Skip to main content

Photographing Families: Tips for Capturing Timeless Images



Photographing Families: Tips for Capturing Timeless Images

Michele Celentano

ISBN: 978-1-118-39173-0 January 2013 256 Pages


Create family portraits to cherish for a lifetime

Family photographs are a staple of both amateur and professional photography. While always in demand, they also pose a unique set of challenges. In this book, Canon Explorer of Light Michele Celentano guides beginning- to intermediate-level photographers around the common pitfalls and helps them learn how to get top-quality shots every time. From getting families organized and directing the posing to managing large groups and impatient kids, this book reveals the secrets and helps you capture the shot without relying on post-production to achieve perfection.

Whether you're a professional seeking to advance your knowledge or the family's designated picture-taker, you'll benefit from these professional tips. You'll learn camera techniques that can take pounds and years off your subjects and create images that stand the test of time.

  • Family pictures are a photographic staple with their own set of challenges; this book offers tried-and-true advice for both hobbyists and professionals
  • Veteran photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Michele Celentano guides you through getting families prepared for a photo session, directing the poses, handling challenging personalities, and creating memorable settings
  • Helps you capture the perfect shot in the camera without relying on post-production to make it right
  • Reveals secrets that can help your subjects shed pounds and years
  • Packed with advice to help you keep your photos from showing up on

Photographing Families: Tips for Capturing Timeless Images is loaded with insider tips to help you make family portraits the treasure they should be.

About the Author 3

Acknowledgments 5

Dedication 7

Foreword 13

Introduction 15

Chapter 1: Getting Started with Family Portraits 1

Determine Your Portrait Style 2

Lifestyle/Candid Portraits 2

Posed Portraits 8

Choose the Right Equipment 12

Cameras 12

Lenses 13

Tripods 14

Posing Props 14

Camera Bags 14

Reflectors 15

Summary 15

Chapter 2: The Elements of Photography 17

The Rule of Thirds 18

Leading Lines 20

Space 22

Shapes 22

Texture and Depth 24

Color 27

Impact or Emotion 28

Summary 29

Chapter 3: Getting It Right in the Camera 31

Understanding Camera Metering and Exposure 32

‘P’ Mode is Not for Professional 32

Middle or 18% Gray 32

Exposure Compensation 34

Exposure Compensation in Practice 36

Understanding Program Modes 39

Depth of Field 41

What Is ISO? 42

Setting White Balance 42

Custom White Balance 44

Cropping in the Camera 45

Summary 46

Chapter 4: Finding the Best Locations 49

Finding the Perfect Light 50

Sweet Light/Twilight 50

Open Shade 51

Window Light 53

Window Light with Reflectors 55

Choosing Locations 56

Skating Rink 56

Rocks, Trees, and Fountain Grass 58

Crossing the Bridge 61

The Walkway 62

A Wide Walkway 64

The Wall 67

The Retaining Wall 68

The Not-So-Perfect Park 69

The Church Archways 70

Fountain Grass 71

A Secret Sweet Spot 74

Doorways 77

Summary 77

Chapter 5: Understanding Your Client 79

Working with Children 80

Children Ages 18 Months to 3 Years 84

Children Ages 5 to 10 Years 86

Children Ages 11 to 14 Years 86

Calming Nervous Moms 90

Warming Up Reluctant Dads 91

Working with Blended Families 92

Working with Large Family Groups 99

Adding the Family Dog 102

Working with Elderly Subjects 106

Summary 107

Chapter 6: The Art of Posing 109

Walk Like You Are Wearing Versace 110

The Three Languages of Posing 111

Body Language 111

Verbal Language 113

Sign Language 113

Are You Hiding Behind Your Camera? 117

Understanding Correct Camera Height 118

Looking at Facial Angles 121

Posing Groups 124

Focal Plane 125

Creating Triangles 125

Diagonal Lines 131

Building Groups 134

Common Mistakes 138

Summary 141

Chapter 7: Building a Profitable Family Portrait Business 143

Creating a Business Plan 144

Image Branding 145

Marketing: Getting Your Name Out There 147

Websites, Blogs, and Social Media 148

Silent Auctions 149

Local Business Displays 149

Client Appreciation Parities 150

Local Business Groups 150

Infomercial Tactics 150

Figuring Out Your Cost of Goods 151

Pricing for Profit 153

Selling Packages or A la Carte 154

Using a Portrait Agreement 156

Studio Management Software 160

Summary 161

Chapter 8: Selling Your Portraits 163

Conducting the Pre-Portrait Consultation 164

Know How to Handle Objections 164

Show What You Want to Sell 166

Create Effective Slide Shows 168

Ask the Right Questions 168

Presenting the Images 169

Projection Slide Shows 169

Less Is More 170

Presentation Software 170

Managing Indecisive Clients 174

In-Home Consultation 174

Using Social Media 176

Summary 177

Chapter 9: Postproduction 179

Essential Postproduction Software 180

Postproduction Workflow 181

Organize Your Images 181

Select Your Favorite Images 183

Prep Your Images 184

Add Presets and Actions 185

Export Your Images 188

Add Skin Softness 188

Retouching 190

Designing Albums 197

Summary 198

Chapter 10: All Wrapped Up 201

Packaging Considerations 202

In-Home Delivery 206

Framing 206

Customer Service 206

Summary 207

Appendix A: Four Generations of a Family 209

Index 231