Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Family Portrait Composit

I'm working on a HUGE project over the Christmas holidays. I have a family of 14 siblings (most of which are married with their own kids) that I wanted to shoot as a group. The trick? I'm not shoot them all at once, but individually. The photo above is one of the individual family groups. I slapped it together tonight to make sure I was executing the shooting portion correctly. The photoshop work is a little rough right now, when I do the final project I'll be very careful with the masking but tonight I just slopped it together.
The main reason for doing the photos this way is two fold:
  1. Everyone looks better. When shooting groups of two or three it's easier to concentrate on making everyone look great. The more people added in each frame the harder it gets.
  2. By putting the images together into one giant file I can print this sucker really really REALLY big without up sizing and distorting anything.
The real challenge will be getting accurate shadows on the floor so no one looks as if they are floating in space. I shot each photo on a semi-reflective surface (tile board from Home Depot) and that helps a ton in making the floor look better. (For my example I didn't want to bother with it right now so I cropped).

To make my giant family portrair happen I've scheduled sessions with everyone involved, taken careful notes about focal length, exposure, and positioning for all lighting and subjects. This makes it possible to match the lighting on each group and then when everything is put together it will be believable as one shot. I also have diagrams of what I want the final shot to look like. So far I've only shot 4 families of the 9 that are married and I have over 250 images and about 40-60 frames for each family. Some of the images are them looking at the camera, others are more lifestyle where they are interacting with one another, and still others are a combo of both sitting and standing poses. I also photographed each person individually, just in case.

I should be done with the project in early Feb. so stay tuned!

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