You often look at your friends’ beautiful family portraits and wonder, “What are their secrets to taking such great photos?” Listed below are industry secrets to each of the five steps you should take to ensure family photo success.
1. Secrets to picking a photographer.
It’s very important to scout out a photographer that works well with kids. Browse through the photographer’s portfolio and look for evidence of how well they seem to work with youngsters. This also gives you a chance to see the variety and style of their work. Find out more by asking questions such as: Are you open to different photo ideas? Are you willing to take pictures outside of a studio or home? How do you handle rowdy children or uninterested teens? Gauge the photographer’s personality when they respond. You’ll need to hire someone who is fun, enthusiastic, and patient and who can connect well with kids. This will lessen the likelihood of your children appearing uneasy in the photos.
2. Secrets to choosing a location.
Break free from a generic studio photo shoot and head outdoors or set up a shoot in your home. Pick a location that everyone is comfortable in and that speaks to your family’s interests. However, you need to keep a few things in mind. First, avoid a cluttered setting, such as a messy room. The less busy the scenery, the greater the focus will be on your family. Remove “background noise”, meaning anything distracting or out of place. If you’re going for an outdoorsy look, having anything unnatural in the background can throw off the whole photo. Second, consider the location’s lighting. While a majority of people may think that a beautiful sunny day makes for the perfect photo shoot opportunity, somewhat cloudy skies are actually ideal. Too much sunlight can be unflattering and can create unwanted shadows.
3. Secrets to finding what to wear.
Coordinate both color and style. As far as color-coordinating, you want everyone to wear complimentary colors but not necessarily the same colors. If you would like your photos to highlight one person, such as your newborn baby, have them wear a contrasting color but keep the style consistent. This will ensure that all eyes are drawn to that individual. Also, keep location in mind when picking colors and style. For example, if your photos will be taken in a field, it’s best to pick colors that are toned down and styles that are outdoorsy.
4. Secrets to setting up the shoot for success.
To get the best out of a photo session, show up to the shoot with more than just smiling faces. Have ideas, bring props, and, most importantly, prepare as best you can. For ideas, browse Pinterest so you have real-life examples of what you’re looking for. For props, you can bring a child’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket, a chalkboard to write on, or signs to hold up. You’ll want to keep props to a minimum, though, to avoid clutter. To best prepare for the shoot, try to schedule it for the beginning of the day, and after a big breakfast, to prevent cranky, tired, and hungry children. Besides, if you’re doing the shoot outside, morning light is the best light. You also don’t want to wait until the time of the shoot to plan out the photos and poses you want. Decide as much as you can beforehand or you’ll most likely end up with restless and uninterested kids.
5. Secrets to posing the family.
The key to posing a family is that they do not appear posed. Today, family photos are all about capturing real smiles and natural, relaxed poses. The more staged the pose is, the less natural it looks. Candid shots usually make the best natural shots. But never try to stage a candid shot (unless you all happen to be Academy Award-winning actors); it will most likely look as staged as it actually is. Allow the photographer to snap photos in between poses, while you’re talking amongst each other, and when you’re not paying attention. It is also important to bring out the best in each member of the family. For example, a toddler should be encouraged to be their playful, silly selves and a normally-moody teenager shouldn’t be forced to put on a huge plaster smile. Also, have pictures taken of each family member, just the children, or just the parents. That way, you can capture each individual person as well as the special relationships between the kids and between mom and dad. A bonus tip: you can prevent the blinking problem by having everyone keep their eyes closed until the photo is taken.
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