What’s the most important in taking family photos?
There’s something about a good and honest family photo that warms up people’s heart and allows them to look back at their past, remind them of their present and believe in their future. Although they seem like quite easy to arrange and take, as they’re literally all members of family gathered in one shot, they’re also one of the most difficult for photographers to take. Posing, smiling, location/studio set up and dressing up is completely different when it comes to family pictures. In fact, the less premeditated poses are involved, the less ‘smile on camera’ is said – the better family porters turn out after the specialist’s manipulation. Those portraits look the best when a real emotion, real communication, real personality is captured by a photographer’s hand. Of course, he can play with the setups or ask family members to stand in a certain order, or play with kids in a certain way. But even in these circumstances it’s better to set them free and let them interact until you see a perfect moment that is worth remembering.
Family portraits are nothing like the individual ones. They’re not about making one person (or each person) look the best they can or capturing its facial features, etc. They’re about capturing the relations between people, the love, the care, the loyalty and happiness. And those can’t be seen. They become visible in true smile of a child playing with his parent, or true glimpse of eyes when a couple hugs or kisses each other, in the way they look at each other while holding their kids’ hands or when young kids kiss their elderly grandparents. Those moments and feelings are too precious and too real to be staged. And they’re so unique to capture.
As you can see, taking family pictures is really hard, not to mention the technical moments like making a child look at the camera or stopping him from crying (although, why not to capture that too?), making him last through the photo shoot, etc.. The studio setup has to be quite simple and subtle. And, the best-case scenario is when the pictures are taken in the family house and backyard, or somewhere in the nature (a field, a cherry garden, a park), or both. In general, the background has to be as close to the nature and as comfortable for a family as possible. The next thing is that it’s necessary to come up with such family pictures ideas which will suit the personality of this family, the age of its members and the character of the family as a unity. As again, family pictures are all about capturing the inner side of the family, but not its outside. Poses and frames play a significant role, especially when it comes to making all members of a large family fit into a single picture or using close-ups to capture the faces of a couple or a parent with one child. Besides, the technical side of family pictures is all about the interesting and even touching angles. Like taking picture of people holding hands like if the photographer took it from a lower point, or photographing a family in a sunset the way that their figures look like black shades, etc.
Naturally, almost everyone has a decent camera right now, so taking family pictures doesn’t necessarily involve finding a family photographer and booking a professional photo shoot. Moreover, the cameras on our phones are so great right now that it’s possible to take quite a good-looking family photo if the occasion is so suitable and unique that it’s just impossible to miss an opportunity. But, if you have a camera and if you’re planning to arrange a family photo shoot on your own, you need to be prepared to the fact that it’s going to be more or less stressful. Especially if you have young kids. You’ll have to pick out the location, figure out the right angles, entertain your kids to make them last through the process, come up with the ways to embody the family photo ideas you’ve chosen, take all those numerous shots and still end up in a picture. Moreover, even the greatest picture might look even better when it is edited correctly. So, basic photo editing skills are a must-have for a person who wants to take proper pictures of his own family.
So, hiring a professional photographer and just showing up ready for a photo shoot sounds like much more pleasant experience. You’ll have to just dress the family members accordingly, pose a little bit and grab the finished pictures whenever the photographer lets you. But, it’s necessary to hire a photographer and schedule the photo shoot in advance, so that the professional gets ready for a shoot and has a free time for it. That’s why you can go to hireRush.com and post your family photo shoot task. The local photographers will get the notification and, if they’re free at a certain date, they’ll contact you right away. Meanwhile, you may scroll through their profiles, compare the prices and maybe contact the people you’ve liked directly from the site on your own.
But, no matter what option you choose, I’ve decided to share a couple of family photo shoot tips and ideas with you. Hope that DIY lovers and maybe beginning photographers will find them helpful.
Family photo shoot ideas
- Schedule the photo shoot at a nearest park or nature reservation and follow the family around as they explore the outdoors and interact with each other. Don’t forget to calculate the time according to the sunlight.
- Use a tripod, especially if you’re the lucky member of the family who was granted with the task of taking family pictures. But even if you’re a hired photographer, you won’t complain about taking a tripod with you in the end of a photo shoot. You’ll need to help people gather in a pose, adjust their hair, combine them in groups, make them less nervous, etc. And, if you’re a member of the family, you’ll want to be a part of the picture, right? That’s how the tripod will save the photo shoot.
- Once people gather in a certain pose, they’re not going to move as much. So, it’s better to set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, look through the camera’s manual to find out.
- Keep it simple with soft colors in a natural setting. This will give you a sweet and uncomplicated composition.
- Don’t be afraid to embrace the elements. There is something about the contrast of a family in their Sunday best getting caught in the rain that makes for a great photograph.
- What you want to avoid is a boring straight line, row, or column of heads. Diagonal lines are more dynamic and add interest to an image, so try to do that with the people in your grouping.
- Imagine there is a line drawn from each face to the next. Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines not totem poles. Use props to seat some people or bring some small folding stools.
- Ew! Mom and dad are kissing! Children are never really excited about their parents’ show of affection. This is a cute pose with kids giggling at their parents being affectionate.
- Little feet are adorable, and your young models will be excited about the chance to paint on each other’s feet. The only question is, who decides what to write?
- Time for a little role reversal. Let the parents (or yourselves) get comfortable with their children’s toys and start documenting what happens when grown-ups get back to childhood together with their kids.
- Let kids be kids and snap them while they’re having a time of their lives running around the area. Bring a couple of toys to entertain your child, make him chase it or something like that. If you’re a hired family photographer, ask a mom to do that. Make funny noises and faces, sing songs, play pick-a-boo to make the kids smile and laugh on a picture.
- Who needs slides and carousels when mom and dad are around? Ask the kids to treat their parents like a playground and get ready to snap before the folks get tired. Play with black&white camera settings.
- Whether you want to emphasize the number of kids, a specific date, or maybe the years of a marriage anniversary, get the family to pose in a location that highlights their magic number.
- A family sandwich. Let the parents be the top and bottom buns and stack the children in between them. Start snapping as they crunch each other with love.
- The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. To do that, choose the time of day to do the portrait carefully! Ideally late evening about an hour before dusk is the best time for portraits. Add some light using a reflector or a flash if you think that it will improve the job.
- Make sure that the family members dress up the way that they fit one chosen pallet of colors and style of clothing. Besides, their clothes have to be comfortable enough for people to be able to recreate different poses. Another great idea for people, who’re planning to hang their family photos in the house is to make their clothes or/and background fit the house decor. And, if a family has young kids (especially babies), make sure that there’s a spare outfit for them.
- Capture your family’s reflection in still water for a unique and interesting photograph.
- A cool long-term family picture idea is to gather the family and make the couple hold the family picture from a previous year. The continued practice will give amazing results. Post a task now