Thank you a lot for spending your time (during Christmas-period, even) to give this great feedback.
You have entered so much valuable information. Not only direct comments to my pictures but also:
- Good suggestions for new setups / props / interactions
- Deep insights like
* Portraiture is not about technicalities but about relations
* Understanding the 3D to 2D transformation inherent in the process.
(This is an eye-opener for me - much better than rules such as 'Don't cut a joint' etc
- Instruction on how to smoothen skin (sofar I have decided not to - but may give it a try and show it as a suggestion)
- Encouragement (appreciated, too)
So let me respond / react to some of the specific input, that you posted:
- About 'smiling'. Yes, I am aware that this is difficult. You do not just ask people to look 'natural'. I tried to not demand any specific looks, just keeping a relaxed atmosphere. I guess I need to learn some tricks to make people relax more (and let it show). Maybe the suggestion 'Say yoga' could work.
- I realise that I need to work much more with Posing and Expressions. When they don't work so well, I need to figure out how to do something about it. E.g. choose a completely different setting (in the park for example)
- @PureShot: I like the samples in your fine gallery. Many specific ideas to pick up here. Thanks for sharing.
A bit more background on this session:
- I am in no way on planning to make a living from making family portraits (or from photography in general). But approaching my senior years, I certainly hope to make photography an even more filling activity for me. And to produce something 'useful' from time to time would be great.
- When asked to do this session I first hesitated - will I make the family satisfied? will I spend too much time? will I risk to fail completely? will I deliver in time for Christmas? ..... etc. However I decided to put those doubts aside, and am happy I did.
- I usually try to do my best and to improve on my skills. That is probably also the reason that I 'dare' to show my pictures to this forum asking for honest critique.
- I warned the family that my arrival and setting up in their home would look like an invasion. They took this with very good and relaxed spirit, and we actually had a good time together setting up, shooting, viewing afterwards.
- We tried various things - starting out with the first goal: A formal portrait of all four - and then various more free setups. Actually we tried a couple of the variations, that you have suggested, but I find that additional setups need more time and preparation.
- After one hour shooting no more concentration could be mustered, which I understand.
- I would have liked to try much more and have more time for some of the setups. Also to try out adjustments to the ligthing (adding hairlight would be my first add-on), other lenses, narrow DOF, etc. But no time for such experimentation.
But that I will have ready to bring with me for future sessions. And some of it I can practice in advance, so I do not have to experiment too much during a session.
- I brought my pad, WiFi-connected to the camera to show a few examples during the shoot and to preselect the family's favourites after the session. This is a great option to have (Yes, I am happy with the 6D)
Again: Thank you for your input.