3 Tips for Better Group & Family Photos This Summer

Family Portraits Raleigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love summer time because there are just more opportunities to get toether and do things with the people we love! And we all love taking group photos when we’re together with family & friends, whether it’s with our phone cameras and other type cameras. Well, here’s a few tips on how to get the most out of those group and family snap shot photos you take this summer.

  1. Lighting. Yes, in photography it’s all about lighting, in case you haven’t heard. This comes before backgrounds or anything else.
    • For outdoor photos, the absolute best natural lighting will come from indirect sunlight, or open sky. This creates the best large natural light source and beautiful catchlights in the eyes. It really opens up the iris for better color in the eyes also without having to squint like you do from direct sun.
    • If you can position the subjects so that the indirect light is coming from above at roughly 45 degrees and in front of the subject, it will look the best. You can do this by having buildings, trees or something blocking the open sky on all but the front side of the subject. A great example of this is using a building overhang and put your subjects just a few feet behind the edge of the roof line. This will force the light from the sky to be more directional and hit the subjects at an angle vs straight down from overhead.
    • In general the larger the light source, the better the quality of light will be.
    • Inside, you can use a large window with indirect light coming through it for your light source.
    • Also, as a general place to start, if your light source is 45 degrees above and to the side of the subject, you will get nice directional lighting that will create some shadows for depth & dimension. Of course there’s a lot more to good lighting, but these are a few tips that should get you on the path to a well lit photo.
  2. Background. Most phone cameras have a fixed wide angle lens and because of the camera design and sensor proximity to the lens, you can’t get blurry or out of focus backgrounds like you can with DSLR cameras. This makes it even more critical to find a pleasing background since it will be in focus and any distracting elements will show up.
    • Finding solid color backgrounds or with as little pattern as possible will help minimize background distraction
    • Background lighting – If you can find a background that has less light on it than your foreground subjects, this will also help minimize background distraction. This is tricky though, because you don’t want the background more than 1-2 stops (times) darker than the subjects.
    • If you want to take it even one step further, find a background with a color or tone that works with the subjects’ clothing tones or is at least complimentary (remember the color wheel?
  3. Posing. Yep, this is the tricky part. Group posing is the hardest because the goal is to get every individual posed so that they can stand alone and still look good without the group.
    • Body types – The subjects closer to the camera will appear larger, so have larger people in the back and smaller thinner people in the front. This will minimize apparent body size.
    • Geometry – In groups, it’s all about head positioning. In general you don’t want all the heads on the same horizontal plane. Try to create diamonds or triangles with head positions. If you have a really large group, you should have multiple geometric patterns within the larger group.
    • Females – Have females stand with their weight on their back foot and front leg bent slightly. This creates nice subtle curves in the posing lines. Also, have females turn at an angle to the camera to appear thinner.
    • Males – For males, posing should incorporate strong geometric shapes with right angles, hard lines etc. You typically want males straight on to the camera as well, so they look more broad shouldered (in most cases).
    • I guess we can consider expressions part of posing. Have an idea of what expressions should be so that they’re all consistent at the very least. There’s a lot to expressions as well, but this is where you can get creative and have some fun too.

Alright, so now your equipped with a little more info for creating some great group and family portraits this summer. Have fun, get creative and create some great images to preserve those important moments, but most importantly make sure you enjoy the time with your friends or family this summer!

For more info on family portraits check out our family portrait page here or contact us here. 

Family Portraits Raleigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ready or not, here it comes…..Senior year and senior portraits!

We are quickly approaching our oldest daughter’s senior year and although we knew she was the class of 2018, it has arrived and pretty much blindsided us! How did our baby girl get to be a senior in high school? That being said, we ourselves have been thinking and planning our special Senior Portraits and getting a handle on when and where this should take place.  Since we do this for a living, we thought we would walk you all through the planning process and the questions and timeline that have helped us make some decisions.

First on the subject of When? When deciding on when to schedule your session or take your pictures, Spring of your Junior year or the summer following are typical. We have not done ours yet because that is how we roll with planning (a cobbler’s children have no shoes, right?), but we do have a plan now! We want to capture this special season in multiple locations that are special to us, so ours will take place this summer and again ithe fall! But if you are just now making a plan, the summer is a great time to schedule your session and meet with your photographer to custom plan your session. The summer before the senior year is less busy (than the fall when sports and classes pick back up) and who doesn’t want a little sun kissed color on your cheeks?!

Secondly, where should we schedule the portrait session? What is your vision for the images? Studio, formal, polished? Or perhaps a location shoot in that special place of memories or to capture the free side of your child’s personality?

Other things to consider: special interests, hobbies, sports, pets that are special to your childs school years. What are the things that you will want to remember looking back years from now?

So whether you are looking for a quick session to document the season, fulfill a yearbook or school graduation need or you want to go all out with a special custom designed senior session to capture the closing of chapter and the opening of the next, we would love to answer any questions you may have! Let us schedule you for a FREE consultation to plan the perfect portraits for your High School Senior! Contact us here or visit our Senior Portrait page here for more info.

jessica-hofer2Senior_Portraits-1034-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Captain Bill’s – Good times, Good memories!

Captain Bills Backyard Grill in Wilmington celebrated 25 years in March in routine fashion hosting a beach volleyball tournament. We were privileged to join them for great food, fun and volleyball as we photographed the day for friends and owners John and Erin Musser. The day did not disappoint!

We lived in Wilmington for 6 1/2 years after college and became regulars at Captain Bills. Playing ball with friends, enjoying great food and making memories were always on the menu. Speaking of the menu, we had a chance to photograph one of their top menu items for the website when we were down for the celebration. We love photographing food dishes because we get to sample the food, and in this case their custom crafted beers! 🙂

Recently, John and Erin embarked on a new adventure with their daughter and son-in-law. Bill’s Front Porch, just in front of Captain Bills, is a new brewery and restaurant with more great food and atmosphere. Just check out this front porch! It is such a beautiful place and I am sure it will become another favorite place on our frequent visits to Wilmington!

