This is the fourth time I’ve worked with this family in four years, and yet this is the first family portrait I’ve ever taken of them. How is that possible? I first met them when I was hired to document the mom’s military retirement ceremony. The next year, I took the son’s high school senior portraits. The year after that, the daughter’s senior portraits. So I guess it really was time to get the whole family together for a portrait!
We headed out to El Matador Beach in Malibu, which has a dramatic, rocky coastline. It’s a challenge to haul equipment down the side of the cliff, so I was assisted by Desirée. In fact, there was a photographer down there shooting a swimsuit model, and as we passed by he said “wow, that’s quite a production you have there!” I had more lighting and equipment than he did, but hey I don’t like to travel light. We had great weather and great light. And most important, we had tons of fun!
While I have no plans to get one myself, I really dig the son’s “smile” tattoo. It’s just such a positive attitude, and seemed fitting for the day.
Technical notes: This was shot entirely on medium-format Kodak Portra 400 film (the new kind). The seated group portraits were shot using my Koni Omega Rapid 6×7 camera with a 90mm f/3.5 lens (5th image down). I lit these shots with a Metz Mecablitz 60 in a 43″ reflective umbrella (camera right), and a Nikon SB-28 for fill at the camera position. The Koni Omega was on a tripod, and I synced the strobes using CyberSync radio triggers. I metered using a Gossen Luna Pro F, and then quickly checked my lighting with a dSLR (the only time I use a digital camera these days).
The remainder of the images were shot using my Mamiya 645AF and natural light.