Family photos capture a lifetime of beauty, inspiration, and fond memories – unless you’re like many who end up with horrible results. Let’s face it — we are not all professional photographers. If you are — according to the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics — congratulations you are the fortunate 0.05 percent of the population with an actual career in photography.
What about the remaining 99.95 percent of us? I’m a parent who takes too many pictures. It’s a problem facing tech geeks. Thank goodness for cloud storage and unlimited uploads! My 6TB home network storage is nearly out of date.
Whether you dread a family photo or love them, it can be challenging, especially if you want to create a beautiful picture. In this article, I will discuss five secrets to ensure your family photos are stunning and displayable.
1. Select the Proper Background or Scene
What and where really do make a difference. Think about the colors and shadows cast and even what time of day if you are outside. Make sure the colors of your outfits do not clash with the surrounding environment. Color wheels are exceptional to help match highlights, tones, and natural colors. This will help you tremendously in tip No. 5.
2. Lighting Does Not Mean Expensive
Sunlight — in my opinion — is the best form of lighting. However, you are at the mercy of the weather and time of day; wind is a big factor outdoors especially with props. For indoor pictures let as much natural light inside as possible. If it is nighttime, turn on the lights to their brightest setting — or for you tech lovers get a lighting kit.
3. Use Continuous or Burst Mode Shooting at the Highest Quality
Review your equipment manuals and discover continuous or burst modes for rapid photographs. This will ensure you capture the perfect shot when in timely situations. Ever experienced a wonderful family moment with 20 people only to find someone looking off picture or blinking? These continuous or burst modes enable you to select the best image out of 10s or 100s of duplicates — then toss the rest.
4. Do Not Force the Shot — Have Fun and Be Candid
If you are like me, you cannot stand lining up for a picture. Some of my best photos come from candid shots — although not always the best choice. If you have to line up, make sure the kids can have fun and act themselves. Many times my niece would start crying because she did not want to smile. Do not force the smile…live with the photo if it means capturing last moments with loved ones or renewed moments with long-lost friends. It’ll be a funny story to tell later in life.
5. Color Correction Is Your Friend and Easy Too
If you learn one thing from this article, learn this: color correction makes your photo look 1,000 times better! Simply boost up the saturation and play with the basic settings such as white balance, contract, and brightness to create an image that pops! Do not go overboard however. Too much of a good thing like saturation can turn your beautiful family photo into a cartoon landscape.
Gear I Use for the Best Family Moments:
- GoPro Hero3+ Black
- iPhone 5S
- Canon Rebel DSLR, 8MP w/an 18-55mm & 75-300mm lenses and filters – which are never used
- Canon PowerShot ELPH 12MP
- iStabilizer iPhone Tripod
- Variety of Mobile App Editors, including Snapseed, PS Express, Camera+, Pic Jointer, GoPro, etc…
- Variety of Computer Software Editors, including Handbrake, Adobe CS5.5, and many video/audio editors such as ProTools and FinalCut
Let me know your tips, tricks, and gear. Good luck with creating the most memorable photos of your lives.