When families come together, memories are made. When that happens, people want to make sure they have a record. Pictures are taken to preserve those memories, so people can reminisce about those sweet moments. However, a bad family photo is probably not going to do much good when someone is waxing nostalgic about the past.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to take good family pictures. In fact, there are methods one can employ to get the very best photos possible for each gathering, reunion, or meeting. Capturing the perfect moments and those happy smiles can excel in family bonding. Here are the many ways you can use to get the best shots each and every time.
Hire a Pro
One method is to hire a professional. There’s nothing that guarantees a great family photo better than having someone who knows what they’re doing behind the lens. These are the ones that might seem costly, but they pack tools like tripods, a myriad of lenses, a reflector, a Soonwell LED light, and more. The gear helps make sure the quality of the pictures is the best they can be.
Be the Director
If you can’t hire a pro or you happen to be the pro, the first thing to learn is that you be a “director” for the shoot. You need to make sure all eyes are on you and the camera lens. To get that done in the middle of a family meeting, a photographer has to be assertive and willing to get people’s attention, even if that means interrupting conversations. As long as you do it politely, it’s all part of the job.
Have Your Own Equipment
Obviously, if you’re taking the family photos, you should have the gear yourself. While you don’t necessarily need professional-grade equipment, you can still choose to invest in them. Things like reflectors, lenses, flashes, and the like can do wonders to improve your photography.
Don’t Be Stiff
Don’t be afraid to take candid shots, ones without poses or when people are looking in different directions. This can help lend the portraits a more relaxed, less formal feeling. Keeping an eye out on everyone, on what they’re doing and how they’re moving around, is important for those intimate, unscripted moments. Patience is key to this, along with an attention to the details.
Work With the Lighting
Family portraits are likely to be the sort that is taken indoors. This means lighting is going to be very important. If you’re going to use a flash, you should also pack a diffuser or reflector to soften the effects of your shots. Try to use sunlight and other natural light sources whenever possible, because there’s just a flat quality to artificial light that makes photos seem less alive. This means using windows is probably going to be standard for you.
Help Them Relax
In any photoshoot involving human beings, it is crucial to make sure the subjects feel at ease. Don’t take pictures of people who are feeling or looking stressed out, because it shows up. Put them at ease. Talk to them, connect to them, and never once show that you’re not calm. The more at ease you are, the easier it is to get them to relax.
On the plus side, a home is a comfortable environment. Even if they’re not at home, they’re around family and they feel safe around them. You won’t have much of a problem trying to get them to relax. If they interact with it, it can also help you add a little narrative and character to your portraits.
Never take a picture of someone squinting. That is a terrible thing and a quick way to ruin a photo. This means you might want something like an umbrella, curtains, or anything else that will help people from squinting. You should also position yourself so that you don’t have an excessive light source behind you because it blinds the subjects as you take a picture, even if they’re bathing in natural light.
Cut Loose, Have Some Fun
Let the subjects have a little fun! Let them do a few goofy poses or mess with the props. Place a few people in the foreground. Have them interact with each other as if there’s no camera keeping an eye on them. Let them make little finger horns on each other’s heads. A few bursts of formal, dignified shots and some relaxed, anything-goes ones can add a natural feel to things.
Come to think of it, props are a good way to go. They can be useful if you want to frame the faces or providing continuity of line connecting the members of the family. This can do wonders for improving the composition and artistry of the image. They’re also a way to add a little fun or to inspire the people to be loose and at-ease instead of stiff and formal.
Do Some Experimenting
While you’re at it, you should do a little experimenting too. Don’t stick to headshots and boring angles. Try new poses, new positions, new angles. If you try new things, you might find something you like that will also bring out something from the subject that they didn’t know was there. People who don’t experiment and get out of their comfort zone will never grow and develop into something greater.
Edit Your Shots
Be sure to edit the shots. There is no such thing as a perfect picture, so post-processing is important. It also helps you remove all sorts of small flaws that you might not have caught while you took the picture and you only see them afterward.
Taking pictures of a family can be stressful. There’s a pressure in the air that makes you want to get it right, to make it as close to perfect as possible. While it’s not easy, there are ways to take them to keep them coming out the very best.
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