Family Photography – Photobomb, or how to take a bad family photo – tips from a product photographer

As a dad I love to look back at photos I took of my children. I enjoy seeing both my children and skills as a photographer grow with time. One thing I have been very grateful for is how my kids have tolerated my sometimes intrusive camera. I am not a fan of the staged photograph preferring to catch my kids ignoring the camera. I spent so many years snapping away gently asking them not to hide their faces, not to react to me at all that eventually they listened. They no longer mug for the camera, they just continue about their business, letting me get the shots that they enjoy flipping through on the annual family calender.

One down side to having a camera in your hands so often is that I am commonly the one asked to snap the family portrait. That is too much responsibility for me. I am always disappointed with the result, not happy with the light or angle or staging, never pleased. I always feel rushed, inadequate and unprepared. I don’t like the spotlight and holding the camera with everyone looking into the lens makes me uncomfortable.

I just received an email from family we visited in December. They sent a pair of the shots I took the last time they handed me the camera. We had just spent the last several days visiting their wonderful new home and were getting everyone into the car to head back to Seattle. They handed me their camera and asked for a quick shot of the cousins together and then one of their family.

Not happy with the camera glare, I should have stepped a little closer to get out of the direct sunlight. I don’t have the skills or knowledge to make that kind of automatic adjustment. I could have been better positioned, I could have taken a few more just to be safe but I wanted out of the spotlight quickly.

I guess not everything is passed down from father to son.

Kevin
farris2farris

 

Walking the New York Now Wholesale Gift Show 2015

Feb 3 2014

As I left the hotel this morning the brisk morning air quickly bit through my open buttons and found its way under my scarf, undoing the work of the hot shower in seconds. I saw a line of bundled up hotel guests entering the shuttle bus headed to the convention center, eight blocks away. I was momentarily drawn into line with them, eying the dirty slushy snow piled against the curb. But the sidewalk was clear, freshly salted and dry and I could not resist another walk to the Javits Center for day three of the gift show. I find walking to be very rewarding and cannot understand how more people do not celebrate their health in this simple way.

By the time I reached the convention center my body and mind were both ready to face another day of telling people about my work. I am a very private person by nature and have found this part of my job to be the most difficult. I do not value the work I do as highly as I am commonly told I should. I am very self deprecating, knowing that there are folks far more talented than me. Spending day after day, telling people why they should have our goods in their store is not my favorite. However, traveling to New York, walking the streets of this city, is a reward very worth the cost of being here.

Kevin Graham