Monday, March 14, 2011

Photoshop or Not To Photoshop (Family Photography - Central Coast)

How do you appease a large group when doing family photography?

When you get extended family members together you're most likely going to encounter differing opinions.
In the case of a recent family photo shoot I did, the issue was whether or not to Photoshop.  I enjoy natural photography.  I love capturing family members with their true personalities shining through.  But is it ok to use Photoshop (or some other editing software) to alter a photo so that you get everyone smiling at once, or everyone with their eyes open?
I find that there are a few key things to think about:
  • Are there children involved?
If children are involved in a family photo shoot it is highly unlikely you will get everyone smiling perfectly at one time, or even looking at the camera at the same time for that matter.  You have to decide as a group whether or not you're ok with this.
  • Is any level of photoshopping ok with your group?
Some people prefer their pictures to look just as they did the moment they were snapped.  Was it cloudy?  Well then they want to capture those gloomy skies.  They want their photos to relive a moment exactly as it  had occurred. 
Does your group look at photography as a more artistic expression?  Is it ok to take a gloomy photo and brighten it up?  Is it ok to make make the colors pop and play with the saturation?

Ok, I could on and on about this one. :)

Most importantly:
  • What is the purpose of the shoot?  Is this a keepsake, a gift, a yearly tradition?
A once in a lifetime keepsake or a gift (depending on who is on the receiving end) in my mind makes the idea of photoshopping seem like a sensible idea.  Keepsakes and gifts tend to be more formal affairs and with photoshop you are still capturing the true essence of each person, you're just "borrowing" all the good shots and putting them together. 
In the instance of a yearly family tradition I think it is completely appropriate to use the photo that has your child making his favorite silly face or the Uncle giving bunny ears.  When you look back on every year you've taken this photo it is fun to see the stage each person was in at that time. 

Here is an example of a family photo shoot I did last weekend:

As you can see in the SOOC version the  man on the left is being goofy (love it) and the baby on the bottom right isn't looking at the camera.  Now this family shoot was for a gift for a Grandma's birthday.  The choice was made to capture everyone looking at the camera and smiling.  So I took a shot of the man smiling and front facing from another photo and a shot of the baby looking up and photoshopped them into the shot that captured everyone else as smiling, not blinking, etc.  I also boosted the colors a bit to make the contrast a bit stronger (I love contrast!)
Now, the above photo is more fun, and the bottom photo is more formal.  See the difference?

What do you think? Was this the choice you would have made?  What is your opinion on photoshopping?

No comments:

Post a Comment