Trippy Thursday.

Yesterday I had the great pleasure and honor to be invited on the local Morning Show over at WJXT to share some tips for making creative family portraits. The hosts of the Morning Show, Nikki Preede Kimbleton and Tarik Minor, are amazing; I had no idea the complicated job television anchors have! 

On air with Nikki and Tarik. 

On air with Nikki and Tarik. 

If you want to watch the clip you can see it here: http://www.news4jax.com/news/Taking-a-great-holiday-family-picture/-/475880/22948264/-/b6cx59/-/index.html


As you probably know from my 365 project, I am no stranger to being on both sides of the camera. But live television? Totally different story.

As soon as the camera came on, I blanked. I don't mean that I forgot what I was going to say; I mean I momentarily forgot English. My sister, Sarah, gave me a tip: she said to bite the back of my tongue, so when I started talking, my mouth wouldn't be too dry. So when Nikki started talking, I was just standing there biting my tongue, wondering if I ran out right then if anyone would notice. 

Nikki and Tarik sensed my panic and immediately calmed me down with their words and a few well-timed looks. It was incredible. They aren't just beautiful faces; they're professionals who are experts at making the people they talk to feel at ease, no matter the situation.

To make sure you really get the most out of this experience, I want to point out some markers for you.

1:21 The look on my face that's saying, "please, hit the button that will just eject me into the freezing parking lot so I can get in my car and start the 1 hour drive home. I want this to be over." 

1:26 Notice me close my eyes. It felt like they were closed for an hour; in real time, it was just a long second. I just closed my eyes and accepted that I had blown It. I knew that when I got back to my phone it would be full of texts from people who would be offering to buy me a beer to drown my sorrows. So I thought about photography, and how much fun it is for me. It doesn't judge me or make me anxious... it is the thing that I dream about and never stop talking about.

1:40 I'm dropping my plan and deciding to do what I do best: talking from the heart.

When I finished the interview I stood off camera and watched Nikki and Tarik work. The focus they have is insane; I could definitely learn a thing or two from them in the way they can manage time down to a portion of a second.

I need to stop right now and say thank you. Thank you to Channel 4, Nikki, Tarik, the whole Morning Show staff, the producers, the junior producer who made sure I didn't throw up, the floor director who joked with me... the whole experience was amazing. You all made me look so good! I had no idea how good you all are at what you do and how hard you work. You have a lifelong fan.

This blog post contains more words than all of my the other blog posts combined... so I want to leave you with a recap of the tips I offered to the viewers.

Rob Futrell's Top Four Tips for an Epic Family Photo

  1. "You don't take a photograph, you make it." Ansel Adams said that. To me, it means that as creative portrait photographers we are not just snapshotting the world. We are creating stories with our photographs by using correct locations with visual interest, selecting complimentary wardrobe and details, as well as working with our subjects so they are comfortable, beautiful and ready.
  2. You don't have to spend any money. A massive pitfall that a lot of young photographers fall into is believing that a better camera will take better pictures. The camera is just a tool. Cell phones, point or shoots, instantcams, they all take beautiful photos when used properly. If you don't know how to use it, it is going to take crappy photos. Research your camera on the internet, find what the strengths are and play to that.
  3. Find good light. I can't stress this enough. My pet peeve is blurry photos on Facebook; there is just no need for it. Find a good light source: a window, a door, a really big lamp. It will help you focus, it will raise your shutter speed (which means less blurry photos) and it creates shadow and highlights in your images which then provide interest and dimension. 
  4. Have a good plan. My assistants get annoyed with me sometimes because I spend more time talking about "the plan" than anything else. It is very important. Have an idea, have a detailed plan and have backup options. You can't drag your family out into a field and then figure it out. Develop your theme, your outfits, your light, your subjects and then capture it. 

If you have a good plan and good light, what you create is going to be awesome.