what do I consider when shooting a family portrait?

f a m i l y  c a p t u r e s

This is my incredible sister with her two handsome kids: my beloved nephews =). Once a year I photograph her with her boys. I love seeing her and I love even more when she is surrounded by them. There is no limit to the love that she feels towards them and she works her butt off just for them and their future. I admire the warrior she has been in this life. She is like no one other and I love her dearly. Anyways, returning to my story about portraits =). When I capture family portraits I always listen to what my “client” wants. What they expect to see in their final shots. What is meaningful to them. I try to know the subjects through my client in the cases I don’t know them because it is super important to me to be able to capture their souls and who they really are. Fake smiles won’t cut it so is better that I am able to detect them when they are there. In the cases that I am shooting people I know,   I just relax and I have the time of my life =).

Having these three on the other side of the lens is the most satisfying moment. I just let them be and I always talk to them to get what I am looking for. There is always an “intention” when I am shooting (I talk so much about “intentions” in my workshops and how important they are. Not only in the moment of the shooting but also in the moment of the editing). Yes, and I talk and talk and talk. The typical “look at each other”, “now look at mom”, “now laugh”, “now smile very little”, “now look down”, “now look at me”, etc etc etc. I guide my subjects on what to do giving them a word, an instruction, a joke or a suggestion and letting them response their way and being who they are. Sometimes I keep silence and just watch. My goal with this type of portraits is not only having the “direct to camera” look but mainly, to be able to capture emotions. I want to capture the stories behind the relationship in between my subjects. I like to crop in camera leaving subjects out of the frame to make one other specific subject protagonist of that specific shot. I like to play with OOF and in camera grain. I learnt to love what high ISO does to the final frame. I play with the light and move around. I play with the shadows and every single element that can bring texture, distortion, reflections and so more.

In this case, the sun was setting right behind me. Which was beautiful but at the same time was hard on their eyes. So we decided to put the sunglasses on and just have fun in the moment. They were with their feet in the water and there was sand everywhere. It was the most beautiful place but for this specific shots I did not care about the surroundings. My goal was not to capture the beach but just them. My goal in this set was to get smiles and laughter. To capture the love that they feel towards each other and how happy they were together in that specific moment and place. I did not care if the hair was messy or the clothes were dirty. I did not care about imperfections or if suddenly we had some ugly shadows or highlights. This is an example of the type of photography I LOVE to do: spontaneous, raw and real.

What type of family captures do you enjoy the most? What would you have hanging on your walls? I hope you like these ♥

family portraits

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