[Funny] Amazing Family Portrait Sessions

[Funny] Amazing Family Portrait Sessions

Quite often, aspiring photographers of the world turn to the almighty interwebs to find answers to "How to take photos of __________". Sometimes, the better question is "How NOT to take photos of __________". Here are some examples of how NOT to take portraits of families while you're in your basement home studio. Whether it's throwing a giant underexposed patriarchal black poodle smack dab in the middle of the shot, or intentionally making sure that all of the lights on set reflect in everyone's glasses, take notes and DONT follow these photographers' example. And let's be honest, sometimes it just comes down to subject matter ... Enjoy! via BuzzFeed

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My eyes are bleeding now.

James Robertson's picture

This is moreso really ugly families than really bad photographers, though the photos could use some work too.

Too bad most of the stuff I see shot for families these days STILL look like this. People know how to photoshop out most of this stuff now but when these images were shot they were probably still on film. Many photographers these days should be more humble. I have seen a lot of so called pro work for the domestic market and it doesn't look much better than this. Why do you think so many people resort to buying presets?

The first two are solid indoor family portraits, the posing is fine. Their clothes and hair are odd, but all hair and clothes go out of fashion eventually.  The red sweater dad has really round lenses in his glasses, there is almost nothing you can do to get rid the glare by posing him, it just needs to be retouched or the glasses have to come out.  Most customers will not take their glasses off.
The third pose, could be improved by moving one woman from the front row and another from the middle row into the back row, so that there are 4 people in the front, 5 people in the middle, and 5 people in the back. The women obviously had great fashion sense back in the day, that's why they all look identical.  Other than that it's cropped a little tight, but we can't tell if that's from the photographer or from the scan.
The fourth post is bad. The dog is under exposed, and the dad is looking at the dog making sure it is behaving. Never ever pose 3 people in front of two people.  It gives you all sorts of empty space in the top corners.  Pose them with 2 in front and 3 in back, it fills the top corners.
The Fifth pose is bad for the same reason as the fourth pose, too many people in front. It should have been 4 in back and 2 in front.  Even two rows of three each would have been better.  This family loves scouting and I saw more power to them.
The sixth pose has the same problem of too many people in the front row and adds the problem of the middle girl being too tall for her row.  Their heads are spaced like the 5 black spots on a dice. With groups of 5 always have 2 in front and 3 in back.
The seventh pose is almost there, but the sister in back is too short.  She needs to be on a riser and the boys are a little too close together.
The eighth and final pose is solid, but the glasses are round and it is impossible to pose them to avoid the glare.  They have to be retouched.  They also wore mismatched clothes, I will say that the boy in front had fashion sense that has passed the test of time. 

It is fun but not fair to judge photos based on hair styles or fashion because they change so fast.


Gary - you missed the main reason most of them are bad. The subjects aren't even looking at the camera!

Douglas Wyrick's picture

I don't care what you say, that scout family photo is freaking awesome! 
The entire range of emotion of a photosession all right there. You've got the fake smile, the nervous smile, the non-conformist, the proud papa stash, and mom's stiff smile all in one! And you can tell they are REALLY into scouting! 

Mike Powell's picture

30 years ago I started in the business shooting this kind of stuff.........yes, i did and admit it too. But I learned SO MUCH!!! from that era of my photography journey. I learned :

1. how to photo a kid and make them laugh.
2. how to get a baby to stop crying. that one still amazes me.
3. how to simply keep glare out of glasses.
4. Basic posing. It was not fancy but a good base to learn on. This gave me the small things ... how to put a hand or the turn or tilt of the head.
5. how to get 96 speeding tickets and keep my drivers license.
6. how to get a department store manager, not to want me to setup my camera rig next to the dumpster.  
7. how to get sobered up before the 1st sitting and get that girl out of my motel room.
8. how to to answer YES! when the waitress asks " are you with the band"..... (free drinks)
9. how to get the hell out of the before the band finds out!
10. the most important. ow not to shoot SLOP!

If you can survive the travel, the cops, store mangers, and all the rest. it's the the best place for a kid to learn if they have he right stuff. Been there, done that, got the shirt and dam proud of it.

PS; I don't shoot that stuff anymore I do have a very cool studio and will not got back out on he road again.

★✰★sin(theta) = a★✰★'s picture

fake smile...

Edith Weiler's picture

As an retired stylist-the one that kills me is the group of girls with the hair...
We all have something to learn and change with the times! I made money giving those perms! Imagine...
As a photographer now-the constant struggle of poising people together in a large group is hard sometimes! Detail detail detail. If they don't look good-you don't look good!

8bitDigitalTV's picture

Reminds me of Buzzfeed's "12 Ways to Achieve the Very Best Glamor Shot"

Say what you want "bad foto" and so on. For me they are still amazing to see these old picture how people looked in these days and so on... It's classic to me.

Ralph Hightower's picture

There's more over here: http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

West Cobb Photographer's picture

Oh yeah, baby... let's bring the 80s back again!   The Poodle pic is scary... I think Dad and the Poodle.. well.. never mind.