Professional Photographer to the Rescue: family portrait ideas you’ll treasure forever

    | Photography Tips | Portraits | 04/01/2013 17:00pm

    In our latest Professional Photographer to the Rescue post, our pro suggests some simple family portrait ideas and portrait photography tips that can liven up your group photos to give you more dynamic images, whether it’s your own family portrait photography or a client’s.

    Professional Photographer to the Rescue: family portrait ideas you'll treasure forever

    Meet our professional photographer

    Neill Menneer runs Spirit Contemporary Photography, a photo studio in Bath that specialises in family portraits. Neill also runs photography courses in the studio, and on location around the picturesque city. See more of his work.

    Meet our apprentice

    Paul Furniss runs an ink cartridge recycling and refilling business in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. In the evenings he often converts his shop into a makeshift studio, where he’s undertaken several shoots of family and friends with his Elincrom lighting kit and backdrop set. He’d like to go pro, and wanted our help in taking his portrait photography to the next level.

    Technique assessment

    After an initial round of shots, Neill suggested that Paul changed his camera settings for capturing perfect portraits

    Professional Photographer to the Rescue: technique assessment

    JPEG not RAW

    “Paul had been shooting in RAW mode, which is great for rescuing shots that have been under- or overexposed, or taken on the wrong white balance setting and the like, but in a studio there’s no reason not to get everything spot-on in-camera in the first place. I’ll take around 150 shots in a one-hour session, so having them as JPEGs means editing is faster, file sizes are smaller, and by selecting the Portrait Picture Style you have a head start when it comes to processing.”

    Professional Photographer to the Rescue: technique assessment

    Exposure settings
    “Paul had set the maximum flash sync speed of 1/250 sec – but while this is fine with Speedlites, it isn’t so good with studio flash in my experience. I got him to shoot in Manual at 1/160 sec and f/10, with ISO125 – it’s the speed of the burst of flash and generous depth of field that combine to freeze movement and capture sharp shots. With the exposure locked, we then adjusted the power on my studio lights to brighten and darken the setup, until the exposure was good.”

    PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer & apprentice
    PAGE 2: During the shoot
    PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
    PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear


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    Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2013 at 5:00 pm under Photography Tips, Portraits.

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