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

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

Our professional photographer’s recommended gear

Profoto D1 Air flash heads

Profoto D1 Air flash heads
“My previous studio lights kept breaking down and I was at a loss to understand why – until I explained to the manufacturer that I was firing them up to 1,000 times a day. They simply couldn’t cope with the workload and were overheating,” explains Neill. “These D1 lights are specifically designed for digital – where so many more shots are taken than in the analogue days. They have built-in wireless capability, and are fired by the single radio transmitter that connects to my hotshoe, without the need for additional bolt-on receivers.”

Covered backdrop

Coved backdrop
“The heart of my studio is a J-shaped backdrop with ‘coved’ joins at the walls and floor that I had custom-built for me,” says Neill. “Instead of sharp corners, there’s a gentle curve where walls and floors meet. This minimises hard shadows, and means fewer distractions to clone out from the shots.”

Expanded polystyrene boards

Expanded polystyrene boards
“These huge boards are actually designed for wall insulation and widely available from DIY stores,” reveals Neill. “They make fantastic full-body reflectors, and a huge 1.2×2.4m sheet only costs around £15. I’ve painted some black, for when I want to completely kill reflections, and pasted wallpaper to others to make easily positionable ‘walls’!”

Glove puppet

Glove puppet
“Meet Mr Pongo!” Neill laughs. “Not only does he make younger children giggle, with his silly voice, but when he plays peek-a-boo just behind the camera then they’ll be looking right into the lens too!”

Converted chapel!
“When I set up my photography studio and set about looking for a premises, I found this derelict methodist chapel on the market, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better building!” says Neill. “There’s so much space, and the high ceilings not only mean there’s plenty of room for lights, they allow me to shoot from above, from the walkways that surround the main studio area. It’s a really quirky building – our clients love the stained-glass windows – and it sets the scene for the fun experience that is a family photoshoot.”

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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