Family photographs require many elements of the photographer’s art to create beautiful portraits. Here are my five easy tips for successful family photos.
Photography style is important for taking pictures. I prefer informal and spontaneous portraits because, otherwise, the picture seems a bit stiff and unnatural. However, you should honor the family’s preference if they want a classical picture. The family’s style decisions should inform your photography choices of setting, decorations, and the clothing the portrait subjects wear.
I like to choose a location, whether it is inside or outside, with interesting features that do not compete with the portrait subjects. The outside of a house, lovely nature scenes with stately trees in the background, or a comfortable sofa that will be able to accommodate the entire family are all places you can consider for the portrait. The sites should have sufficient lighting and I make sure that my camera has the flash on if I need it. I also always have a backup location in case of bad weather. There is no excuse for having a disappointing photo shoot because of rain.
I prefer it when family members wear clothing that is similar in style and color. The portrait looks disorganized if some people wear formal clothing while others are informal. I refrain from requiring them to dress in identical clothing. A portrait where subjects are in indistinguishable clothing becomes cringe-worthy with age. No one likes a reminder of identical periwinkle chiffon bridesmaids dresses or seasick green sport shirts for a one-off event.
Portrait Day Preparation
Preparation is essential for the big day. Emphasize to restless little ones this will only take a short time and make sure you, for your own sanity, keep your word. Set up your equipment in advance because if you fidget, they will too. And fuss. And cry. Another problem I have encountered is food stains that mysteriously appear on clothing just before the portrait session. Eating should be an activity for after photographs because nothing ruins a family portrait like ketchup stains or an inopportune spilled soda on a lap.
Photo Editing Software
Finally, I know how to use GIMP, a free photo editing software. I apply this digital software for effects such as using the healing tool to soften wrinkles or the red eye removal tool. This photo editing software is also useful for removing objects that look out of place in the portrait such as mustard stains or a two-finger “bunny ears” behind someone’s head.