Family and Group Portraiture
Illustration by

Family and Group Portraiture

with Natalie Fobes

Video: Determining the message and the intent

I talk a lot about the importance of the message of a photograph and how that message determines your location, your lighting, the poses, even the expressions on your subjects' faces. For example, a family photograph; the message of that photograph should show warmth and love for each other. The lighting might be a little bit softer and even in tone. Contrast that with a business portrait, the lighting is often stronger, more contrasty.

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Watch the Online Video Course Family and Group Portraiture
1h 28m Intermediate Mar 16, 2012

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In this course, Pulitzer finalist Natalie Fobes shows how to capture engaging portrait shots of couples, families, and other groups using a variety of posing and composition techniques.

The course discusses how to plan for a portrait photo shoot and how to make stylistic decisions regarding props, clothing, and makeup. Next, the course reviews the essentials of posing women and men, starting with a single subject, moving on to a couple, and then working up to large groups. The course also demonstrates how to pose and compose a group portrait in ways that highlight the relationships between group members, whether they're family members or business colleagues. Lastly, to illustrate the time constraints photographers often face, Natalie works against the clock to shoot a group of people she's never met.

The course also covers various postprocessing techniques geared specifically for portraiture, such as working with wrinkles and skin textures.

Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Natalie Fobes

Determining the message and the intent

I talk a lot about the importance of the message of a photograph and how that message determines your location, your lighting, the poses, even the expressions on your subjects' faces. For example, a family photograph; the message of that photograph should show warmth and love for each other. The lighting might be a little bit softer and even in tone. Contrast that with a business portrait, the lighting is often stronger, more contrasty.

And I pose the people in an entirely different way. I want the photograph's message to show the respect that they have as working colleagues. No matter if I am shooting a business or a family, I try to gather all the information I need beforehand. I am a big believer in having a meeting to discuss different options like clothing or jewelry, locations. We talk about my style of photography. Natalie Fobes: It's good to stay away from light, because anything bright in the photograph is the first thing people look at.

So they will go right to your white t-shirt, and I want the attention on your face and not on what you're wearing or your clothes. This meeting is important, not only to gather information, but also to start the collaborative process. I want them to know that we are a team and we are working toward the same goal, and that is to create a great group portrait.

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