The Family Photographer 7: Simple Portraits of the People You Love

On this short holiday break show, I talk about taking simple portraits of the people you love. My daughter needed a photo for an application and I was surprised to find I didn’t have a simple portrait of her. On the podcast, I talk about why these simple portraits get overlooked, why they are important and some places to find good light for your portraits.

I used three different kinds of light for these recent photos of my kids. The first I used a table top soft box light. The second, is window light. The third is a bounced flash. All three photos are in the room I talk about in the show. It’s the one room in our house that gets a decent amount of light.

This year, I discovered that the doorway of our windowless garage was a good place to take simple portraits.

I love to see photos you make. Share a simple portrait you love in the comments.

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Next week, photos in the snow.

January 10, a great conversation with Kirsten Lewis.

TFP 6: Why and How to Take a Group Shot

When we were kids, it was once a year for the Christmas card. Mom would get all six of us together for a photo. Some of us would be smiling and at least one of us would be scowling. One year around Christmas, Mom made an effort to get all her kids, their spouses and the grandkids together for a photo. One grandchild was late and my baby was tired. I didn’t understand what why she was going to the effort of making this photo happen.

I do now. This episode is about why to take group shots and a few things I’ve learned to make it as painless as possible.

The photo above is the photo of my great grandparents and grandmother. Below is the photo I took at my grandmother’s funeral service.



And for fun, my brothers.


Share your favorite group shots in the comments.

The Family Photographer 5: Steve Simon – The Passionate Photographer

screenshot-2016-12-12-21-06-30On today’s show I’m sharing my conversation with Steve Simon. Steve’s book, The Passionate Photographer – Ten Steps to Becoming Great has been on of my favorite photography books since I read it a few years ago.

Steve has a long history as a photographer in photojournalism, documentary and now street photography. Since he began taking photos in his teens, he’s been a generous teacher. Now he’s also a father of a two year old son.

On today’s episode, we talk about how learning to use your camera gets your camera out of the way of making great photos. Steve recently read a book, The One Thing, that talks about why working on just one thing at a time is valuable.

The Family Photographer 4: Kate Densmore – Stories of Home

On today’s show I’m sharing my conversation with Kate Densmore. Kate’s book, Stories of Home, was recently released on Craft and Vision. Kate’s book beautifully combines technical instruction with questions about why and how we make our work.

Kate is a mother of two who lives with her husband and kids at Grand Canyon National Park. We have a great discussion about composition. We talk about clutter vs. context, when a photograph is a so-so moment in great light, and which lines to pay attention to in your composition. We also talk about taking time to discover your “why” – why do you make the photos you do of your family and why it will make your work stronger to give it some thought.

Kate’s book is fabulous. Kate’s giving away a copy of her book. For a chance to win, leave a comment and a photo you’ve made that shows a composition you are happy with. A winner will be chosen December 20th.

For 30% off her book, go to Craft and Vision and use the coupon code FAMILYPHOTO30.

Next week, I’m sharing my conversation with Steve Simon, The Passionate Photographer.

The Family Photographer 3: Spencer Lum on Looking for the Unexpected

screenshot-2016-11-28-19-39-57On this episode, I share my conversation with Spencer Lum. Spencer is a father of two, a Brooklyn based wedding photographer at 5 West Studios, the author of the award winning and fascinating photography blog Ground Glass, as well as a speaker and educator.

I talk with Spencer about the in between moments he looks for when photographing for both his clients and his own family. We explore the question: What is a snapshot? Spencer talks about why he loves a mysterious, unpretentious snapshot. I ask him when it’s a good idea to copy other photographer’s work, and we talk about why asking a photographer what lens they use isn’t the best question to ask.

Spencer also tells us about the challenging and strange projects he makes for himself by giving himself many limitations and what he has learned from the projects.

You can see Spencer’s projects on Instagram, 5 West Studios, Ground Glass

After the interview, I asked Spencer what the best and worst money he’s spent on photography. I also asked him something he’s learned in his years as a father. To hear his answers, sign up for email updates. His answers are included with this episode’s email.

I love photography projects. I’m in my last month of a daily project, a 365 Project. I’ve been joined by a fun, friendly and talented group of photographers. You can join us and see everyone’s projects in our Flickr Group.

Next week, I’m sharing my conversation with Kate Densmore. She recently released the e-book Stories of Home at Craft and Vision.

Is there someone you’d love to hear on the show or a topic you would like to learn more about?

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The Family Photographer 2: Starting a 365 Project – Part 2

On this episode of The Family Photographer, I share conversations I had with Zane Kathryne Schwaiger and Simon Boyle the day before they started their 365 Projects. I wanted to know why they decided to start a project and what they hoped to gain from a year of making and posting photos every day. Both Zane and Simon are parents of small children. I knew that they weren’t taking on a photography project like this because they had time to kill.

I talked to Zane and Simon together for an episode of TWiP Family when we were all about halfway through our year. You can listen to that show here.

When the year is over I’m planning another conversation to hear how they feel now that the year of photos is behind them.

The Family Photographer 1: Starting a 365

Welcome to the first episode of The Family Photographer.

paulineOn this episode, I’m sharing my conversation with Pauline. A year ago I got an email from Pauline. She wrote, “You mentioned in the latest podcast that you’re considering doing a 365 again, and that it’s “easier” when you can do it together with other people. I thought right away, but wait! There’s certainly a whole community of TWIP Family listeners who would join you. I bet if you asked there would be a bunch of grateful listeners who would gladly jump on the 365 wagon to share support and feedback.

I know that for me, it could be just the kind of thing to get me to do a 365. Finally.”

She was right. A community of TWiP Family listeners did join me and it’s been a great year of photos and conversation. 

Pauline started as soon as she decided to do a project and just finished her project. On the show, she talks about how making and posting photos daily has changed her photography.

You can hear more from Pauline on her photography podcast, 10,000 Crappy Photos.