21 May 2012

A foray into Family Portraits

When one of my dear friends Sally asked if I'd come and take some family portraits of their recently expanded family, I was both honoured and slightly terrified at the thought. Having mucked around for a year or so now with my DSLR taking pictures here and there of our family and the great outdoor, I guess at some point the time was going to come when I'd have to start putting into serious practice some of the things I'd learnt. Like how to get good natural lighting, what aperture and shutter speeds mean, the rule of thirds, how to remove background distractions, and how to really enhance a photo with some cropping and post-process editing.

We'd provisionally agreed Saturday 3pm for the session, although Sally had been totally fine with me having to reschedule if I hadn't recovered enough from the reflux scare earlier in the week and the nasty cold that followed it. Anyway, being in bed for 3 days did have its upside, as it gave me the opportunity to do a little research on creative shots to create, so I felt I'd done a little groundwork before I arrived at the shoot. I found some wonderful ideas at Kelly Garvey Photography and whilst I wouldn't dare to say I came anywhere near creating anything of her standard, I do love the amazing natural light she is able to achieve, and if I am able to do more family photography in the future (i.e. can twist anyone else's arm to be my guinea pigs), then it's a style I'd love to aim for.

We chose Sally and Olly's bedroom for the majority of the shots as was the best room in the house for natural light. In mid-afternoon on a late autumn day it was pretty important to have the best light possible, and as it was also freezing cold outside with a strong southerly blowing (despite clear skies) any outside shots were definitely out of the running.

So how'd the shoot go? Well, I didn't attempt all of the shots I'd intended, and we were wise to end our photo session when we did as little Timothy (10 weeks old) was due for a sleep and a feed, whilst big brother Josh (two and a half) was finding the bed way too tempting and went straight from being photographed into a big rough and tumble session with his dad.

After taking the opportunity (since I had camera in hand) to stop on the Petone foreshore and make the most of the amazing setting sun, I then proceeded to stay up way too late on Saturday night editing my favourite shots to put together 40 for Sally and Olly to look through.

Below are my favourite shots from the day.

One of the best things about this session was that I learnt. A lot. Things like getting a two and a half year old to sit still for a photo for any length of time is pretty impossible. Although given I have one of those very same aged little people at home, I'm  not sure why I shouldn't have expected that!

It's also not quite as easy to photograph a slightly older baby as a newborn who can be posed in more elaborate positions all while still staying blissfully asleep and still!

Well practice makes perfect as they say, so now I just need some more willing participants for the next session and the next, to keep perfecting and practicing. And maybe in about ten years I can quit my day job and do what I love all the time. Well a girl can dream huh!

I'd love to hear which of these photos are your favourites, and if you have any (constructive) criticism I'll happily take that on board too!

And if you live locally and are interested in being my next subjects (at no charge of course, you can pay me in chocolate or home baking *wink*) then let me know!


Ange (Tall, Short and Tiny) said...

These are beautiful photos, Meg!
Seriously struggling to say which are my faves, but I do love the two of the two boys, and the last two of mama and bubs. There's something about the sleeping babe one, with the hint of the bed in the background, that makes it seem extra cosy.
Time to quit your day job!!

Cat said...

awww Megs
those were magic!
good job friend

love and light

Anonymous said...

I love them Meghan - you've done a great job! I'm not a photographer but the piece of advice I would give you is to be mindful of your background. Like the pic of Mum and Timothy - gorgeous - but I'm distracted by the frame in the background. Without it you'd have a lot of beautiful fresh white space there. Ditto with the pic of Mum cuddling Timothy all wrapped up - just gorgeous - but in the background it's a big ole mess of bed, if you know what I mean? But I could just be super fussy. :) On the whole though I think you've nailed it! If only I lived in Wellington, I'd get you to come practise on my family! :)

Nikki said...

meg, These photos are so good! Well done on having your first 'clients'! My fav is the one of all 4 of them, so much fun! I can only dream of becoming a professional photographer. We should become a team! Xx

Nikki said...

Meg, these photos are great! My fav is the one of all 4 of them, It's so much fun! Well done for having your first shoot! I can only dream of that! We should seriously start a team, imagine if we combined our creativeness- we'd be invincible! Xx

beckylusby said...

Awesome photos meg! You really have a knack at capturing great photos! Would love to be volunteers if you need some practice....we are still to get a nice family shot my kids are such wrigglers!

Penny said...

gorgeous shots Meghan, Sally and Olly look great...and of course if you are ever tempted to do some pink girlie shots we have girls aplenty here :)

Widge said...

Wow Stunning Meghan!

I wish we lived locally!! would totally love to take you up on your offer :)(we actually have no family shots!)
I struggle heaps with the 2 year old and newborn posing too (and it seems to be the most popular age gap! gah!!
I would love to branch out and do more of what you have done here. I love the black and white tower pose.

In the studio we have to stick with so many rules, ours isn't creative photography, it's sausage factory studio colour-inside-the lines stuff and it can become so frustrating. Our biggest rule is Smiles and all kids looking in the camera (SO HARD!)
though we do use a tri pod which helps with the childs play SO much.

You are such an amazing photographer, can't wait to see more of your work like this.

Gail said...

Love the photos - you have so many giftings. Almost unfairly so!!

Miriam said...

These are fantastic shots - if we lived in Wgtn I'd be on the doorstep with home baking and chocolate right now! I love all of them but I think the family tower and the two boys on the bed together looking up are the ones I'd be framing - or I'd make a whole wall of them.
You are very talented and I mean that really sincerely

Sammy said...

These are awesome. The first and second are my favourites. Wish we lived locally.....!

Brigitte said...

STUNNING photos!! Wow. You have done a WONDERFUL job from what I can see - go you good thing!! You're onto a good thing here I'm thinking! :) X

Sophie Slim said...

BEAutiful family portraits! Soo lovely :) x

Sophie Slim said...

(My favs are the top half - love the different focuses in the shot)

You did a really great job at capturing this pretty family :) Beeeautiful babas


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