Like many photographers, a very large portion of my photographs go towards documenting family life. I take more photos of my family than of any other subject during the year. My daughter recently had a birthday, and during the party, I made a decision early on to sort of go for a ‘documentary-style’ look throughout. I shot with this in mind, and made best use of the relatively poor lighting in the party area. After getting home, I chose to process them in a black and white style that went with the type of photography. In this case, a slight modification of the VSCO simulation for Neopan 400. I’ve come to love this look. There’s something about the contrast and the tonality that seems to just bring me straight to the emotion of a scene while eliminating distractions, even in a busy scene. If you find a style that resonates with you, embrace it, and you can give certain events a great feel.
4 thoughts on “Documenting Family”
Gorgeous photos of your sweet kid, Jordan – well done! It’s also what I do most of the time…
Like many of your readers, I was excited to read this article. I’ve been photographing my 3-month-old son Isaac non-stop since he came into this world. That you made a decision to capture the event as a documentary is such an important element to making the most of your photos. Knowing what you want to capture will help you get the shots you want, as opposed to always reacting. It also provides that small relief from feeling as though you’re missing a moment. I’m slowly learning this, though at times I feel like I’m running around with an automatic trigger. It’s exhausting.
Regarding these wonderful shots you’ve taken, I assume you didn’t use a flash. Do you use a flash when shooting your kids? With Isaac, I find myself often shooting in bad lighting. To nail focus and I find myself trying to stop down to preserve some DOF, but then pushing the ISO a bit too far for my taste. It seems like it always detracts from the moment.
Thanks for the comments. To answer your question – I do often use flash when shooting pics of my kids. Usually just bounced flash when I’m around light colored walls and ceilings…often I’ll try to bounce off to a side to give more directional yet soft light. Works well and provides the best image quality for indoor shooting.
With this set, I did not use my flash (I brought it, but decided against it), since I had fast lenses and the light, while relatively poor in quality, was sufficient for decent shutter speeds. Most of these I was at ISO 1600 and below, with a few bumps up to 4000 or so, which the X-E2 handles well. I simply wanted to not be a focal point for the kids in this instance….they ignored me completely, generally never knowing the camera was even there. If there were flashes popping off throughout, it would have been distracting from the great time the kids were having here.
I hope you’re going to keep some pics of your daughter hidden away until her 18th birthday / 21st birthday / 40th birthday / wedding day to surprise her with :-).