I have been capturing family portrait images to fit in with my brief of ‘The Family’Bond’.
My aim has been to capture Families and their bond together, I had decided I was going to get images that I can use to show the family bond, by creating images based on the closeness of a family, however each family is different and we all have our own family values, to keep my project from becoming to wide I had decided to base all my images on my own view of a family photo, keeping the images of the family members on a neutral background with little distractions and getting all the members involved where possible. I wanted to capture images that can be used in a portfolio, so images suitable to show others, which would include happy smiley faces and close family units.
Not only have I been creating images for my brief but I have also been able to get images that I can use to further my own career in Family portraits once I have completed my degree.
I started with test shots, using a doll as a substitute baby, by doing this I was able to test my positioning, lighting and correct angles in my images, as well as been able to have a practise with creating meaningful images. I started with wider poses with the whole baby visible then moved on to creating images close up creating more intimate images of the toes, face features, fingers etc. I had decided to do this as I had spoken to clients I have photographed for before what they look for in their images, keeping with the baby theme I asked about how they expect their images to look, I was informed on a number of occasions that they like the detailed images of toes and fingers hence my reason for practising with close up shots.
Using the doll made it very easy to get the images I needed, I had plenty of time to adjust the lighting accordingly and could position the baby how I pleased easily enough, so I had decided I needed to try with a real baby, asking a previous client to take part in a shoot, I was able now to take some real newborn images, I found that this was harder than I had originally expected, The baby was restless at times and took a while to settle. I did speak to the mum again explaining what I was hoping to achieve and asked her what is important in her family images, she had explained that she would like to include items from loved ones that have passed, including a bit of her late family in the photos made it more personal o her, Having her late family present in images is what made her images perfect to her. So using the information I was given I then captured images of her new born with items that the mother provided me with. Taking the images in my own syle of delicate backgrounds with out too much distractions and including a personal touch gave me the images I wanted, they showed her version of a perfect family photo taken in my own style, this not only fit in with my brief but allowed me to create images that represent my style of work that I am able to use in my own portfolio.
Once I had been given the chance to take my first set of newborn images I had decided that I could benefit from some training in this new sector I had chosen to photograph in. Looking into courses online I came across a newborn photographer who works with a stand in baby ‘SIB’ she offers training sessions teaching others how to correctly position newborn babies, the best lighting and health and safety. I choose to contact her and book a session, I felt that by indulging in a training session with a professional newborn photographer it would beneficial for me to gain experience this way. During the training I learned about props that are safe to use to position babies, how to correctly handle babies and support them during the shoots and lighting used, This enabled me to get some of my own shots using SIB, from this I felt more confident when it came to setting up and preparation before a shoot.
Once I had taken part in the training I then began to advertise online for free newborn photo shoots which then gave me the great opportunity to do my first shoot after training, I was much happier with this shoot as I was able to position the baby in a more natural looking pose, this was both easier for me and comfortable for the baby. As like last time I conversed with the mother about what she thinks is important in a newborn image, this time she told me the natural nakedness of a baby is what really creates a meaningful image to her, It shows the natural state in which a baby is born, so I began taking images to show this. I found that the images I had created in this shoot were much better, using the training tips I had been given I was able to create some natural poses, including all the little important things such as fingers and toes.
From here I then decided to move on to taking full family images and had been in touch with another previous customer, I got some group and individual shots in this shoot, asking the family members what they see as a perfect family photo I got a mixture of opinions, the mum and dad had said that all the family together made their perfect family image however the kids wanted photos of just them so working with the family I took a series of different images from individual shots to group images and then just the kids, this meant I was able to produce a variety of personalised images that represented what was important to them, the images showed a bond between the whole family unit as well as a sibling bond.
I have also been able to do some toddler shoots during my brief, where I had included members of the family in with these shots as well as creating personal images of the children on their own, when speaking to families of children I was often told that images of the children by themselves were of high importance in family albums, this was because it created an image that showed just them and focused on that child, by creating an image of a child on their own I am able to capture a personal image of just them, showing their importance.
So far I have been able to build a strong portfolio of family images, all showing how each family show their bond and how they want to present it to others.
I will be continuing to capture more families using my style of photography creating images fit for a family album of framed image that can be proudly shown above a fire place or displayed on the wall.
Looking back at problems I have had during my shoots I will look into different locations other than the home, I have been taking my images using a backdrop and photography Lights but feel that this can sometimes limit the way in which I can take my images. By venturing outside I can find a nice location to use as a backdrop and bring in some natural light, this will add diversity to my images but keep within the desired family photo style.