Family at play – they could be the most important photographs you have ever taken

While we all strive for photographic excellence in our work and in the choice of our subjects, it is very easy to lose out on photographing our own family.  

We put a lot of effort and time in shooting for our clients or for our portfolios but when we photograph those close to us we act as if it was not as important as other assignments. I believe this is a mistake. In fact, the images of those we love may one day become the most important work we have ever done.   

Therefore, whenever Kasia and I have the opportunity to photograph our family we always take it very seriously. One such occasion occurred recently when my sister called me and said that she was taking her sons mushroom picking.

What a great opportunity to do some photography! I knew we would be in deep forest so I would need fast glass. I grabbed the Fuji X-Pro1 paired with the XF 35mm F1.4 lens.

When we entered the forest, I immediately noticed favourable shooting conditions with a nice, even light without the harsh sunlight rays. Worrying about light is one thing, but directing two very lively boys is another issue. As they entered the “free for all” zone they were constantly running and moving. So my approach was to play with them and lead them into spots where I could get a great shot.

I was looking for a place that would be both visually appealing and have a little more light. I would run/climb/crawl with the boys toward those spots. Then I would say something like “Can you climb this?” or “How about showing me your strength” – anything to get them into the scene I envisioned.

Once they got there I would observe and sometimes challenge them in conversation for the right pose. It was always in the form of play. They thought they were playing a game so they never ‘posed’ for a photograph. At other times I would just watch them playing. Some moments came together just naturally.

Here is how I set up my Fuji X-Pro1: Jpeg, ISO Auto, WB Auto, NR 0, DR100, Sharpening +1, film simulation – Astia (S) and shutter speed 1/125. The boys had very bright clothes against the dark background so I usually had to scale back the exposure -1EV.

All the images are JPEGs straight from the camera. In a few instances I have done very minor white balance (WB) adjustments in Lightroom. Take a look at rich greens and the skin tones – simply stunning.

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