15-07-2021

Family portraits

"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." ~Ryunosuke Satoro

By In Photography

A while ago, my sister asked me if I could shoot some family photos of her, her kids, her partner Pascal, and his kids. Yeah, a patchwork family shoot, another thing I had never done before! Another challenge, which I was more than willing to accept.

Family portraits

As I didn’t want to shoot the normal “family portraits” and don’t like studio work that much, I proposed to go to Lapadu in Duisburg, a cool industrial playground. Perfect for a cool bunch of people to make group portraits and have a good time for a couple of hours!

Group portrait on train tracks
Profile portrait of a girl

Landschaftspark Duisburg

Landschaftspart Duisburg, or in short “LaPaDu” is an old blast furnace that has been decommissioned for years now but has been turned into a recreational area. You can go for a walk, you can climb, you can eat at one of the food stands or have a coffee at the adjacent restaurant. You can climb all the way up the blast furnace for a spectacular view over the Ruhr Area, you can even go for a dive in the Gasometer that’s been repurposed as a diving school. Lots of great possibilities!

It’s an extensive ground, with lots of cool areas to discover. So, of course, it’s great for photographers too. Whenever you’re there, you’ll see many photographers, from architecture to model photographers with their models walk the grounds.

Profile photo of a boy
two boys looking at each other on stairs


That day, there was one more photographer, with a bunch of beautiful people!

Shooting people

I don’t like to shoot standard portraits. I want to show who people are, and of course, I want to show what I’m about as a photographer! So I decided to create these family portraits in a natural, cool style. My style!

Lucky for me, this was exactly what Maartje and Pascal wanted.

Family portrait in Lapadu
Couple portrait in front of a wall

Covid was a bit of a bummer

As we walked through the area we quickly, to my disappointment, discovered that quite a lot of the areas were closed. I assume it was due to the Covid-19 situation, which had our own country, as well as Germany, in its grip. We’d just been lucky enough to sneak in a sunny day between total lockdowns.

Of course, that was a bit of a bummer, but hey, the area is so big, there was enough to do, see and photograph. So the hunt for the good spots began. As I’m in the process of learning to look for good light, it turned out to be harder than I thought.

As I have an urban exploring background, I’m used to photographing indoors. On a tripod. And take stuff as it is. That’s what you do when you do urban exploring. Of course, when the sun is too harsh, you wait for a couple of minutes for a cloud to cover the sun again. If that doesn’t happen, you shoot a couple of extra, darker exposures to blend with the final image. Easy as that.

That does not work with people photography. Harsh sunlight makes harsh shades, and you can’t “just edit them out” Lesson learned. Damn. The sun was at its best that day. Not too many clouds, so there I was. No soft light, no shade, the harshest of shadows, what could I do?

Family photo on traintracks
Portrait of Pascal, a cool guy

I, no, actually, we, made the best of it!

Making the best of it

We decided to walk around and see which spots were cool. Some of them were in full sunlight, some were in the shade, some had a mix of both. We didn’t let it stop us, we shot some cool shots anyway. Some were a learning experience for me, but there was enough cool stuff to go around and make everybody happy. We created some individual as well as some group/family portraits, which show what a cool bunch of people this family is, and which also clearly showed the style I like when I take photographs of people. Unposed, spontaneous, with a dash of street in it. I love it!

A group portrait between concrete pillars
photo of boys playing

If you want family portraits as well, or as a couple, or simply of yourself, and you like my style, don’t hesitate to contact me!

~ B.B.

Written by Bas

Photographer, traveler, lover of black coffee, red wine and gin & tonic. Wearer of black glasses and a black hat, always a camera in hand, and the occasional writer.

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