READER QUICK SHOT: Fuji X100 Family Portrait

Long time reader, infrequent commenter, but wanted to send a shot from yesterday I am really proud of. I did the post production, and assisted on the lighting and pre production, and provided all the equipment, but being in the photo required a friend run the actual camera itself. Used a Fuji X100, an elinchrom quadra through a Softlighter umbrella to camera left.

This is a photo of myself (the tall one) my husband, and our nine month old son, in our greenhouse in Iceland. Visible are some grapes and figs we grew ourselves from seeds, and the shot was intended to show our cluttered but hobby filled lives, as proud parents of our son.

For image credits, Styling, lighting, and post production – Sæþór Benjamín Randalsson, and photography by THGrau



  1. The dark eye sockets & lack of catch lights in the eyes make the lighting less than ideal. The baby’s partially obscured face by hand detracts also.OK as a snap shot but falls a bit short for a formally lit & posed family portrait.

  2. Beautiful image, love the carefully organized clutter! Posed portraits show so much more than the socalled “spontaneous” variety, particularly if the viewer is provided a little insight in the preparations and background.

  3. just for clarity sake – who is taking the photo since you are the subject? A timer? Anyway, seriously great balanced photo in color and composition. I love it.

    • From the last line of the post: “For image credits, Styling, lighting, and post production – Sæþór Benjamín Randalsson, and photography by THGrau”

  4. Super shot! Congratulations. As the “official photographer” of our family, I know how hard that is. Although I can’t help but think that with all-males in the photo you have an advantage in some regards. But probably some disadvantages too for that matter. Agree that the photo could benefit from somre cropping, especially on top. But not too much please. Love the baby sucking on the thumb. That was a habit of mine to an age I do not care to reveal here. Best wishes to all!

  5. I love the colors, lighting, composition, the subjects, and even the clutter adds to a compelling portrait of domestic bliss.

  6. Are you able to grow plants all year round with a green house? Being that you live in a cold environment, do you transfer plants to the outdoors during summer months?

    • Most of the year yes, but it depends on the plants. The grapes and figs will not last past fall, but herbs and other random plants will do alright with extra grow lights. Keep in mind that not only does it get colder in the winter, but we get less hours of daylight, in December around 2 hours and none of it is direct sunlight.

  7. This is a very nice enviromental portrait with beautiful light. But the flare at the top just look terrible. Fortunately it is easy to fix. Just crop the photo just above the silver handle on the right where the black part ends. Also crop the floor in front of the basin for the brown pot at the bottom. Now, that is a much tighter and better composition as well! And don’t forget to print and frame the photo, with the crops I suggested. It is worth it!

    • The flare at the top is purposeful. The X100 held the highlights, but the sky was completely white and featureless. I prefer the soft blown out look that I achieved using a gradient adjustment in lightroom, a bit of lessened clarity and exposure boost.

    • I’m unsure about the roof cropping though as it starts to feel claustrophobic especially when you cut out the floor.
      Almost like they’d crack through the roof if they sneezed or stretched slightly.
      The minor blown out details of the trees outside helps create a bit of air and wouldn’t add to the narrative if brought back in post.
      And it would probably add a bit to the cramped feel the crop would provide.
      If cropped at all I’d crop the doorframe sacrificing the flower,
      as it would make the roof higher (to the point where blown highlights don’t matter much)
      and the space and it’s inhabitants bigger.

  8. Beautiful family portrait. I like the clutter and the odd little details too. It feels like a real candid shot. The lighting is perfect. Congrats.

    • One of the things that sold me on the X100 is the ability to expose for the flash, and then pretty much do whatever you want with the ambient because of the leaf shutter. Let it all in, or close it all down. The photographer originally had the ambient a bit darker, but after I suggested letting a stop more ambient in, we agreed it looked better balanced and more natural. The huge size of the softlighter meant we still got some nice softness to the lighting while still having directionality despite the distance from the subjects.

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