Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)
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Old 09-02-2005   #1
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Default Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

In about six weeks, we'll be going to Alaska to spend a couple weeks with family. It's been awhile since we've had a group photo taken, and since a new baby will be born during that time, I know we will all want a great family portrait. That will involve 14 people (9 adults and 5 kids). This will be in late October in Alaska, so it's possible we could do it outside, if we have reasonable weather. But we may need to do it inside. Could you please supply me with tips for having a successful shoot? For example, what kind of lens would work best? (remember...inside and 14 people) Backdrop? (would just a blank wall work since we have so many faces?) Colors? (Should we all wear similar colors, or at least similar in value? - and I don't mean $ ) Posing arrangements? (can you recommend some links that show large groups?) Anything else I should remember?

Thanks in advance!

Elaine

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Old 09-02-2005   #2
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

I have a "bread and butter" standard setup. I purchased six very inexpensive folding posing stools. Black padding, black metal legs, very light. I use them for outdoor family groups when there are no stairs or other posing helpers available. I think I paid under $10.00 each for them. Basic sit-down pose with people standing behind. Babies on the lap. One Lumedyne to the right providing the main light. Ambient light is the fill. A sample is in this collage:
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Old 09-02-2005   #3
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

Similar situation only we had to do the shooting indoors because of the weather:

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Old 09-02-2005   #4
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

As you will see by Jims examples, you want to try and alternate the height of each person so that their heads are not perfectly even with each other. It makes for a more pleasing photo than a bunch of heads straight in a row.
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Old 09-02-2005   #5
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

Quote:
Originally Posted by photosbymorgan2
As you will see by Jims examples, you want to try and alternate the height of each person so that their heads are not perfectly even with each other. It makes for a more pleasing photo than a bunch of heads straight in a row.
Good points. Nice to be reminded of such guidelines.
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Old 09-02-2005   #6
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

Elaine, make sure to take several shots of each pose.* With a big group, you can count on 1 or more of the subjects blinking, yawning, or looking away.* But you can switch heads in Photoshop to present the best of each person.* Here's a couple of examples of head grafting.



Note: I switched 6 heads, but couldn't do anything for the kid at frame right. He bawled his head off in every shot :-/.



I only had to swap one head in this one.* Bet you can't guess which one .

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Old 09-02-2005   #7
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

You actually head-grafted in these shots? That's hilarious. I never would have thought of doing that. For the last shot, I'd guess the girl in front, in white, lower than the others.

The shot is well lit, by the way. Front lighting, I presume? Spot metering? Beaches almost require it.
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Old 09-02-2005   #8
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

I agree. I generally take between 12 and 15 of large groups and occassionally have to either graft head or usually just the eyes.
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Old 09-02-2005   #9
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

Thank you to Jim, PBM2, Jay and Uncle Frank for your helpful suggestions.

If we do end up inside, will a 50mm f/1.7 be wide enough for a group of 14...if we squeeze together and set up the camera across a fairly large room? I won't have any professional lighting, but I could work with lamps, etc...will overhead/recessed lighting be OK, along with lamps shedding light from the side? It would be nice not to use flash, because of glare from glasses and possible shadows, but I'm not sure if my shutter speed will be high enough without it? What do you think?

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Old 09-02-2005   #10
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Default Re: Family portrait posing ideas? (14 people)

Quote:
Originally Posted by edawn
Thank you to Jim, PBM2, Jay and Uncle Frank for your helpful suggestions.*

If we do end up inside, will a 50mm f/1.7 be wide enough for a group of 14...if we squeeze together and set up the camera across a fairly large room?
I don't know how big your room is, but I'd think you'd need something in the 24-35mm range, unless you're going to stack them 3 deep.

Quote:
* I won't have any professional lighting, but I could work with lamps, etc...will overhead/recessed lighting be OK, along with lamps shedding light from the side?
*

Sure, but you'll need to do a manual white balance, or shoot in RAW and balance in the converter.

Quote:
It would be nice not to use flash, because of glare from glasses and possible shadows, but I'm not sure if my shutter speed will be high enough without it?*
Flash is perfectly OK, provided you're able to do it in bounce mode off a white ceiling or wall.* Here's a few examples of bouncing, with models who wear glasses.





Oh, one more thought...* it would be handy to have a stepladder available, so you can shoot from a slightly elevated position.


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