014 07:43 PM PDT

As a photographer, it can be easy to get caught up in the latest gear and equipment. Conceptual photographer Brooke Shaden wants to remind us that it is much simpler than that. She focuses on promoting an interest in the ordinary and making something out of nothing. Watch how she created three dark, imaginative pieces of fine art with just one trusting friend and a few skeins of red yarn:

Shaden expresses her idea of making interesting images from the mundane through this simple photo shoot in the woods. Her budget was just $20, which paid for the bright yarn she used. Her prep time was about three hours.

Start With a Concept

Before making any purchases or plans, begin with an idea. Shaden wanted to make a model look as if she was knitting herself. She decided red yarn would be used as a symbolic measure to illustrate her idea.

With a plan in place and props purchased, Shaden covered the tree with yarn, and then she wrapped most of her friend's body in the remaining yarn.


Shaden’s only prop was red yarn.

 Don’t Give Up

When wrapping the yarn around the model’s body proved difficult, she improvised. She wrapped the yarn sporadically for a more feral look, rather than discounting the entire project.


Artistic work in Photoshop solidified the concept.

Use Post-Processing to Complete Your Vision

Once the photo shoot was over, Shaden used Photoshop to complete the look she had envisioned. It’s important to consider post-processing before you start shooting so that you know what kinds of images you’d like to capture.

Shaden gives us some final advice to make a day of it. Think of an idea and follow through. Get creative with what you already have or something you can buy cheaply. Even if your idea does not work out as planned, the experience or end product could make up for it completely.


Creative poses produced multiple images.

Amateur photographers might not think they have the budget or the time to produce a successful fine art shot. But Shaden shows us that working creatively with the surroundings you already have access to can save not only money but time and energy, as well.

 "If you build the life of your dreams, then you can live the life of your dreams. No one is going to do it for you, but if you do it yourself then it will be more meaningful and more personal.”

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5 Tips for Your Best Flower Photography Yet

Posted: 30 May 2014 04:32 PM PDT

Are your photos of flowers not turning out how you’d like? Get five tips for capturing flowers like never before! Then, see here for a chance to take the online Craftsy class Photographing Flowers with macro-photography expert Harold Davis, and learn even more essential exposure, focus, and macro techniques for shooting captivating floral photography.


1. Use mirror lockup if you’re using a tripod.

For macro flower shots, if you are using a tripod, you should generally use mirror lockup (if hand-held there is no point in mirror lockup and it isn’t workable). With the camera on a tripod, there is no downside to mirror lockup—it can only help with vibrations. Somewhat counter-intuitively, mirror lockup is most important at fairly fast shutter speeds (by macro standards), between 1/60 of a second to 2 seconds. With exposures longer than 2 seconds it matters less, because the vibrations caused by the mirror plopping down are a less significant percentage of the total exposure!


2. Capture artistic photos by stacking your filters.

Play with techniques like selective focus, in-camera multiple exposure, deliberate under- or overexposure, stacking your filters, and more. When stacking your filters, stack the ND (Neutral Density) filter first, because it is double threaded and the polarizer is not. This also works better because you need to be able to rotate the outer element of the polarizer. You also probably wouldn’t want to shoot with the polarizer going through another piece of glass! Make sure to compensate for your filters by increasing your exposure.


3. Use a contrasting, uncluttered background.

Try photographing flowers from behind or underneath to capture a different point of view. Get in a position where nothing distracts from your subject, and the focus is on your main flower. To make your flower pop even more, while maintaining balance in your composition, try to position the flower against a background with a contrasting color. For example, photograph a red flower against a sea of green grass or a yellow flower against a deep blue sky.


4. Avoid grain degradation when printing by selecting the right ISO.

The ISO you need to avoid grain degradation when you are printing an enlargement of a photograph depends on many variables, including the sensor and the camera you are using. Recent models are much better about processing relatively high ISOs without noise becoming out of hand. Also, the size of print you will make has a big impact. Finally, don’t forget that underexposure is one of the biggest causes of noise when you boost the dark areas. All that said, when using a Nikon D800 you might be relatively comfortable going up to ISO 800, just to provide a basis for comparison. Remember that the craft of photography is largely a craft of trade-offs.


