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Shoot: Families

Lesson 12 from: How to Take Amazing Photos with your DSLR

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

12. Shoot: Families

Next Lesson: Shoot: Groups

Lesson Info

Shoot: Families

- [Julia] So, we have John and Jacob, right? Hi, buddy, how are you? And we have Ms. Scarlett, who is 10 going on 15, right? Because you're like way more mature than, yeah, you're awesome, huh? I know you are. Okay. And then this is Mr. Ben and...No, did I get it wrong? - [Phillip] No, you didn't. - Oh, Ben and Phillip, right? Awesome. And Trina, mom. Okay. I know this is a little intimidating, we have to understand that it's a little challenging and sometimes intimidating to be watched, okay? So, we'll try to make it happen. If he doesn't want to be shot, it's okay, I don't want him to feel pressured like he has to, okay? You don't want to be part of it, bud? We don't need you. If you don't want to do it, you don't have to. (inaudible) - Little boys, right? - We're not little (inaudible) - Little boys. Okay. We are going to climb mountains here. Okay. So, what I would like to see, let me look at skin tone. Okay, so two-year-olds, so now I'm assessing age and ability, okay? Two-year-ol...

d needs to be held, okay? I just kind of know that, so that's the first factor here. I've got a little boy who does not want to be photographed, okay? So, I'm taking that into consideration huge right now. And then I've got a gorgeous, gorgeous ten-year-old, who looks amazing and has no issue with being photographed, right? Because we're going to make some pretty images of you. And then I've got Phillip over here, who's...yeah. Okay. So, and then I got mom and dad, strong daddy. That's amazing actually, I'm really impressed right now. Okay. So we're going to put down, let me think for a second, okay, I think that Phillip should be first. Phillip, you get to be up on the tool, the awesome best spot in the whole place. You're ready? Can you put your bottom there and your feet right there for me? No, you don't want to do it? Okay, you guys don't have to be in the photograph. Let's work with you, my dear. I'm going to have you sit right here like this. Can you go like that for me? You just sit over here like that. Perfect. Okay. Beautiful, awesome sauce. And then, we're going to get dad to come on over here. Now, we need to hold both, is that what we're feeling? - [Dad] Might be. - Might be, might be, okay. So, dad, I'm going to have you sit like this. And what I would love is if you could get that little peanut to sit here. He might not want to, but he could have the tall stool if he wants it, I'm okay with moving them around. - Ben, where do you want to sit? - Does he want the tall stool? You want to be the tallest? Okay, awesome. And we have a really tight chair here, so you might have to scoot down a little bit. There we go, perfect. Okay. Look at you, awesome big boy. Okay. So, dad, you're going to sit here. Then, mom, I'm going to have you... Actually, let's see, dad, I'm going to have you sit like this. Mom, you're going to put your back to him right here, okay? And straddle this. Or actually, I don't think I want you to straddle this tool. So, I will have you... Look how big you are, Jacob. Oh, my goodness, it's perfect. So, yeah, let's go and take this knee and put it over to the other side because I think that'll be more comfortable for you. So you are going to straddle the stool, I just don't want him to fall, so I'm a little careful. And then, let's bring this knee over here. Perfect. And honestly, I have no problem with this at all, okay? Okay. And often times, this gives me the best ideas for images. Because, here, I've got an eight-year-old and a five-year-old. Your brother's five? - Six. - Six. Who doesn't want to be photographed? But I get this feeling that they want to be the center of attention, but they're not really sure. So, I'm thinking about letting one of them peek out from underneath dad's legs, okay? So, who wants to do that? I think that Ben is like set up to do it right now. Hey, Ben? Whoa, careful, please. Yes. Hey, Ben, can you come out over here? - [Ben] No. - No? But I think you would be... so you're going to hide? Are you going to hide from me? - Yeah. - Can you hide right here? I bet you Judy might come say hi if you're real nice, right? Do you like doggies? - No. - Okay. Okay. What I would love it is if Phillip would hang out on this chair. Do you think he'll be happy doing that? Hey, Phillip, do you want to go hang out on this chair for me? - Come here, Phillip. Come on. - I'm liking your shoes, bud. Those are awesome, you get to be the tallest. Oh, my gosh, you're taller than your sister, when is that ever going to happen again? Right? I don't know if that will happen again, do you think it will? Do you think you'll get taller than her eventually? I think he might. All right, peanut, what are you doing? And if he wants to sit on your lap, that's fine. If Ben would go there, that'll be awesome. Do you see what I'm doing? I'm being flexible on how I'm positioning this. Okay. Oh, here, I want that. That is so cool. Here, come get it over here. Oh, magic in a bowl. Thank you. Candy, candy, candy. Do you guys like gummy bears? Oh, my goodness, I love gummy bears. Do I have enough room for this? I don't. I go to switch to my 85. Again, space limitation...Careful with that, Phil. Gummy bears. Oh, my goodness. Okay, we're going to (inaudible). ISO up. Working on the fly, working on the fly, (inaudible). Let's do a test shot first. Hey, Ben, do you like gummy bears? Really? - Mm-hmm. - You do? What's your favorite flavor? - Green. - Green? Oh, do we have green over there? Adam, do we have green? - [Adam] Oh, yeah. - Oh, yeah? Okay. So, question, kiddos, do you see what's in my camera? Jacob. Jacob, do you see what's in my camera? You got to look. Do you know what it is? It's a frog named George. Mom and dad, try not to pay attention to your children, just get them in a straight position. Perfect. Trina. Hey, Ben, where is my froggy? Did you know that he winks at you? Yeah. Did you know that he winks at you? He's winking at you. Did you see that? Did you see it? Hey, Ben, did you see it? Did you see it? Did you see him winking at me? Phillip saw it, did you see it, Phillip? Oh, Scarlett saw it, so did Jacob. Oh, my goodness. Are you guys ready for crazy hair? Ben, you got to sit still if we're going to do crazy hair. Oh, awesome, you can stand up on the side of that, bud, if you want. However you want to sit on it, is fine with me, Mr. Phillip. Sweet, look at you, rebel, I love it. So, are you ready for crazy hair? Ben, okay, I get a little crazy, I get a little crazy. Are you guys ready? Hey, Ben, come here and help me out. You want to take the picture? Come here. Okay, we'll just do it that way. But if you could come out between your daddy's legs, that would be even better because then I could actually see your face. Do you guys see the frog? Hey, Phillip, I hear that you could totally fend off bad guys, could you do that? Oh, good call, B. Could you fend off bad