Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 28

Thread: The value of family pictures

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    The value of family pictures

    Nobody understands better than me that these three images are nothing more than very informal, candid images that include inadequacies such as a background that is less than ideal, small amounts of white paint on the wood step and the like. However, it would be really a shame if serious photographers such as ourselves didn't capture moments like these and occasionally share them to advocate that we continue taking advantage of similar family situations. The reason is simple: I believe photography is at its best when it moves people in a positive way and seeing my wife absolutely melt when she saw these three images of our niece proves that that part of the mission was accomplished.

    I am very fortunate that the room the subject and I were in has white walls and a white floor and ceiling that bounce the light around very nicely. I used a strobe mounted onto my camera. The flash was pointed to the ceiling, which is not parallel to the floor. A "better bounce card" device attached to the flash directed some of the flash directly toward the child.

    The first two images were taken one second apart but the third one was taken five minutes later. With the exception of when she was eating dinner and taking her afternoon nap, it was the first time all day that the child stayed in one place for such a long period of time. That in itself is perhaps worth documenting.

    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 25th November 2012 at 02:48 PM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    1,663
    Real Name
    Sergio

    Re: The value of family pictures

    I certainly agree with you, Mike. I think we too often get caught up in getting the perfect shot with all the things you mentioned. We then end up missing that perfect moment or expression, as you captured here. I can see why your wife melted, your niece is adorable. Nice job and thanks for sharing the photos and your thoughts on them.
    Last edited by Sergio M.; 25th November 2012 at 11:55 PM.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    I converted the same three images to sepia toning and I like them better this way. I'm not one who feels that sepia toning has to be used only on "timeless" images of the past.


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures

  4. #4
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,014
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Those are beautiful photos of a precious little girl, Mike. I agree with what you've said. I'm guilty of hardly ever taking photos of family & friends. I've never been very good at people photography so I tend to shy away from it. But you've reminded me that it's a good thing to do anyway.

  5. #5
    kdoc856's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,959
    Real Name
    Kevin

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Truly lovely shots, Mike. Well worth sharing. I am quite impressed with the evenness of the lighting- bounce from the ceiling often gives less than satisfactory shadowing beneath the eyes, nose, lips and chin, but your flash "re-direct" worked really well. Did you use a Rogue bender or something similar?

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Thank you, everyone!

    Kevin: You're right that the device that I attached to the speedlight to direct some of the flash forward uses the same principles as the Rogue bender. It's called A Better Bounce Card or ABBC as the short version of the name. Despite that it's sold commercially, the owner of the company made a video instructing how to make the do-it-yourself version out of foam and velcro available at most any craft store: http://photosorcery.blogspot.com/200...unce-card.html

    The project cost me about $2.00 in materials. Though the product functions very well, a good friend who saw it immediately asked if I ever passed an art class. When he showed me his card that he made using the same video, his point was well made.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 25th November 2012 at 09:43 PM.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Two more images of the girl captured using the same equipment at the same event, room and conditions with people all around enjoying the holiday get-together. A bit more post-processing time was required to deal with the background. They aren't the quality of controlled circumstances in a studio. However, in the spirit of this thread about the value of making family photos, they do at least an adequate job.


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 26th November 2012 at 12:37 AM.

  8. #8
    Loose Canon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,455
    Real Name
    Terry

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Hi Mike!

    In my mind, informal shots like these have just as much value, if not more, than anything formal and should never be underestimated. These are the kind of shots parents (and Aunts) go nuts over! And these are particularly enchanting. The little perceived imperfections/inadequacies I think makes them. It should be understood that this is what you get when you endeavor to shoot this kind of photo. It is very easy for folks (myself included) to look at a photo after the fact and critique the soup out of it. But the fact remains that the photo would never have happened in any other environment/setting. The little background/paint/whatever becomes inconsequential in light of the subject matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    The reason is simple: I believe photography is at its best when it moves people in a positive way and seeing my wife absolutely melt when she saw these three images of our niece proves that that part of the mission was accomplished.
    There is nothing better!

    If I had to make a suggestion, I would suggest trying a nice, subtle vignetting.

    Very nice Mike and what a cutie-pie!
    Last edited by Loose Canon; 25th November 2012 at 11:58 PM.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Thanks so much for your insightful comments, Terry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Canon View Post
    It should be understood that this is what you get when you endeavor to shoot this kind of photo.
    You remind me of a master photographer from the 1950s or earlier whose name doesn't immediately come to mind. When it was suggested by another photographer that so many photographs had already been made that nothing new could be made, he set his camera to delay the shutter release and threw it high into the air. Upon catching the camera, he simply advised his companion that it wouldn't be possible to duplicate the resulting image. Part of the moral of the story, as you note, is that you have to be there to capture the image and, when it comes to families, you can't capture it if you aren't at the family gathering including all the challenges that come with that situaiton.

    I like your suggestion about the vignette and will certainly try it out. All too often, I forget to use that post-processing method so much so that I wonder if I have a mental block against it for reasons that are unknown to me.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    803
    Real Name
    Gretchen

    Re: The value of family pictures

    As a hobbyist, all I take is pictures of what and who are close to me. Boy, do they get tired of me and my camera! NOw that my son is 6'2", I can tell you I am glad I spent so much money on film and processing (we didn't have) when he was young. That little boy is never coming back and pictures are all I have.

    I love the close crops on the B&W.

    This little girl will appreciate your pictures someday, when she is looking at her own little girl and seeing the similarities.

