As a working photographer, I get hired to shoot many things, including various events. Recently I was hired to shoot a family reunion, around 40 people. When I arrived with camera gear the guests were scattered around the property. Children playing, adults catching up in groups. Family. A normal Sunday get together.
The shoot took place at the family homestead, literally. A working farm in Niagara On The Lake. The family asked to include the two tractors that had been used on the farm for generations. A nice touch. And why not?
After corralling everyone we made it as much fun as we could, moving as quickly as we could. Kids on one tractor, elders on the other. Bookending the family in between. Experience shows that both kids and the elderly can get bored and grumpy really quickly, especially in hot afternoon sun. Which does not make for a fun time or quality photos. So my main job was to move fast and keep it fun. No sweat. I’ve done this a time or two.
Getting everyone (especially the kids) to look at the camera, not blink, move around, or swat swarming insects, all while smiling was, as you may imagine, like herding cats. But hey, I shoot weddings so this is a breeze. Rapid fire high-speed continuous ensured a few dozen similar shots per image. I worked on these later, easily ensuring that everyone in the frame was at sometime looking and smiling and not swatting insects or moving.
This was the primary shot: The family reunited. Everything else was gravy. I was able to finish this quickly before boredom or grumpiness made an appearance. Later, I composited 12 of the 100+ images I actually took while they were throwing peaches at each other, into one. As I said, I’ve done this a time or two. 🙂
The Fun Bit
I used this process a couple of times with alternate group shots to give options to choose from, and uploaded them with other images from the shoot to my photo site, for family members to review at leisure. Once they selected the prints and sizes they wanted, I got to work. We landed on 27 prints. I have just finished producing them and will deliver in person tomorrow. I always look forward to this part. I love seeing clients faces light up as I hand them their prints.
Which brings me to the really cool part of the story.
Prior to this shoot I bit the bullet and purchased a production printer which allows me to make cost-effective commercial quantities of gallery quality prints at up to 13″ x 44″, full panoramic. The quality is stunning, and the workflow much better than sending out to (even the best) print shop. I can refine each image in-house to ensure every print matches the image as I want them to. No guesswork. No delay. No compromises. If I don’t like how an image looks, I tweak it and reprint it right there and then. I can see my images in their full glory, my way.
This level of quality control is something I have long desired and it effectively makes me a one-man print machine.
I am really enjoying this new workflow and seeing what this printer can do. It opens new potential for commercial level home printing. From greeting cards to calendars, chip bags to canvas wraps, metal and more, I have a whole new gamut of options to offer clients. I have some work to do. And possibly some T-shirts to make. Or a photo book or two that I’ve been noodling on for a while. More on that, perhaps, in another post. Clients are not the only ones with new options.
As part of this journey I have begun printing my own landscapes, revisiting some pieces I have always wanted to see on the wall but deferred due to cost and the inconvenience of outsourcing. No more.
The first of my own images off the production line was ManhatTron (an homage to the movie), followed by Painted Wagon (a fantasy scene of a meadow made in Photoshop). There will be more. Lots more.
I confidently predict we are about to run out of wall space. That. That’s the fun bit.share this with friends:
Update: Yesterday, I spoke with the client.
Less than two weeks after this photoshoot one of the elders present at the event passed suddenly.
The feature image from this shoot was framed and displayed prominently at the memorial. The group photo showed the deceased smiling and happy, surrounded by family. Enjoying a day in the sun.
THIS. This is why photographs are important.
I am happy that I was able to use my photography to bring this very small crumb of comfort.