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Old 09-22-2012, 10:57 AM
 
258 posts, read 687,730 times
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I don't know if Grand Rapids is the right place in City Data to ask, but we are having a large family reunion next summer near Traverse City. We have found a couple of photographers but the price is just too steep for us. Is there someone in town who is good and can handle a big group that won't bust the budget? Thanks
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Old 09-22-2012, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Loving life in Gaylord!
4,121 posts, read 7,951,929 times
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This is a friend of mine's Facebook page, and one of the best photographers I know. I'm not sure he does "People" photos, but wouldnt hurt to send him a message.

Mark Lindsay Photography | Facebook
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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Really nice photography on that page, michmoldman!

To the OP: For a large group you really need someone who can take charge and direct while also seeing the odd ball who is tucked in behind someone, not following the photographer's directions, etc., and who can readily see shadows on faces, etc. He/she needs to know how to handle shadows and daytime fill-flash. He/she should work with you ahead of time to find prime locations and suggest the best time of day for favorable light (assuming this will be done outdoors). He should probably have an assistant for large groups unless he's got lots of experience.

Photographing family reunions is one of the most challenging of photo jobs, imho. You want each family unit kept together, but you also must arrange the overall group so it's balanced. BIG (as in overweight) people need to be positioned so they don't show their size. Patriarchs/matriarchs should be positioned so as to be the center of attention, etc., etc. All that, and then you want it to look relaxed and informal. And the light's got to be right. Tough job for anyone.

High prices certainly don't guarantee quality. You're wise to ask around. Keep it up, and look at examples. As nice as Mark Lindsay's photos are, they're not of groups of people so don't really tell you much about his ability for your needs.

Normally I'd suggest that you look at wedding photographers, but there are so many really, really bad ones these days that being a "wedding photographer" doesn't mean squat. Still, you might look at their examples of large groups and find the one that's just right for you.

As you're pricing photographers, don't just ask how much they'd charge to "shoot our group." The expensive part for big groups is usually the prints, so be sure to price those too. It's the overall cost you should be concerned with, not just what's charged for a sitting fee. And ask to see an example of the printing paper they use. Is it archival? Ask how they charge for Photoshopping. The more questions you ask ahead of time, the fewer surprises you'll get later.

If it was me shooting your reunion (I'm a photographer), I'd also offer to shoot individual family photos for no extra charge -- betting on high numbers of print sales. And yes, you could probably afford my rates, but no, you couldn't afford my travel fees.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:35 PM
 
258 posts, read 687,730 times
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Thanks so much for all of the information. Truly appreciate it. And yes, We will need a talented photographer as I am BIG (need to be in back) and the matriarch (need to be in the center) Maybe I can find a tree to hide behind.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,710 posts, read 18,077,773 times
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I know what it's like to be big. While even big matriarchs can't hide behind trees for the photos, you might hide behind one of your smaller grandchildren if you have one. One of the most recent family reunions I shot had 35 people in it. Grandma (a fairly large lady) and grandpa were seated on a bench, each with a grandchild on their lap and more in front and crowded around on both sides of them.

Another little trick they used that worked well: They (grandma and grandpa) had 6 daughters, five of them with families. Each daughter chose a distinctive color for her family to wear so it was easy to pick out the different families in the group. One daughter and family wore white, another black, another blue, another green and another yellow. The single daughter wore red, and grandma and grandpa wore lavender. (This also worked out well when they had individual family portraits done, which we did first.)

One mistake made was that the biggest daughter chose white for her family. White stands out in photos, so it made her size even more noticeable in the group. Bare arms stand out too. Generally long sleeves are good for portraits, especially for group photos if you can get everyone to do it. It makes the faces stand out more. But getting everyone to wear long sleeves in the summertime might be impossible!

Have fun at your family reunion, and good luck with the photos.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:49 AM
 
258 posts, read 687,730 times
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I guess in truth, I don't feel the need to hide. I would sit right up front and not give a hoot. Everyone who knows me has seen me so if I don't hide in life, why should I in pictures. Others may be embarrassed for me, but I have long ago accepted that I won't be Kate Moss.
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