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Shoot: Bowsher Family Picnic

June 19, 2011

Shoot: Bowsher Family Picnic

I had an excellent time at the family picnic shoot yesterday with the Bowsher’s!! The kids were goofy and ridiculously cute. Kaidence and Piper both loved the camera and would keep stepping in front of each other trying to have their photos taken. It had been a while since I did a family portrait session with kids. I was a bit nervous about the kids not wanting to be in front of the camera but they were more than eager so I think I got off fairly easy. They were all very loving and it warmed your heart by just being around them!

The Preparation:

The last family shoot I did was also with kids (2 of them), and trying to make them stay still and pose was disastrous. It made the kids angry real quick, and it showed in majority of the photos. One unhappy family portraits. So I thought, what makes kids happy….”Food” for one, and I figured just “Play”.

Solution: Family Picnic

Let the parents who know their kids best handle them and play with them as they normally would, keeping them happy with peanut butter and jelly. All the while, I would stand a distance back, being the silent observer for the most part and giving very little directions. This way I feel I was able to capture real natural candid moments that truly reflected the ambiance of the family.

Hours prior to the shoot it was very cloudy with a cold front moving in (They forecasted thunderstorm everyday this week but hasn’t really stormed yet…). I thought about placing a studio light way back in the distance to create artificial rim lights, but just prior to the shoot it actually cleared up! So I decided to go all natural light this time (I’m liking natural light more and more recently…) If you use it right, it gives you so much more flexibility with fast moving subjects…such as these kids ; )

The Shoot:

I decided to shoot primarily with the EF 50mm f/1.8II at maximum aperture to utilize the thinner DOF, and then move onto EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM if need be.

Initially everything was going well. At f/1.8, the autofocus was slightly off but it was expected with it’s fairly slow autofocus and such shallow depth-of-field. What I didn’t expect was how quickly these kids actually scuffed down their sandwiches and box drinks! I probably shot them for about 5 minutes, and WOOOSH they were off running again. I tried to follow them with AI Servo, but the EF 50mm f/1.8II was hardly up for the job and I immediately switched to the EF 70-200mm f/4.0L with the Ultrasonic Motor (USM).

For the rest of the duration of the shoot, I was mostly chasing these kids around. I would drop down onto the ground to keep at eye level with the kids, and would roll around to change directions (I probably walked away dirtier than the kids haha). Like I said before, I didn’t give any instructions aside from their seating arrangement and the direction to face, so all photos taken were candid.

Take Home Note:

If there is one VERY BIG thing to avoid next time, it would be to use a WHITE picnic blanket. They were seated on a picnic blanket that they brought, which happened to be RED. It acted as a very big red reflector and casted a red shade upon everyones faces and clothes. It took me hours to go though the photos, trying to counter them with isolated color balancing. But I wasn’t able to fix all of the red shadings. This caught me completely off guard and cost me hours of work : /

Other than that, this shoot just reinforced my desire to get the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM haha ; )

To view more selections from the shoot, please visit my Facebook Page!!

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