View Full Version : Help with Family portrait

12-15-2009, 04:49 PM
Hello, my sister just rang and has asked me to take a picture of her family (only 3 of them) so they can frame them and send them as xmas presents as they don't have much money.

For some reason I said yes, now I am sure I can do something reasonable, but my only issue is lighting, I don't have any I always shoot natural light I have been playing with a light bulb but that also will not work. So what issues will I face what should I be careful of and how can I bodge this together to make it work :D


12-15-2009, 04:51 PM
Find a nice window, but try to keep the window itself out of the frame, maybe use a reflector if you need to bump in a bit more light, and have at it!

12-15-2009, 07:17 PM
Ditto on finding a window but if you or your sister have a plain white sheet that can reflect some light as well.
I happen to think a personal gift like this is the best kind of holiday gift.

df cardwell
12-15-2009, 07:33 PM
Try window light. or an open door. THAT is very Christmas-y

If you DO use electric light, just let the lights be on, and do nothing fancy.
BUT gut your EI in half, compensating for the incandescent light.

12-15-2009, 08:12 PM
With the whole family being only a trio, it seems like you should be able to harness natural light without too much trouble. Plenty of big windows in the world and on a passable day, you could shoot outside. Line them up nicely and you could leverage a fast lens while keeping all in reasonable focus if needed too.

12-15-2009, 11:36 PM
In addition to the excellent suggestions also on offer, is there something you can do with those kitschy christmas colored lightbulbs? Maybe add some points of colored light as well. Depends on whether you're going for whimsy or for something a bit more traditional.

12-16-2009, 03:16 AM
knowing me it will be something off the wall. The kid is very central in the family she has a big personality at only 2.5 years so I think she will be playing a big roll in the photos with the parents second.

All advice so thank you and wish me luck :D

Craig Swensson
12-16-2009, 03:50 AM
Well just do them in natural light, after all it is what you are comfortable with and why not outside?
go with `off the wall'. and good luck, i`ve done the same for this years round. regards

df cardwell
12-16-2009, 07:00 AM
A portrait is no more (nor less) than the record of the time you spent with the sitters.

It can be ANYTHING, so have fun. Scarves and mitts in the bleak midwinter. Sounds like a picture begging to be taken.

Go out and just enjoy yourselves.

12-16-2009, 06:50 PM
There are lots of inspirational examples of portraiture in the APUG galleries. One very good place to look would be Cheryl Jacobs' work:


Note in particular how Cheryl uses natural light