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Thread: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

  1. #1

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    Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    So, I was asked by my former sister in law (Who I still have a good relationship with) If I would do a shoot with my nieces and a new puppy they are getting in a couple weeks. The only info I have so far is "in two weeks" and obviously, it will be outside, as she said she wants to shoot with them running around and sitting with their puppy. It will be mid April, in upstate NY, with unpredictable weather. Does anyone have any good ideas for best time to shoot, lenses etc? She knows I am just starting out, and wants the photos, more for just her personal collection at home, but I also don't want to let her down. Any ideas? The girls are 9 and 2.

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Hi Annette,

    I'll jot a few thoughts down, but I'll miss loads, so others will fill the gap I hope.

    Ideal encourage their Mum to have the girls wear pastel colours that compliment the puppy, no text or bold patterns on their clothes.

    Don't shoot at the sun's zenith if you can avoid it, or people will be squinting if bright (assuming it shines!), earlier or later will be better.

    Don't shoot with flash (especially on-camera flash) aimed at the puppy or you'll get "pet eye" if it looks at you.

    Can you remind us what camera, lens(es) and flash you have at your disposal?

    Cheers,

  3. #3
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Use a telephoto zoom so you aren't in their space too much, especially the puppy who will really get in your face (or lens) once you point the camera at it. Also, some low angle shots for both the nieces and the pup.

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Annette,

    I'll jot a few thoughts down, but I'll miss loads, so others will fill the gap I hope.

    Ideal encourage their Mum to have the girls wear pastel colours that compliment the puppy, no text or bold patterns on their clothes.

    Don't shoot at the sun's zenith if you can avoid it, or people will be squinting if bright (assuming it shines!), earlier or later will be better.

    Don't shoot with flash (especially on-camera flash) aimed at the puppy or you'll get "pet eye" if it looks at you.

    Can you remind us what camera, lens(es) and flash you have at your disposal?

    Cheers,
    Thanks Dave, I did not know about the clothing... so thanks for that, the sun I knew that noon or 1 is not the best time and the flash I kind of figured. Shoot with the sun behind them then?

    I have a Nikon D5200, camera flash, (I have an external flash on my wishlist for my birthday in a couple weeks) I only have the kit lens 18 - 55 mm f/3.5-5.6G and I bought a 50mm F/1.8

  5. #5

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    John,

    I do have a starter Vivitar telephoto attachment for my lens, but again, just starting out with my accessories, so sort of limited in that sense. I could probably go out and buy one if need be, but was trying not to buy any lenses before my birthday as I have a wishlist on Amazon for my boyfriend to choose from

  6. #6
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Hi, Annette

    I love those challenges. Dave got you off to a good start. I'll just add a couple.

    Have an old blanket or towel handy that you can lay down so you can sit, kneel or get on your belly on it. You'll want to get as low as the kids and dog part of the time for the eye-level perspective that often works so well with little things.

    Avoid the flash if possible, but you might need it on a sunny day if you're in a sunlit area with harsh, contrasty sunlight to give you some fill flash.

    If you have the guys in a posed shot, cram them close together-closer than is natural to them. The photograph will really emphasize any gaps between them.

    Don't be afraid to push your ISO a lot higher than you're usually comfortable with- you'll likely need about 1/500th shutter. An ISO of 1600 isn't unthinkable anymore.

    Enough from me, others will have more. Have a great time.

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    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    One more thought. How about bringing an umbrella? Could help in the rain, could help in the bright sun as a sun block and diffuser, and what potential you might find with 2 little girls and a pup under an umbrella!

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Hi Annette - I did something similar over Easter although I wasn't given forward notice - I used my zoom lens (John's suggestion is a good one) and got some really natural looking shots - some posed and others not - happy to give you a link to my Facebook album (if you have facebook) to give you an idea of the results

  9. #9

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by kdoc856 View Post
    Hi, Annette

    I love those challenges. Dave got you off to a good start. I'll just add a couple.

    Have an old blanket or towel handy that you can lay down so you can sit, kneel or get on your belly on it. You'll want to get as low as the kids and dog part of the time for the eye-level perspective that often works so well with little things.

    Avoid the flash if possible, but you might need it on a sunny day if you're in a sunlit area with harsh, contrasty sunlight to give you some fill flash.

    If you have the guys in a posed shot, cram them close together-closer than is natural to them. The photograph will really emphasize any gaps between them.

    Don't be afraid to push your ISO a lot higher than you're usually comfortable with- you'll likely need about 1/500th shutter. An ISO of 1600 isn't unthinkable anymore.

    Enough from me, others will have more. Have a great time.
    All great ideas Dave, I would never have thought of a blanket, but yeah, makes sense! The crammed together idea sounds great, luckily they are still at that age that they won't mind I am sure. I tend to push the ISO high anyway, which I have to try to get out of the habit of doing so much, but I will try it for these shots. Thanks for all of the ideas!

  10. #10

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Love the idea of the umbrella. Especially with the girls. I only have a black one and a small pink one, but I will add that to the list of props and other things I will need

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by HAZZA View Post
    Hi Annette - I did something similar over Easter although I wasn't given forward notice - I used my zoom lens (John's suggestion is a good one) and got some really natural looking shots - some posed and others not - happy to give you a link to my Facebook album (if you have facebook) to give you an idea of the results
    Harry, I would love to see how they turned out. Would that be the link in your signature?

  12. #12

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by annette71 View Post
    Harry, I would love to see how they turned out. Would that be the link in your signature?
    Hi Annette - link below - I hadn't put them on my photography page as yet - just a footnote they are unedited versions

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...8433751&type=3
    Last edited by HAZZA; 3rd April 2013 at 11:40 PM.

