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