There are so many things that go into a Family Beach Portrait. And they involve experience, time, communication, and equipment. So as a professional and a PPA Master photographer my job is to use every tool I have and all of my knowledge and experience to create a Family Portrait and related family pictures for you to display in your home. Can you do this your self…..Hell Yes!!!! But what will be the trade offs and is it worth it? First you will need to spend thousands on a camera, lenses, and lighting with modifiers. A point and shoot won’t do it and a cell phone definitely will not do it. The are however very good for snap shots.
Here is a Family Picture taken my second year in business. It includes 1 year of experience, education and professional camera equipment…a camera and lens. At the time it was the best I could do. As I look at it now I am embarrassed to say I really did not know anything more that an average photo enthusiast. So what mistakes did I unknowingly make? I have highlighted a couple in the next image.
Take a look and see the light is harsh, everyone is squinting and the little girl had to look away The color is a little washed out because again of the harsh sunlight and this older camera’s lower dynamic range. Thus making the image look flat. In addition to all of that at the time I had minimal knowledge of posing. So, mom has no curves at all, dad looks slumpy. Now look at the legs stick out like popsicle sticks. OK, lets move ahead about 14 years and see what was needed to make such a drastic difference in the quality of creating a family portrait
As you can see this images has so many elements of a great family portrait. Here are a few things that make it so beautiful: Vibrant color, soft light, elements of forground (sand), background elements grass and then sky creating depth (a three dimensional element to a two dimensional object), eyes open and well lit.
So lets take a closer look at some other elements.
Here I have added the one third lines that show that in two power points (where the lines cross) we have faces and the an interesting up down pattern of more faces. The black triangle is a compositional shape that again adds interest and uniformity. Meaning, our minds look for and see shapes to recognize elements in our vision. We have balance from the top third being at the horizon and the bottom being the transition from wood to sand. Finally we don’t have peoples bodies all directly facing the camera. There are slight angles and we see the ladies with tapering shapes (shown at the arrows) that add to there femininity.
Last but not least I have used and off camera flash to give a direction of light and insure there is brilliance in the face and over all eyes. This is probably one of the hardest things to do with out having it look like a flash was used. You can see the catch light of the flash in the enlarged picture of the eye. The catch light in the eye also adds a sparkle that many people like.
So Yes, you can do family pictures yourself. But, only for quick fun pictures. If you really want to have something worth displaying in your home why not use a professional and get something that will be admired and enjoyed for many generations.