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Extreme Family Photography 2015 Edition

Extreme Family photography by Justin Van Leeuwen - Doubt-Stewart Family

I find that Extreme Family Photography goes in waves. It’s not something everyone needs every year, and that’s fair, because it’s a lot of work. Take the Stewart/Doubt/Howell/Evraire family above. Easily my largest composite image to date: 8 adults and 3 children (no pets in this one, thankfully).

In order to fit everyone in the frame within the backyard space I used Canon’s 17mm Tilt-Shift lens. Not only was I able to encompass the entire back yard, but I also shifted up on the lens to capture the tree and merge the frames in a panoramic final image that was square. It was a partially cloudy day that threatened rain. The intermittent clouds presented a shooting problem since they would dramatically change the light as the morning went along. To create a consistent look for the scene, we set up a large 6′ square scrim and put some Elinchrom strobes behind it to create an even light.
ExtremeDoubt BTS
The subjects were mostly shot individually and then later merged in Photoshop using over 60 different layers.
photoshop layers
I want to thank my clients for being incredibly patient with me, as I was unable to take on the daunting task of editing the image until after my summer shoots wrapped up. Hopefully the end result was worth the wait! (I also encourage you to check out a larger version of the photo on Flickr)

But wait, there’s more!

At the end of last year I photographed two other amazing Extreme Family photos that I never officially showed off here on the blog. The first was for my good friend and wedding photographer, Christian’s family. With only three family members, and an indoor shoot, this one was significantly simpler to produce, but no less effective. I love Christian’s face as the hot coffee is poured on him (no actual hot coffee was poured on Christian in these photos… the magic of Photoshop!)
Extreme Family Photography - Christian Lee by Justin Van Leeuwen

The #NiceJewishGadget family are repeat clients, this being their third take. We went with a Clue theme, and hid as many of the typical murder weapons in the scene as possible. I wanted to do something with more dramatic lighting too. Not that single wash of soft light, but colour and mood to help draw the viewer around the scene and encourage them to explore a bit.

NiceJewishGadgetFamily 2014

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