Difficulty In Taking a Family Portrait

I believe portrait photography to be the hardest form of photography there is, now imagine applying that principle to 21 people, plus one dog. First of all, in this situation, I find that the more legs a subject has, the more cooperative they are. There are many things to consider when taking a portrait, the least of which is whether or not the subjects have their eyes open. The first is, do all of the subjects know that they are being lined up for a photograph? Sometimes this information is helpful to them, as it may encourage them to face the camera. Next, once the subjects have identified the direction of the camera, do they know that they are not actually in front of a firing squad, check this, as it may comfort some of the subjects. There are some subjects that may only be in the picture as a result of someone else’s encouragement, these people tend to hide. Another issue occurs when you don’t have a set of bleachers nearby to stack everyone neatly, so that there are no tall people and short people. In a group of strangers I understand not knowing your height relationship to everyone, but in this case, everyone has known everyone for quite some time, so why is it there are still short people in the back and relatively tall people in the middle? It is just very difficult to get 21 people together to do one activity, even if you only need them to be cooperative for 1/250th of a second.

Did I mention this photograph was taken at the encouragement of my aunt (the lady hiding behind the baby with the volcano of hair)?

The problems with this portrait are:

  • 3 people wearing sunglasses
  • 2 children looking away
  • 1 guy looking like a statue (in 5 attempts to take the shot, he didn’t move once)
  • 1 women barely visible
  • 1 photography who doesn’t hide his remote shutter release very well

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