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Lesson 5 from: Get Started with Lifestyle Family Photography

Elena S Blair

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Lesson Info

5. Settings Q&A

Lesson Info

Settings Q&A

Question, what lens were you using or would you often use for the fill the frame shots when we were talking about composition? Yeah, that's a good question. I would do that with any lens to be honest but I think that that one that you just saw, the one that I used in the example was with my 1-35, I think that was early on in the session, but I will fill the frame with a which means that I am in their face. And I know that that's my personality, that may sound intimidating to you to get up in somebody's face like that, but I am not afraid to do that. So any lens would be my answer. Question about weather. So, we do have inclement weather here in the pacific northwest, what do you do when there is bad weather? Do you reschedule? What's your process for that? Okay, so I have a strategy for weather, I'll share this with you. I wasn't even planning on talking about this. That's a really good question. Yes, we live in Seattle and it rains here. I only cancel if it's actually raining a...

nd in my contract I say that we will not cancel until two hours before the session and that is because in Seattle, the weather changes moment to moment. But what I do to avoid rescheduling and in the last two years, I have only had to reschedule once since starting to do this, is I schedule my sessions during the time, so from January to May, I schedule my sessions on a Friday so they book a Friday session and they're asked to leave Friday, Saturday, and Sunday open that weekend. And so what I do on Monday is I watch, I'm obsessed with the weather living in Seattle and I look at the weather, and I say alright, looks like Saturday is their best weather day or it looks like Sunday is our best weather day, this is the day we're gonna shoot and they say okay. And that has worked beautifully. I only do two to three sessions a week and that's including my newborn work so that allows for that kind of flexibility for me. I don't like to do more than that. I put a lot of emotional energy into my sessions so that scheduling tact has worked really well. Thank you for that, that's brilliant. Okay, question from Jillian, back on the filling the frame concept, how do you handle when a client orders a size that ends up cutting out part of the photo even more? She says, "I love to fill the frame "but often I haven't given enough space for various ratios." So, I guess the question is do you crop in different ways or are you just providing images full frame? I provide images full frame and we're gonna get into my packaging, I am not a perfectionist. Not at all. I don't care if part of it gets cropped out, it doesn't bother me. So I release the digitals to my clients, that's included in their package, and so if they crop it a little bit, I promise you that the only person that would actually notice that is us, the photographers. The family is not gonna notice if a little bit of it's been cropped. So I don't worry about that, I don't do specific cropping. And I think that's the theme here is that we notice so many things that our clients do not and once you let that go, I just love that you're continuing to reiterate that over and over. Okay, you mentioned it quickly but tell us again, this is from Evelyn who asked do you use flash with the sun behind, do you ever use flash or reflectors? I don't own a flash or a reflector. So, no. (laughing) I do not do that at all. Any of that that needs to be fixed is fixed in post-processing. Okay, so you will-- We'll talk about that, yeah, later we're gonna talk about post-processing but yes. Perfect, so another one from Anna who says, "Can you elaborate a little about "using the full sun correctly? "How exactly do you like to use this type of light?" That's a good question. So, I think when I say that I mean that like I wouldn't take a picture like this in full sun because the little boy's eyes would be totally in the shadow. 'Cause full sun does cast harsh shadows. So when I say correctly I guess I'm thinking more about the moment that I'm capturing. So if it's more of a movement moment or everyone is snuggled up together or they're playing in the water like there was that one full sun that I showed you, I will use full sun because those little details aren't gonna come out. To use it correctly, that's a time that I do sometimes have to close down my aperture a little bit because you just can't let that much light in, you need to kind of control it a little bit more so that would be I guess how I say correctly as well. You talked a lot about the golden light at night and I wondered, do you ever, is it similar light in the morning? Is that a time frame where you could catch some extra photography time and get a similar light? It is, the golden hour exists in the morning and at night. I don't shoot in the morning though because I just don't get up early like that, I can't imagine doing that. But yes, absolutely. The golden hour is the same in the morning and at night and I have some photographer friends that love to shoot in the morning 'cause they do it like before their kids wake up and they're done for the day and so they really enjoy morning golden hour, it just doesn't work with my lifestyle. But yeah, you can do it in the morning as well. This is from Arsien, actually several people asked about this, we see a blanket there and you're shooting on location, what type of props do you bring with you? Or do you, do families bring anything? I don't bring props. I don't like a lot of props. Usually, the family and I will talk about blankets and we usually bring a blanket and that's the full extent of what we bring and that's just so that we can sit on the ground. And on this day in particular, it was fall and it was freezing and windy and the dad was kind of, it was funny, he was walking around the shoot with a blanket on and then I was like ooh, that's super cute, let's bring mom and baby in here for that but I don't use a lot of props. I think that props take away from the subjects. So I would prefer not to use props. So if somebody inquired and asked me about props I would probably refer them to somebody who uses props well, I don't. Great, oh, one more here. Is there a certain age that you would recommend that they don't do an in-home session, that they are on location? No, not at all. So is there a certain age that I would say shouldn't do in-home? Anyone can do in-home. My people just tend to want environmental elements in their work, in what they're getting because that's what I show. That's what they see. But no, you can do in-home with any age. I think that it just depends on the family and what they want. My newborn work is 100% in the home so yeah, I think anybody. That's a good question. Alright, we've got more. Sherry Ann is asking, "Could you again define flat light?" Yes, okay, so flat light is, you'll hear people talk about when I'm using outside it's usually open shade and so flat light is just what it sounds like, it is the light coming directly at the person, so straight on them. And it's usually a little bit softer, it doesn't have a lot of shadowing or really a lot of dimension. It's just, it's what it sounds like, it's flat. It's falling flat on their face. And a lot of people will be like, "Oh, it's boring light," like portrait artists and stuff, and it is, it is a little bit more boring but it's also very flattering and very beautiful so it's really great for portraits. Question from Sunrise is, "Is it possible to get away with such high ISOs "and shutter speeds without a full frame camera?" She has a micro 4/3 and high ISO equals lots of grain. So, kind of a two part question, does it matter what type of camera you're photographing with and yeah? So, I don't know that camera so that's hard for me to say specifically but generally speaking, if you're using a high ISO and you're also using the other elements properly, so you're using your shutter speed correctly and you've got your f stop at the right place to allow enough light in, it's gonna be minimal on the grain. I don't know though, I will say that these higher performing cameras, the full frame cameras, they do handle high ISO better. And I think that if you are gonna have to do that and you don't mind it, you can embrace the grain. I know a lot of photographers who do really beautiful work with grainy stuff. Perfect, alright, two more. When focusing, again, do you move your focus point around or do you focus and recompose? I move my focus point around. I'm a big toggler. A big toggler. I'm a big toggler. (laughing) And we will see you in action doing that. Okay, last one about how you do shoot, this is from Shell, "Do you use continuous shutter?" Yes, I do use continuous shutter. I'm like rapid fire. People tell me I look like a ninja. Hopefully that's not what I look like today but we'll see.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

