The Best Part of Family Portraits: Outtakes

Taking your own family portraits is not exactly… fun. Or easy. Or recommended if you value your sanity. Or if you accidentally forgot to put on deodorant. Just sayin’. But between my husband’s fire schedule, the boys’ school and soccer and social schedules, my various work schedules and the flippin’ weather, it’s just easier if I play it by ear, hit the photo shoot day on a whim, and take our own family photos. I mean, I want someone special to take them, but it’s not really possible for me to call and say, “HEY! The sun is shining this evening and we don’t have soccer, but my husband has to go into work at 5:50, so magic yourself over here! RIGHT NOW!”

And so, today I kept an eye on the weather and the temperature. I gathered up my tripod and my remote. I found all of our clothes. I bribed the children with promises of video games on a school night if they behaved. I made dinner early, though I didn’t eat much. I rocked a smoky eye at 2:14pm when I started to get ready between work and telling the dog not to chew on things.

We left the house at 4:48pm, a bit early for the golden hour glow that all photographers want in their photos, but the trees are at peak right now and we have soccer on Wednesday and Thursday and a birthday party on Friday and a wedding on Saturday and more soccer on Sunday. If I wanted to get the photos I had been imagining, it was now. Or never. We drove to my first location, not far from our house and I started checking the lighting and setting up the tripod.

And thus began my favorite part of family portraits: the outtakes.

When I’m setting up the light and the focus in any given spot, the boys and my husband will stand where I order point them to and, well, be themselves. They wiggle. They giggle. The move. They make funny faces. They strike weird poses. They laugh. They fall down. They make it really hard to set the focus and the ISO and the shutter speed and all that jazz.

But funny pictures often result.

Family Portraits, 2012 - Outtakes, #2

And sometimes they’re kind of sweet, but the picture doesn’t work as a whole.

Family Portraits, 2012 - Outtakes #1

And sometimes they’re just totally random. My favorite part is the pinecone.

Family Portraits, 2012 - Outtakes #3

And sometimes they show true colors. You should know my husband came up with this pose.

Family Portraits, 2012 - Outtakes #5, Faded

And sometimes the stars align and things fall into place and an accidental photo of pure awesomeness lands itself onto my memory card.

Family Portraits, 2012 - Outtakes #4, Black and White

I edited this one three ways, but I was drawn to the black and white. I know the point of taking photos in the fall is for the gorgeous mix of autumn colors and lovely autumn light. But I have a deep love of black and white and feel it works here, that it captures the moment quite well.

That photo is why I don’t automatically delete the set up, light check, test shots. I keep a number of them, edit them, give them real photo treatment. I treasure them. Especially the ones in which my husband is flipping me the bird where the boys can’t see. Oh yeah, I’m keeping those, buddy. Forever.

1 reply on “The Best Part of Family Portraits: Outtakes”

Oh yes, these are awesome! You may print others to post on your walls or give to family & friends, but I always think the outtakes are the ones you will treasure time after time while looking back at them.

I like the B&W on the last photo; I think it has especially great depth and sincerity when put next to/near the one just above it, with all of that one’s rich color and warmth.


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