5. Stop and smell the roses.

Have fun with the process and take your time. As you’re walking, make sure you’re paying attention and seeing all the possibilities. Rather than photographing every flower, go with the things that really catch your eye and speak to you the most about a particular spot, whether they’re small or large. Once you find an intriguing subject, take a few minutes approaching it from all sorts of angles before settling on your composition.


Now that you have a few new ideas for inspiration, take the next step toward capturing mind-blowing macro photography, when you see here for a chance to take best-selling author Harold Davis’ online Craftsy class Photographing Flowers. Get instant access to seven easy-to-follow video lessons you can watch anytime, anywhere (even on-the-go!), forever.


What tips and tricks do you have for photographing flowers?

One fortunate PictureCorrect reader will be randomly selected on June 9, 2014 at midnight MT. This has been a sponsored post kindly brought to us by Craftsy.

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Interesting Photo of the Day: Hot Air Balloon Over the Mountains

Posted: 30 May 2014 01:58 PM PDT

Michal Karcz is a big Steve Roach fan. The Polish photographic fine artist loves the American ambient soundscape musician so much that this photo, a delicate scene combining a floating hot-air balloon in some Mount Everest landscape, ought to feel quite loud and robust—but it doesn’t. Like most of Karcz’s shots and all of Roach’s music, it feels minimalist, surreal, and awe-inspiring:

The image shows off Karcz’s excellent eye for composition. (Via Imgur. Click for larger image.)

The artist relied heavily on Photoshop for this image, to be sure; skeptics will note the balloon’s shadow as being somewhat flat and off-kilter from the ray of golden light, for example. But the overall effect is pretty magical.

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DIY Photo Covered Coffee Table (Video)

Posted: 30 May 2014 11:10 AM PDT

Family photos or vacation pictures make excellent gifts as canvas prints, framed artwork, or greeting cards. But, what photo gifts can you give your friends and family once you’ve exhausted the usual options?

Canon has collaborated with “A Beautiful Mess” blogger sisters, Elsie and Emma, to create DIY projects using your favorite photos. In this short video, they  explain how you can use your pictures to decorate a common piece of furniture and make a great conversation piece:

How To Create Your Own Photo Covered Coffee Table

1. Locate (or build) a table. You will need a coffee table that has a 1 centimeter deep lip around the edge. The lip is necessary to contain the resin when you pour it on the surface of the table to cover the photos.

photo furniture

Use a table with a raised edge to contain the resin.

2. Tape off the edges. Use painter’s tape to cover the edges of the table (or any surface you don’t want coated with resin).

3. Print your photos. Create prints in any dimensions you desire–just make sure they will fit completely on the table top.

4. Plan your design. Arrange your photos on the surface of the coffee table. If you would like to add an extra dimension to your work, consider placing 3D objects like shells, rocks, or other mementos that compliment the images on top of the photos.

5. Glue the photos. Use a spray adhesive to coat the back of the photos and adhere them to the table top. Make sure you lay each photo flat on the surface, eliminating air bubbles as you smooth it down.

6. Mix the epoxy resin. Combine the two ingredients in the epoxy resin according to the instructions on the box. Choose an epoxy that does not yellow, as this will change the color of your photographs.

7. Pour epoxy. Coat the table surface with the epoxy resin, allowing the liquid to spread out. Make sure you pour enough resin on the table to fully cover the photos and any objects you embedded, but don’t add too much or you run the risk of overflowing!

8. Torch out any bubbles. Use a small propane torch (like those used to make creme brûlée) to heat the epoxy and bring all air bubbles to the surface. Keep the torch in motion to avoid burning the epoxy or the table.

9. Dry it completely. Let the table sit overnight to completely cure. Make sure nothing touches the surface until it is totally dry, as it may leave a mark.

photo gifts

That’s all there is to it!

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