guys? I think you could. Oh, I think you totally could, dude. Right? Martial arts? Yeah. - [Belinda] Are you ready? - I'm ready. Ben, Ben. Jacob. Okay. Oh, crazy hair. Oh, my goodness, (inaudible) crazy. I bet Phillip likes, "She's too loud." Rock and roll. Okay. Hey, Phillip, have you ever tickled your sister? - What? - Have you ever tickled your sister? You can tickle him back, you know. You can tickle him back, you know. Perfect. Okay. I love crazy. To me, this is awesome, this is totally like what... I'm a little low on shutter speed, there we go, on exposure. Hey, Ben. That one can get deleted, I did an extra. Sometimes, in family situations, this awesome. Hey, Phillip, do you have a girlfriend? - Yeah. - You do? Ben, do you have a girlfriend? No? - Yeah, he does. - He does? You do? Do you have a girlfriend? Can someone pick up the two-year-old for me, huh? - Where do you want him? - In mom's lap or dad's lap, it doesn't matter. Oh, here we go, that works. Do you have a girlfriend, Ben? What about Phillip, you don't have a girlfriend? Oh, no, girls are bad, huh? Are girls bad? Okay, let's give two-year-old to Jacob to mommy or daddy. Perfect right there, awesome. He can stand on that if you want to hold him. Will he stand on it? - Yes. - Let him stand up, he could be tall. Look how big you are. Look at how big you are. Okay. So, Mr. Phillip, what would you do if a bad guy came around? Ben? - Go fist. - Go fist? Wow, that would be awesome, that would be awesome. Scarlett, you are my rock star, girlfriend, you're awesome. Okay. I'm going to go ahead and give them a break. This is definitely a situation where head swaps would be in order. Because I've got to... Careful, bud. Careful, careful, careful. I've got a couple kids who don't want to be photographed and I don't push it. If they don't want to be photographed, although this is pretty awesome. This is totally your family, isn't it, Trina? She's like, "Yeah, that's my family." I mean, if she wants that perfect smiling shot, this is the point where I'll say to her, "Well, I can totally Photoshop stuff in." But if I don't, then, to me, the crazy is what your family is all about anyways, so go for it. Oh, Jacob, perfect. Mommy, get your face out of there, I can't see you. There we go, awesome. Okay, no worries. Okay. So, let's give them a break for a second and we'll take some questions. I think that this is how it goes when you're on live television and being watched. Okay. You guys can hop out for a second, we may regroup here with kids in a second. Honestly, I love it, it's awesome. And it's family for you, right? Right? Here's what I'm thinking in my head. I knew, going into this, that I had very reluctant children, I knew going into this. So, I thought, "If I can get each one of them in the position I want, looking good, then I can always layer them together later, okay? Which I know, of course, is another skill set to learn. But I knew that Ben was going to refuse to be photographed, and I knew that Phillip was going to give me cranky face the whole time, which he pretty much did. And that's okay. So, this is actually pretty cute right here, but we're missing mom, but I know I have her in other shots, with the child. So, it would be actually quite simple to go here in Photoshop and mask over, and put in a new mom and baby, and get a shot where they're all expressing their personalities. And then, I can also go in there and brighten Ben a little bit more, because the bench is covering him in the light, okay? Mom knows this is her family. She knows that her kids do this, she knows that it was going to be a challenge to begin with. She's a photographer, okay? And photographer's kids are more challenging to photograph than non-photographer's kids. So, if this was a professional shoot, I would have spent a little bit more time giving them a break, bringing them back, do a set of kids at a time with parents, and then superimpose things together to get the shot we need. Does that make sense? So, unfortunately, because we have a pressured environment, it doesn't always go perfectly as planned. But that doesn't mean that we can't continue to work with groups. But what I want you to recognize is the sing-songy aspect of what I was trying to achieve. When I had this little guy stand up on that stool, it actually made the music scale better, and I actually preferred it. And kids love to stand up on stools, they're like, "I'm a big boy, I'm tall." They love that feeling. So, as long as mom's there at a spot and make sure he doesn't fall that created that sing-songy look. And then, this little peanut acted independent. Now, I was willing to be flexible about where they all sat because I figured that might help them be more enthusiastic about the shoot, but ultimately, what I did want was him to be on that stool because he's the independent middle child, okay? How many of you are middle children? Yeah. Middle children need to feel important because they don't in a family. I mean, they do, but you know what I'm saying. The oldest and the youngest are always treated... You feel like they get more privileges, right? So, by him being singled out as the middle child, you create that family dynamic as a story in the image, and that was what I was trying to achieve. Now, the youngest one, dad told me is apparently when the new one came along, instead of being the big brother, he decided to be a baby with the little baby. So, there was an interesting dynamic there. But, yeah, so that's how I would achieve it as I would go ahead and shoot what I knew I could get, and then superimpose the images together to get a shot of everybody looking at the camera. So, I'm sorry, we couldn't do it all in camera here, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to achieve as far as posing, lighting, and the group dynamic. And you see how mom, even this image is not really a good example, but you see how mom looks smaller by hiding her behind dad? Dad looks like the patriarch of the family. Now, you can reverse that, which is sometimes really fascinating, is to put mom in the matriarchal view of the family. And I've done and I've seen some really powerful images where mom is like it in the family. One of my dear friends, Allison Jones, took a beautiful image of this just gorgeous mom, hot mom, I was going to say. And she's in this fuchsia dress, tight, cute fuchsia dress, just gorgeous. And she has her six boys, three on each side, in suits, black suits, next to her. And she is the center of attention in that image, and it is awesome, it's the way the family dynamic is. The boys just look up to their mom and it just created this gorgeous family portrait that truly told the story of their family. So, not only do you need to think about how posing in that sing-song scale works, the rule of offset heads, all that good stuff, but you need to be thinking about the family dynamic and what their personalities are, to create an image that rings true to that dynamic if that makes sense. So putting Phillip off to the side with his little eye roll, I totally envisioned him being that every day in this family. Make sense?

