It’s that time again! Time for family photos. Today I want to share a few tips for family photos to give a more professional look to those portraits of the most important people in your life… Your Family!
Maybe this year you aren’t planning to have your family photos done. Perhaps it doesn’t fit into your budget or there are time constraints. Plan to take the pictures yourself. With a little planning, you can make this moment a very special memory for you and your family, plus save a little money. Now, that’s a great combination, if you ask me. 🙂
Plan! Plan! Plan!
When I am planning a photo shoot for my family, my first thought is always… Where do we want to go for our pictures? It usually depends on the season. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Right now it’s summer, so this is the season that this article will be about.
Then my next question is… What am I going to be doing with these photos? Will I send them in cards, put them on Facebook, or just pass them around to family members?
Let’s say, for instance, your family loves the beach. Can you take family photos at the beach? Of course, you can. I would look for a secluded area so you do not have a bunch of strangers in your photos, though. LOL
Let’s say, for instance, your family loves just being outdoors. You could take your family photos in a beautiful park, or in a field.
What I’m saying is that the sky is the limit. Choosing your own destination for your family photos trumps a photography studio any day, in my opinion. You can bring out the dynamics of your family and share your likes and hobbies through your photos. Let that be your priority, showing your family’s personalities through these photos. You can make them as unique as you can possibly imagine. Get your children involved. They will love it.
You may think that is a crazy thing to mention. Everyone knows THAT! You’d be surprised.
Coordination: Noun: The organization of the different elements of a complex body or activity so as to enable them to work together effectively.
Coordinate not only the colors of your clothing but coordinate with the environment also.
For instance, if you are taking your pictures down by a lake with trees and rocks, you probably don’t want everyone in their Sunday Finest. A more relaxed look would go along with the surroundings. Often times, people forget this detail, and their pictures end up looking more ‘forced’.
If you want your Sunday Finest, then you will need to find an environment more suited for that. I’m thinking a nice well-manicured park, or even a nice backyard with flowers blooming, or maybe even in front of a beautiful historic building in your area.
Once again, the sky is the limit. Let your imaginations run wild with this. Be creative and unique.
Do you want to use props in your family portrait? Some people wouldn’t even consider it, but some love the idea. Personally, I like the idea of using props in every picture. 🙂
Here are a few prop ideas.
- Pets (Remember, they are family, too)
- Chalkboard with your last name, or the Year, or the word Family, or even the occasion
- You could take a chair for someone to sit in while the rest of the family gather around (I actually saw a family photo where the family took a long red couch. Trust me, the photo turned out just gorgeous) This takes a little extra time and planning, but the rewards are outstanding.
A Little Photography Gear
If you are not taking an extra person along to actually be the photographer, you will need a tripod for the family portrait. I think every photographer should have a tripod. Otherwise, we are left out of all the pictures! Who wants that? Sometimes I want in on the action. 🙂
My tripod is a Manfrotto. I can’t speak highly enough about the Manfrotto brand. I’ve tried other brands, but I always come back to a Manfrotto. I’m including a link for you to browse their tripods. They have tripods for point and shoot cameras, DSLR cameras, and even cell phones. I’m sure you can find exactly what you are looking for. The link, though, will lead you directly to the tripod that I use when I am traveling. It is lightweight and has a carrying case. I hope you find one that will work for you.
If you are using a cell phone or a point and shoot camera, just double check that your camera does have a timer. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a remote shutter button. They are usually inexpensive.
Another thing to consider is that if your photo site is extremely windy, then you will probably want to look towards the higher end tripods. You certainly don’t want the wind to blow over your tripod with your camera equipment on it. We want this photo shoot to be a happy and enjoyable time. No broken ANYTHING!! 🙂
Family photos are so much fun. I’ve done photo shoots for families where I had the time of my life. It’s such a blast, just for an hour or so, to be a part of a family, and see how they interact with each other. I’ve also done family photo shoots that I wish I had not done. That’s all I am saying about that. LOL, I said all of that to say, be happy during your photo shoot!!!! It really does set the tone for everyone involved.
The main thing I can leave with you concerning your family photos is to have fun. Let each member express who they are. When you are doing the individual shots, help your model to feel relaxed and beautiful. Both, little girls and boys usually love to be told how beautiful and special they are. That will usually always get a grin. If you are taking pictures of teens, tread lightly, God bless you, and good luck! 🙂
When you are doing your family shots, have a plan to let them know when you are going to push that shutter button. I always say… “On my 3. OK?” Sometimes, I even have to explain what that means. LOL, Then I count out loud…” 1… 2…and click on 3.” Works like a charm… most of the time.
I wish you great success with your family photo shoot. Now, after you take those pictures, go and have some fun with your beautiful and wonderful family. They are worth every second of effort you put into them.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I truly love to hear from each of you. Better yet, if you do go out there and take some pictures, share them with us. We’d love to see them.
All the best,