Sometimes it can be hard to capture a beautiful and genuine family portrait. Here are five tips to ensure that your next family portrait turns out great.
1. Have a gathering before the photo shoot.
When my sister would come home for college, we would make it a tradition to get our picture taken with my other sister. The photo shoots were more fun when we waited a couple days into her trip instead of jumping into it right away. It’s a great idea to have some sort of gathering beforehand when you are organizing a family portrait. This gives each family member time to get reacquainted with everyone. This also will help organize who should sit next to who in the picture. If two family members aren’t getting along before the shoot this gives a heads up of what to expect during the shoot.
2. Figure out what to wear a couple days before the shoot.
Many family portraits consist of family members dressing alike. One year my sisters and I decided to wear a light blue top with jeans. I didn’t have a light blue top but was able to borrow a top from my sister. It’s best to figure out what to wear before the shoot so you aren’t scrambling around the day of the shoot. It might be harder to coordinate a specific style of dress if the portrait contains a lot of people. Most people have jeans in their wardrobe so it is a great choice to have everyone wear jeans. For the top it’s great to pick a solid color. Figuring out what to wear a couple days before the shoot gives everyone time to go through their wardrobe to see if they have the color, go out shopping for a shirt, or even try on a shirt to borrow from another family member, like what I did with my sister.
3. Figure out who’s paying for the shoot.
It’s best to ask every member of the family if they are first interested in getting together for a family portrait. When asking you should also mention how the photo shoot and pictures will be paid for. If you want everyone to help with the costs say so when asking. You don’t want a fight to arise because of miscommunication. Since it was just my two sisters and I who would get our pictures taken my one sister paid for it since she was the one that wanted to do it. If you are going to a portrait studio ask if there is a sitting fee per person. One idea is to just have each family member pay for their own sitting fee and then whoever wants pictures have each person buy what pictures they would like. This is the best way to handle the cost of going to a portrait studio. If you are having a professional photographer physically come to the family for the portrait the cost will be much higher and should be taken in consideration.
4. Decide if you want to go to a portrait studio, have a photographer come to you, or take the portrait yourself.
As stated before, where and how the portrait is taken will change the cost. A portrait studio specializes in taking portraits but tend to have a more serious tone with the pictures. The pictures usually need to be bought in a package which can add up depending on how many pictures you want. Having a photographer come to you can be a more intimate setting and can create unique photos. One of the great things about a photographer coming to you is that the portrait can be taken in any setting that you would like. The downside of having a photographer come to you is that they usually cost more than what a studio would charge. Sometimes they charge by the hour and will give you a disc of all the photos taken though. This is great so that you can do whatever you want with the photos. The cheapest way to take a family portrait is by taking the photo yourself. Most cameras have a timer on them so it would be very easy to set up a camera on a tripod and take a timed picture. My family has taken many portraits like this over the years. Some downsides of taking a portrait like this is that someone might not smile at the right time and you have to check the photo to see if it turned out okay. If the photo didn’t turn out it might take a couple of shots to get the “perfect shot”.
5. Make sure everyone is happy.
If there are going to be kids in the picture make sure that you make this a fun event for them or there will be complications. If the kids feel like this is a chore to them it will be hard to get genuine smiles. This can go for any family member of any age. I have a couple of relatives that think they are smiling when they are getting their picture taken and it ends up turning out that they aren’t. One way to make everyone have genuine smiles is to tell jokes before the pictures are taken. It’s not uncommon when my cousins and I get together that we all start cracking up when we are getting pictures taken. These make for the best photos. Try not to make this a serious affair. What’s being said and how everyone is interacting before the photos will show up in the photos.