One of the biggest rewards in photography is when customers are so satisfied with their images that they will refer photographer’s services, to their friends, or return back for more photography.
This was the case involving an existing customer of mine, previously she hired me to capture business portrait on location for publication in a magazine. She was so exited and happy with the images, I created during our first photo-shoot, that shortly afterwards she contacted me again – asking if I would like to photograph her little daughter and the whole family, as her parents were visiting the family in London.
I was so happy about the prospect that my client trusted me so much, in my experience as professional photographer and in me as a person she can trust. Once all formalities like date and location were sorted, the whole family was looking forward to the photo-shoot.
The family photo-shoot.
On the day of the photo-shoot we met at a small park beside the building where my client was living, we thought the location to be good enough with its ambient. Of course, as usual, the weather in London wasn’t in its best shape but I was well prepared for that.
I see many photographers specializing in child or family portraits, taking on a photo-shoot just with camera (ok maybe one flash too) and then delivering only black and white images of the session. This may be ok if their style is characterized by photographing only black and white. But what happens when you don’t have good quality light? – well b&w images always look good as long as there is good content captured.
However, with my personal approach I don’t like to leave my style of photography to be dictated by chances, this is why I like to be well equipped and prepared for any situation. I know it is much more difficult to photograph children than adults, and it becomes more complicated to handle all the extra lighting equipment, especially without the help of an assistant, but at the end of the day the result of the final images is the most important and satisfactory element.
Achieving good level of luminosity is of utmost importance in photography, something that can not be accomplish in post processing.
I knew the weather was going to be dull and variable, so typical for London, so I brought three lights, two umbrellas and light stands. Even my client was surprised to see all the gear I was dragging with me, it became apparent the experience she had of working with other photographers.
And this is how I manged to capture all of the images bellow – so vibrant and reach in colors and tonality, with my lighting I emulated the conditions of a sunny day in the park.
Speedlites and color gels for outdoor portraits.
As a seasoned photographer who captures portraits, both in a studio and on location, I have developed the habit of always having my color gels with me – along with a set of speedlites. Color gels allows for greater flexibility in regards of altering the overall quality and appearance of the scene I’m photographing. This also was the case in this particular photo session.
As mentioned above, do to the dull weather (actually was quite dynamic as it was changing all the time) I needed to come up with solution for recreating a more fresh and appealing atmosphere – closely relating with the mood of a happy family. Certainly the decision to use my color gels as modifiers for the light streaming through my speedlites was a crucial factor for success in this photo-shoot.
Even if the weather was consistently sunny, I still was going to bring the same equipment as the overhead bright sun was going to present us with different issues to troubleshoot; but perhaps this can be the topic of a tutorial on how to photograph portraits outdoor.
The two images below illustrates how, in different ways, I have used my strobes/speedlites with attached color gels on them to enhance the light and improve the mood/quality of the scenes I was photographing.
Preparation and knowledge are the key elements when photographing portraits outdoor – being ready and having the right tools to help you tackle every little challenge.
Although such family portrait sessions are far from the budgets of big commercial or advertising photo-shoots, I always treat one with the same respect and importance.
As professional photographer my goal is to always create stunning and beautiful images, defining my style and approach to photography. Leaving my clients with the perfect experience and beautiful images – holding special moments to cherish in time.