Do-It-Myself Family Portraits {Part 4}

Finally, it was time for the big shoot.  Raining almost all of spring break, the weather cleared up on the last day.  Not only did the clouds part, the temperature started to rise, creating a perfect day for a photo shoot.  I gave the big boys their shirts and told them to find the nicest jeans they had.  Calmly, I dressed Abigail and fixed her hair.  Ryan helped Thomas.  Everyone donned their wardrobe with no fussing.  Usually, there is a great amount of whining and complaining about family photos, but not this time.  Every family member was… happy!  Not wanting to lose the moment, I quickly packed my tripod and camera bag (checking to make sure I had memory cards and my remote shutter), and my reflector.  In a sing-song voice I said, “Alright, everyone get in the van!”  We went back to the base lake, where Ryan and I had done our photos.  I used my 70-200mm lens on the Canon 5D Mark II.  I wanted the lens to be partially zoomed, because the background blurs more when a lens is zoomed, but the reach of the remote is only 15 ft, so I couldn’t get much zoom from it.  It took a few test shots, but I found the right balance.  After the camera was set up, we started shooting.

It’s difficult to get seven people looking at the camera when I’m standing behind it, so you can imagine the “excitement” of trying to get seven family members to look at a camera standing on its own in the middle of a grove of trees.  Again, Ryan had the remote and we shot about 44 family images before everyone started to tire.  I then quickly tried to get all five kids together, which resulted in some interesting shots.  Abigail has decided that she needs to strike a pose every time she sees the camera, so my ideal of candid images fell flat.  When I gave up on that image, Ryan took Abby and Thomas for a walk and I was able to get some great images of my boys together.  I enjoyed this part of the session. We had fun, and I was able to capture some images that show their personalities.  When the sun had set behind the trees, I gathered all five together to try to get one last image on the bridge, and finally a shot of Abby and Thomas together.  Then we packed everything back up, let the kids play on the playground for a few minutes and headed home. I was exhausted.

I immediately downloaded the images to my computer and perused the gallery.  Out of the 44 family images, there were five acceptable shots, but only three that I really liked, but all I really needed was one, so I suppose the mission was a success.  After further reviewing the images of all five kids together, there wasn’t one that I loved.  So, the next morning I casually gathered up the “picture clothes” and non-nonchalantly started handing out the shirts to the big boys.  When I started dressing Abigail, she buckled and wailed, “But we already did pictures!”  “We’re just going to walk to the end of the street.”, I responded.  “Ten minutes.”  I walked them down, Ryan held the reflector, and I got some more posed shots of them.  That is also when I was able to capture Ryan with Abby and Thomas.  At last, we were finished with the family portrait sessions!  Three (and a half) shoots, five hours, one sitter, 484 shots.

Look back at the original post to my list of desired shots and see the shots I didn’t get. One more reason to hire a photographer.  She would have made sure Mommy got the shots I wanted.  :-) The next blog post in this series will discuss editing and ordering the prints. Here are some of my favorite images from our family session:

Family Portrait Little Rock Air Force Base

Close Up Family Portrait LRAFB


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