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This is How: ‘Holiday’ by Katrin Küllenberg

In the third of our ‘This is How‘ series – where photographers tell us exactly how they ‘got the shot’ – we have our 2020 joint-winner of Storyteller of the Year, Katrin Küllenberg, telling us exactly how she captured this Reportage Family Award of hers.

Katrin shares so much here, including her thoughts on trying out new things, her use of flash, layering, mirroring, and more…


“Most of the time it is during our family vacation that I get to try out new stuff photography wise. I usually take a flash with me and find different ways of using it. My family does not bother anymore: I just arrange my flash and they ignore what I am doing.

For this one I wanted to include as many layers as possible. So I just placed a gridded flash on the table inside, went out onto the balcony where my husband happened to sit, mirroring our son’s position and action in the window. I just had to lower myself and shoot up high to keep myself and the camera out of the window’s reflection.

To me this image means a lot: It shows so many similarities between father and son, the trees remind me of summer and our vacation and how it helped me improve my technical skills.

Though it is rather rare to use flash in documentary family photography, I keep pushing myself to use it more often. To me, a flash photo does not mean it has been staged.
Of course, it should be off camera flash. The effect is far more interesting and people in front of my camera are not aware that I am using one (only after the light goes off…)
I just need to put my flash at a promising spot without directing people to it or telling them to turn their faces or bodies.

I usually shoot natural light most of the time but if I know I have placed my flash somewhere it is fun to switch modes and use it for a few exposures before getting back to natural light. I admit it usually is a lucky guess when I use the flash because I don’t direct. People turn their heads and all you get is their perfectly lit backside. But once in a while I will have a perfect shot – and it often makes me more happy than a ‘regular’ image. It is always amazing what a difference a flash can make and it really adds something special to the sum of pictures that will tell a family’s story.” – Katrin


Thanks so much, Katrin! Find out more about Katrin on her This is Reportage: Family profile, and her website.

Read more of our ‘This is How’ pieces over here (more to come soon…)

Interested in joining us? Find out all the benefits of membership and apply to join us over here. The deadline for our first Awards Collection of 2022 is soon: Submit by 23:59 GMT on 24th January 2022. Join us to submit.

family photography

Family photography


family photography

family photography

family photography

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