Kate Middleton – Tiaras and Tripods
The fairy tale that was Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding back in 2011 ignited new found love for the royals and propelled them back to the forefront of the English Tabloids. Not too long after in 2013 the pitter patter of tiny feet in the form of Prince George and then Princess Charlotte in 2015 followed. The nation was in awe of the photogenic duo which lead to the press going above and beyond to snap the pair at public engagements.
Kate was perhaps inspired by Princess Margret’s husband the late Lord Snowdon who compiled beautiful family albums of the royals over the years. Kate released some precious photos of her growing family with the general public and eventually was commended by the Royal Photographic Society which ruffled some feathers in the photography world. An untrained amateur being acknowledged by such a prestigious organisation was perceived as a “slap in the face” to the undiscovered talent in the photography community. Many of them have spent years training and refining their portfolios only to be constantly rejected by the industry. A similar furore occurred when David Beckham’s 16 year old son Brooklyn was commissioned by Burberry to shoot their fragrance campaign. The difference between Kate and Brooklyn is that Kate didn’t actively seek praise for her work. When she shared the photos I imagine she had the mind set of - look at my family and how proud I am of them.
The Kate Middleton fiasco got me thinking about how photography at its roots is all about documenting our time. Family is one of the biggest components of our lives so how can we do them justice and photograph them at their best and created memories for future generations to cherish.
You will have heard this a thousand times before but here it is three more - Lighting,Lighting,Lighting
We have all had the misfortune of being in a public loo and being confronted by the flickering fluorescent bulb exposing every wrinkle, pore and discolouration mapped on our face. Your loved ones will appreciate a nice soft light to accentuate their best features. Back in the 90’s family portraits were plagued by red-eye and harsh shadows turning even the most angelic families into extras from The Walking Dead!
To achieve a flawless studio look an Octagon Softbox is king. The wider the spread of the light the more flattering it is so if you have room be brave and invest in a larger version for the best results. The bigger the light source the more throw it will have in a room. Perfect for a big family portrait session! The version linked below folds away like an umbrella for easy storage.
If you are pushed for space you could try something more compact and storable like a flash gun diffuser. Pop it over your flash gun and soften the hard light flash produces whilst freezing any motion Blur. Children are particularly difficult to photograph. They don’t care about your shutter speed or aperture planes or that it has taken half an hour to set up the shot. They want to fidget and get back to being a kid! So for family portraits a flash gun with a diffuser is a more convenient and affordable to capture those precious moments.
Phot-R Diffuser for Flashguns
awkwardfamilyphotos.com – Be warned you
Can easily loose a few hours on this site!
If you want to take the next step towards professional family portraits try out a Beauty Dish. As the name suggests the broad soft light that this modifier creates is very flattering and is in every beauty photographers kit. In my experience beauty dishes produce stunning catch lights in the eyes and when positioned above the subject can make a jawline more defined and give a slimming effect.
Control the positioning of your light with a sturdy light boom stand.
Or for a more space conscious option try the Heavy duty air cushioned light stand.