  13. #13

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Hi Annette,

    Kids may fidget so put the camera in continuous shooting mode, take bursts, then you'll have a better chance at getting a great shot.

    George

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Hi Annette!

    A couple more thoughts for your shoot?

    If you don’t already have it on there, add a 5in1 reflector/diffuser to your wish list. And to your external flash, add either radio triggers or a flash sync cable that is compatible with your Nikon gear (iTTL, I believe?). One example is OCFGear.com. Be nice to have a shoot-through or reflective umbrella, or maybe a for-speedlight softbox. Also, you could bounce off the reflector or possibly shoot through the diffuser.

    Press Sis-in-Law into assistantship to handle the reflector/diffuser/off-camera flash.

    I would definitely use flash or at the very least reflected light of some kind. Or at the very least have it available. Especially if I were shooting subjects backlit by the sun. This to lift the shadows in the face. If its not incredibly bright outside you might even control the exposure of your ambient and bring out your subjects more.

    If you can talk Boyfriend into an early birthday, acquire the gear and start working with it before the shoot.

    Though you can't always control them completely, keep an eye on your backgrounds, watch for ‘branches-coming-out-of-heads”, things like that! If you can, shoot with your aperture open as much as possible to blur backgrounds.

    Chances are that with the girls and the puppy, it’s going to be a fast-paced shoot! Especially chasing them around! At least until everyone gets worn down some! Blankets and ground pads are a great idea, but you may not be able to easily haul them around with you as you chase the shot. So just wear something that you are not afraid to get down and dirty in just in case.

    Most of all, and this will make more difference than the gear…

    Make sure everyone has a blast!

    A couple of Grandson putzing ‘round the backyard! Shot with a flash on a bracket wearing a Fong Lightshpere. Flash on ETTL. 70-200mm. Shot at his level. I told Mom not to dress him in a patterned shirt! So much for anyone listening to anything!

    Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Need some tips for an informal family shoot

  15. #15

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by HAZZA View Post
    Hi Annette - link below - I hadn't put them on my photography page as yet - just a footnote they are unedited versions

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...8433751&type=3
    Wow, beautiful shots and what a beautiful family. The ones of the little boy with the yellow shirt are especially fantastic. Love the lighting on those. Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing!

  16. #16

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by geoz View Post
    Hi Annette,

    Kids may fidget so put the camera in continuous shooting mode, take bursts, then you'll have a better chance at getting a great shot.

    George
    Thanks George, I was actually thinking about that about an hour ago. Kids and pets, tough subjects!

  17. #17

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Canon View Post
    Hi Annette!

    A couple more thoughts for your shoot?

    If you don’t already have it on there, add a 5in1 reflector/diffuser to your wish list. And to your external flash, add either radio triggers or a flash sync cable that is compatible with your Nikon gear (iTTL, I believe?). One example is OCFGear.com. Be nice to have a shoot-through or reflective umbrella, or maybe a for-speedlight softbox. Also, you could bounce off the reflector or possibly shoot through the diffuser.

    Press Sis-in-Law into assistantship to handle the reflector/diffuser/off-camera flash.

    I would definitely use flash or at the very least reflected light of some kind. Or at the very least have it available. Especially if I were shooting subjects backlit by the sun. This to lift the shadows in the face. If its not incredibly bright outside you might even control the exposure of your ambient and bring out your subjects more.

    If you can talk Boyfriend into an early birthday, acquire the gear and start working with it before the shoot.

    Though you can't always control them completely, keep an eye on your backgrounds, watch for ‘branches-coming-out-of-heads”, things like that! If you can, shoot with your aperture open as much as possible to blur backgrounds.

    Chances are that with the girls and the puppy, it’s going to be a fast-paced shoot! Especially chasing them around! At least until everyone gets worn down some! Blankets and ground pads are a great idea, but you may not be able to easily haul them around with you as you chase the shot. So just wear something that you are not afraid to get down and dirty in just in case.

    Most of all, and this will make more difference than the gear…

    Make sure everyone has a blast!

    A couple of Grandson putzing ‘round the backyard! Shot with a flash on a bracket wearing a Fong Lightshpere. Flash on ETTL. 70-200mm. Shot at his level. I told Mom not to dress him in a patterned shirt! So much for anyone listening to anything!

    Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Need some tips for an informal family shoot
    Thanks for all of the suggestions Terry. Just talked with sister in law and she wants to do the shoot in May now. Our forecasts just look awful here is NY. April is always so iffy. So this will give me more time to prepare. I actually do have this on my wishlist, so funny you should mention it.

    http://www.amazon.com/60x90cm-Softbo...A3PWVWBD5K1VWA

    Your grandson is absolutely adorable and I especially like the last one in front of the tree!

    Edited to say that isn't the link to my exact wishlist item, but it is similar to that one.

  18. #18

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by annette71 View Post
    Wow, beautiful shots and what a beautiful family. The ones of the little boy with the yellow shirt are especially fantastic. Love the lighting on those. Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing!
    Thanks Annette, you are welcome - good luck with it all. I am hoping to do a planned shoot with my niece and her kids soon, just waiting on my50mm Prime Lens to arrive (P.s - the little boy you mentioned is my nieces eldest - he has had a number of modelling shoots, TV magazine etc - very photogenic little boy

  19. #19

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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by HAZZA View Post
    Thanks Annette, you are welcome - good luck with it all. I am hoping to do a planned shoot with my niece and her kids soon, just waiting on my50mm Prime Lens to arrive (P.s - the little boy you mentioned is my nieces eldest - he has had a number of modelling shoots, TV magazine etc - very photogenic little boy
    That's great, he is very photogenic indeed and a cutie. Good luck to him and his modeling career!

  20. #20
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    Re: Need some tips for an informal family shoot

    Wide angle, low and zone focusing !!! Looking forward to images !!

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