You’ve seen this image, right? The first “official” portrait of the royals with baby George, taken by Kate’s dad. All in all, a nice try for Mr. Middleton, however photography should stay a hobby for this happy grand dad. Family portraiture is not as easy as it looks! Leaving the camera to do most of the work is one of several reasons that keeps this potentially stunning image a snap shot. I say most of the work because they did have to pose themselves and smile at the right time but other than that, the camera did the rest. How can I tell?
Here are the top five clues.
1. No catch light in their eyes. Every living person’s eyes reflect light and those who are not…don’t. Its vital to have a visible catch light to draw the viewers attention to the eyes. In this case, a flash or reflector would have been very helpful.
2. Blown out background. Any camera, no matter the cost could be fooled by this situation. The family is under the shade of the tree and the sun is shinning brightly behind them. The camera’s meter is looking for light while trying to balance for the shadowed subjects. This camera did a decent job. Again, a flash would have come in quite handy.
3. The color balance. The flesh tones are cool or bluish. The reason is the White Balance setting is most likely on “auto”. The camera is forced to guess what color is correct based on its own database of images. So balancing for the sunlight, it leaves the shaded family looking “cool” but not in a good way.
4. The posing. This pose is nice and simple, however when you first looked at it, how long did it take you to see the baby? My eyes were drawn immediately to Kate and William’s faces then I ended up on George. Poor guy, this is HIS first official portrait and once you are able to stop looking at his mom, you will finally see him. A nice seated portrait in the grass may have been better, however I don’t know what the ground looks like since its been obliterated by over exposure.
5. Time of day. Can you guess what time this image was taken? I can tell you. The absolute worst time. As a photographer, light must be your friend however, not all lighting is friendly, example above. Depending on the time of day, sunlight must be tamed, dimmed, blocked, reflected, redirected, bent, splashed, balanced and above all respected.
Some of you may say the sixth clue is sharpness as this image looks a little soft or fuzzy. I didn’t include this as it could be sharp image that lost resolution as I copied it from a random news site.
I use the example above because it is a family portrait and it is “acceptable” enough to be sent out to thousands of news outlets across the world. But I bet this image won’t be hanging on any walls in Buckingham Palace! Why? Simply because its NOT good enough.
You are no different from the Royal family. You deserve to have a professional family portrait from professionals who understand the key essentials to creating a piece of art versus a snap shot. If you don’t know a professional photographer, you can either call your local PPA Chapter (Professional Photographers Association) or visit www.ppa.com and select certification. Once there select “why hire a CPP?” On that page you will see a icon that allows you to search for a Certified Professional Photographer in your area that meets your needs. Thanks for reading and we always welcome feedback, questions and comments on our posts!
It’s that time of year again. Time for us to update our web site with beautiful new images reflecting our four distinctive styles of photography. Models will receive a FREE portrait session and 8×10 print of their favorite image ($330-$430 … Continue reading