FAQ Template
Family Sessions Prep Guide
Session Prep Example Email
Family Session Education Experience
Pricing Worksheet

Ratings and Reviews

Armstrong Su

is super knowledgable, yet down-to-earth and relatable. I love how he explains the exact gear he uses but also describes ways to accomplish the same look using DIY and less expensive alternatives. The segment where he demos a live shoot in multiple, difficult lighting situations is worth the cost of the class alone! Bonus: He's super funny. He could probably double as a comedian on the side, but I digress. This class was informative, funny, and very practical for any photographer that wants to increase their profit and expand their business into the professional world. He gives all his prices and workflows so you can get up and running in 2 days! :) Awesome class overall, and it's a great sequel to his professional headshot class (which I also bought and loved.)

Sandra Kay Hayes

I am totally in tears watching this, and think that every person going into Photography should watch these. She is a great teacher, and helps us to understand our "why" so much better. I also LOVE that she helps one feel confident with the non-perfect, (or so called) shots, Thank you so much for giving me more confidence to shot what I love and not worry about "rules!!". Best class I've taken I will recommend her to every group I am in!!!

Julia Khris

Elena is a great presenter. Delivers information in a very fun and engaging way. This course would be good for a beginner photographer. She shares the basics, but unfortunately doesn't quite provide advice on the more tricky questions. She shares a lot about her current state of business (10 years in and making enough profit to afford hiring staff). This is great to know what to aim for, however, it would be more beneficial to hear more about HOW to get to this stage. The main idea that I took from this course is: outsource as many processes as you can. Elena doesn't have a very distinctive style (no offence, but there is a huge competition in the style and editing that she works with), I would love to hear her advice on how to win in such high competition, how to convince clients to choose you and pay higher price tag for an equal quality of work. This is a fairly inexpensive class, so I would recommend it to the beginners, but not to the more experienced photographers.

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