Bills Front Porch

Bills Front Porch

Captain Bill's Volleyball Tournament

Captain Bill’s Volleyball Tournament

Wilmington Food Photography

Bills Front Porch Dish

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Children’s Bereavement Camp Donation

I’ve had the privilege to work with an incredible organization over the past 5 or so years. Comfort Zone Camp is a nation wide bereavement camp that helps children, who’ve lost siblings or parents, grieve, heal and grow. You can’t help but be moved by some of the
stories shared and transformations that I’ve witnessed while photographing at the camps and fund raisers. It certainly makes you stop appreciate your own family and children.

New York Life is one of the major sponsors of the local camps, that are free to attendees, and they recently presented a $25,000 check to CZC during a mini family camp event here in Raleigh. Loved helping out with our small contribution and photographing the check presentation for them!

Raleigh event photography

 

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Speaker / Trainer Photo Shoot

We had a client come in recently who needed some specific looks for her national corporate training website. She needed images for her website showing her presenting and a regular head shot. We shot everything on a white background so the subject could be extracted easily by the graphics design person working on the clients web site. We’re only showing the white background images here, except for the head shot, because we don’t have the final composite images. At the clients request, we did include one of our digital composite backgrounds for the head shot because she liked our background options so much. The head shot was fairly simple, but the presentation images were a little challenging because you always want the subject to look natural and engaged, like they’re really presenting to an audience. So how do you achieve that in a studio setting? Well, we picked a topic with input from the client and had her talk to my assistant about it. It also helps when your client is a really polished presenter and already knows what to do with hands and facial expressions. 🙂 The hardest part is finding the right angle at which the subject looks the best and looks naturally engaged, so the images doesn’t look staged. We did have to try both sides of the camera and some different angles, but that’s the key to success, you use your skills and talent to set up the shot that you think will look the best and then you review, adjust and fine tune until it looks great! Fun shoot, the client really loved the images and I learned all about the Netflix documentary “Happy”. 🙂

Check out our head shot page here for more info on professional head shots.

 

Head Shot Speaker Raleigh DSC_3995 DSC_3997

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Commercial Shoot for Physician

Some equipment, behind the scenes, and one final image from a recent commercial shoot at Wake Med Hospital here in Raleigh. We were photographing for the physicians practice but had to do the shoot at the Catheterization Lab at Wake Med where he does the procedures. Understandably Wake Med is a little funny about photos being taken at the hospital so we had to be escorted by staff and then jump in the lab in between procedures for a quick shoot. And let me just say, if you don’t know your lighting and equipment well, these kind of fast paced shoots will frazzle you in a hurry! 🙂 Having small portable lighting with built in wireless controls is key for getting in and fine tuning the lighting quickly so that we could concentrate on our subject vs. fumbling with equipment. In the end we created some great images for this physician showing him in the high tech medical setting that he works in. These images will be great marketing material and looked fantastic in the physician’s magazine article which we were shooting for.

If you or anyone you know has a need for on location commercial photography or head shots, contact us here to get the discussion started and see how we can help showcase you or your business with professional images. To see more of our work, check out our commercial photography page here.

Commercial Photography Raleigh

Commercial photography Raleigh

Commercial photography Raleigh

Commercial photography Raleigh

Commercial photography Raleigh

 

 

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Raleigh Real Estate Agent Head Shot

Love creating nice looking professional images for real estate agents! Real estate agents in Raleigh have lots of competition in this market and a great professional head shot image, for their business cards and online presence, is one important way to set yourself apart from the pack. We’ve been creating lots of head shot for real estate agents in the Raleigh area, so if you or anyone you know needs a professional head shot, feel free to check out our head shot page here for lots of info and examples of our work.

Raleigh Real Estate Head Shot

Raleigh Real Estate Head shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Head Shots for Dr. William Porter’s New Book

I recently was asked to create a couple of portraits for Dr. William Porter’s new book “Miracles in the Life of Ordinary People”. Dr. Porter is a Raleigh based retired professor and charming gentleman that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the past year or so. He writes inspirational books about how God intervenes in peoples lives everyday. It’s a breath of fresh air when contrasted with all the negative news & information we’re bombarded with daily. I would highly encourage checking out his website here to find out more about him and his books.

To see more of our business head shot work, check out our head shot page here.

Author head shot Raleigh Author head shot Raleigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Portrait for Lt. Colonel

I had the privilege of creating a military portrait for a Lt. Colonel in the US Army recently. This portrait will be posted at all of the command centers that he’s in charge of, so we wanted to get this right and make him look good.

We discussed the appropriate expression, stance, etc, as I normally do with clients, before setting up for the shot. The image was photographed on a standard studio background and then we extracted the subject and dropped in a digital background with the right colors and flag. A little extra work, but worthwhile to make sure his portrait looks good and represents him well at the command centers where the chain of command is displayed on the wall. Love the way the final image turned out and enjoyed having the opportunity to create a nice military portrait for one of our service members.

Military Headshot Raleigh

 

 

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Business Head Shot for a Real Estate Agent

I had the pleasure of working with and creating a professional head shot for a new real estate agent recently. Leigh Ann is transitioning into her new career as a residential real estate agent in the Raleigh area and had just recently passed the real estate exam. She was super excited about her new career and wanted to make a great impression with potential clients with a professional image on her business card and the website. We worked with her to choose the right background and outfit that would work well with the company business card color scheme and other places it would be used. I love working with real estate agents and being a small part of helping get their new careers off on the right foot!

Business headshot raleigh nc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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