    Thanks for posting.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by ggt View Post
    That little boy is never coming back and pictures are all I have.
    Gotta love it! It used to be that we could say that pictures are the only material things that we have, but in this age of digital images, they aren't material. Most important, don't forget that we have our memories, though I do acknowledge that the photos help bring back the memories.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Terry,

    The vignettes work very nicely (though I haven't replaced the above files with photos that make use of them). Thanks for the idea!

  13. #13
    Loose Canon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,455
    Real Name
    Terry

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Awesome Mike! And you are most welcome!

    If you have the time or inclination maybe you might consider posting your vignetted files for folks to see the difference?

    I know you know this, but I wanted to mention for general purposes that portrait vignetting can give a “targeted light” look as well as help draw attention away from a busy or less than ideal background.


    I am a huge (and I mean huge) fan of tight B&W portraiture and had a lot closer look at yours!

    Your little Sweetie’s B&W’s are just gorgeous.

    I’m sorry, but I disagree with your assessment of the quality of controlled circumstances vs. what you have here. I think you can easily get as good a quality, as you have demonstrated. The difference being that one might have more control over things like backgrounds and of course lighting in a formal setting. But also you might not have gotten these shots either. Things can get stiff and uncomfortable when folks get “under the lights” in a studio environment. Whatever effort you expended with your backgrounds in these shots was certainly worth it.

    Your conversions look great. The one little suggestion I might offer is to remove the stray hairs from her eye in #1.

    Very nice work Mike and thank you for reminding us of what is important.
    Last edited by Loose Canon; 26th November 2012 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Can't spell my way out of a wet paper bag!

  14. #14
    kdoc856's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,959
    Real Name
    Kevin

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Mike,

    Thanks for posting the tutorial link. Totally useful DiY project. Although it wont be a replacement for my Rogue bender, your superb results have inspired me to actually get my bender OUT OF MY KIT, and take advantage of it. Your tight crop B&Ws are brilliant.

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Rotherham
    Posts
    247
    Real Name
    Keith

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Such a pretty little girl Mike. My personal preference is for the coloured pictures as they are less formal and little kids are anything but formal.

    These personal images are so very precious as none of us know what the future holds and the memory does play tricks. I saw a little boy splashing through puddles yesterday afternoon whilst walking with my 18 year old grandson. I commented that I remembered him doing that and he replied that he was probably not anywhere near so cute - how wrong he is and I have both the memories and the pictures to prove it.

    Thank you for sharing the picture with us.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Terry asked to see the images with the vignette applied, so I'm happy to comply, especially considering that it was his idea to apply it. If you don't actually notice the vignette, I have accomplished my goal. That's a gentle warning that many and perhaps most people will prefer a stronger vignette that wouldn't be to my taste. Earlier in the day we were at a petting zoo, so I also applied subtle vignettes to some of the "portraits" of the animals.


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures


    The value of family pictures

  17. #17

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Kevin,

    I'm glad you have the photos of your grandson splashing in the puddles, but now that he is 18 years old I would bet that you were not able to convince him that he was cute in them.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    17,902

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Terry,

    I forgot to thank you for your second round of kind comments about the photos.

    You're absolutely correct of course about the need to remove the hair from my niece's eye in the first black-and-white closeup. I might get around to doing that, but I'm not sure the quality of the image deserves that much time spent to get that detail right. I do know that my relatives who aren't nearly so discriminating would rather have the photo earlier with the stray hair than have to wait for the version without it.

  19. #19
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    12,444
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Kevin: You're right that the device that I attached to the speedlight to direct some of the flash forward uses the same principles as the Rogue bender. It's called A Better Bounce Card or ABBC as the short version of the name. Despite that it's sold commercially, the owner of the company made a video instructing how to make the do-it-yourself version out of foam and velcro available at most any craft store: http://photosorcery.blogspot.com/200...unce-card.html

    Bouncing your flash and using a diffuser/reflector to modify the light is a great way to achieve natural looking lighting and to avoid the "deer in the hearlights" lok of straight on flash.

    There are many types of reflector/difusers available and all of them work to one degree or another and all of them combined with a bounced flash will provide better lighting than straight on flash.

    I use a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro (www.dembflashproducts.com) because IMO the articulating FlipIt portion of the DFD makes this unit more versatile than diffuser/reflectors which do not articulate. The advantage of the variable angle FlipIt is that you can use this in areas in which there is no ceiling off which to bounde (outdoors at night) or when the ceiling is too high or to dark off which to effectively bounce.

    The DFD is not terribly expensive as photo equipment goes but, it certainly more expensive than the DIY reflector/diffuser introduced in the video.

    However, this reflector/diffuser from eBay has a variable angle reflector, like the Demb Flash Diffuser Pro and also has various color inserts. The price presently is really low and I don't think it will end in a terribly high bid.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Flash-Diffus...item1c2dc1574c



    The project cost me about $2.00 in materials. Though the product functions very well, a good friend who saw it immediately asked if I ever passed an art class. When he showed me his card that he made using the same video, his point was well made.

  20. #20
    Daisy Mae's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Wick, Caithness, Scotland.
    Posts
    2,526
    Real Name
    Sharon

    Re: The value of family pictures

    Mike...I think that the 2 B&W's are both a lovely family record and a merit worthy work of art in themselves.

    The first mono is my favourite and there's a slight horizontal line across her face and a wee 'blob' on the outer edge of her cheek that could be removed to create a most touching and evocative picture of real studio quality.

    Well done.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •