Family Reunion Portraits (Agoura Hills, CA)

Agoura Hills Family Portrait Photography by Matt Haines. The story follows the images…

Large family groups can be really fun! Sure, sometimes it’s like herding cats, but I really enjoy getting to know families, see how they interact with each other, and laugh and joke. All while juggling exposure, lighting and posing in my head. I usually need a nap afterward, but it’s worth it.

Here I have the pleasure of combining a beautiful family with a beautiful setting: Peter Strauss Ranch in Agoura Hills, California. I’ve shot here three or four times before, and the location always has something new to offer photographically.

Technical stuff: everything shot on the Mamiya 645AF, and Kodak Portra 400 film.

Scanned by Richard Photo Lab, who had to jump through hoops on this particular job. Thanks, Bill!

Family Portrait and Wedding Photography by Matt Haines, based in Ventura, California.

3 thoughts on “Family Reunion Portraits (Agoura Hills, CA)

  1. Wonderful job as usual!

    Gotta love the skin tones from the porta and the sense of seperation from the medium format. Couple that with your positioning relative to the light for some excellent portraits.

    How did you go about evaluating the natural light for these shots relative to subject positions? I realize some are backlit but some do have short lighting and loop lighting patterns on the face.

    Thank you 🙂


  2. Thanks Elie!

    As a general rule, I always try to picture the visible sky as a giant soft box. Ideally I want the sky to be positioned at a 45° angle upward, and in front of my subject (behind the camera). If there’s too much sky above the subject, then I’m going to get overhead lighting and the eye sockets will be dark. So most often I am looking to have a tree over their heads, with the visible sky at an angle. That is created by walking the subject in under the tree, until the light is coming in at enough of an angle that the eye sockets are as bright as the rest of the face.

    I also have to be concerned about my background, and sometimes these two goals don’t work together. The individual portraits for example: I shot in two different directions, one that has a lighter tone and sparse trees, and the other that has a darker tone with the side of a hill the background. The lighting is more flattering on the faces with the dark background, but the other background is nicer. You win some, you lose some!

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