Ratings and Reviews


Julia is an amazing teacher!!!! Funny, go with the flow, honest, and obviously so gifted at what she does. That came through and also inspired those feelings in me as a novice photographer. I left her class feeling excited to play with my camera and appreciate that she encouraged me to use what I have now and get good before spending tons of money on fancier stuff. I also love that she showed how everyday materials from Home Depot can make for great images. I particularly appreciated the 2nd day on product photography, social media images and the short demos in PhotoShop. Please do a full class on just this Julia/Creative Live!!!!!

Brandon Couch

So first off I've been doing photography for a little bit now and only shot in manual 20% of the time and was okay with it. Since coming to this class and seeing how manual mode isn't scary, it is everything you need and want in the life of photography, I now will not use anything else. The team at Creative Live is amazing and Julia's love for other starting and even professional photographers is amazing. She would sit and talk to us together and individually and really loves those who love photography. I would recommend this class and any other one of Julia's classes here on CreativeLive. I can't wait to come back. Was AMAZING!!! LIFE CHANGING!!!

a Creativelive Student

What an awesome class! I am not a beginner and am currently making a living as a photographer and was interested in this class because #1 Julia is such a great teacher with such talent and #2 I was expecting to take away some valuable information to pass along to my little after school beinning photo club. I am happy to report Julia did not disappoint:-) What actually happened was that I learned so many things that I probably should have known being a seasoned professional that I lost track of my original intention of why I was there. I couldn't wait to pull out my camera and try all of the new things that I had just learned. The color balancing and the little dot showing when your camera (Nikon) was manually focused alone was worth the price. I enjoyed every minute of this course. Thanks Julia! Anyone would benefit from this course....

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