Saturday, December 31, 2011

Family Christmas portrait

It's the holiday season and holiday cards are everywhere. A lot of people create custom cards with their own portraits in them. I had the pleasure to shoot my friends family portrait for his holiday greeting card. This year they got a dog...and basically he's going to be in the card too.

The setup was really simple. As usual, for a mobile portrait studio, I packed:

2 Canon 430ex II speedlites
5d mk2 body (perfect for portraits in tight spaces)
50mm f1.8 lens
2 stands
2 flash triggers and transmitter
Beauty dish
Shoot through umbrella

The beauty dish was set up as a hair light. Giving the subjects a hint of light from the top. Very effective in giving the subjects a highlight for separation. I then placed a speedlite with a shoot through umbrella 45 degrees to the subjects left side. The lighting ratio was 1:2, meaning the hairlight has half the power of the main light. The 50mm was the perfect focal length for these kinds of shots. I never leave it at home for shoots like these.

The shoot went through pretty easily. Mr. Red the dog was pretty cooperative. Though we felt that he didn't really like his red sweater, he still managed to take it like a very good boy.

Mr. Red was very behaved during the shoot.

The 50mm had the perfect focal length for a limited shooting space

Shots with pets involved usually require a fixed focus point, and a fast shutter finger

Always make sure that everyones face gets lit up when doing a family portrait. There will be times that one member will be blocked from the flash by another person in the shot.

Take a couple of shots...the choose which ones are the best. Make sure everyones smiling and properly positioned in the frame.