Behind the Scenes

After many years of shooting, I finally brought a second shooter to a family portrait on Sunday so that I could get some “behind-the-scenes” shots of me at work.  I have been meaning to do this for a very long time.  After all, who doesn’t like going behind-the-scenes shots of photo shoots?  I always love when magazines include these kinds of shots from fashion photo shoots so that I can compare and contrast what the setup looked like to what the final product is.  I know I am not alone.

Alas, my setup on Sunday was not very intricate and, therefore, probably not too exciting.  I arrived at the family’s home and began scouting for the perfect location and background.  I had already briefed them on what to wear, what to expect and how much time we would need.  We set up in the backyard and used lovely porch furniture and some potted flowers to create a set.  Not only did I not need a complicated lighting setup – I didn’t need lights at all!  On Sunday evening, we had beautiful natural light, tons of open shade with lovely sunlight in the background.  I set the camera on a tripod for most of the shoot and relied almost entirely on natural light.  Lucky for me; not having to worry about lights means that I can focus more on interacting with my subjects, posing them correctly and getting natural, relaxed expressions.

Here I am getting everyone setup, talking about the overall look of the shot and working with them to find the most natural poses.

Then back at the camera.  Keeping the camera on a tripod means I can interact with them and keep shooting.  Jokes, stories, funny expressions all keep people engaged and smiling naturally.

Here I am trying to be super entertaining.  I can never stop smiling when I am working with families, kids and couples.  After weddings, my face literally hurts from smiling!

After we got the whole group shot, we moved locations and did some smaller groups of the siblings and parents.  With the smaller groups, because I had people behind me who could help be entertaining, I was able to go handheld and get some different compositions.

Here one of the final shots.  So you can see how it all comes together!