If you are a photographer, having skills in the art of taking family portraits is essential. When you take a look at the history of photography, you will clearly see that the initial use of the camera was not for art, or photos of your puppy, but rather to take photos of people and families. Since photography was so expensive, the photographers ensured the image was right the first time, and that they crammed as many people in the frame as possible. Times have changed. The modern approach is much more relaxed and makes the photo session fun for the entire family.
The following guidelines will provide you with family pictures ideas that can ensure your sessions are successful and fun for your families. If you are new to photography you may want to check out this lesson, that will give you an overview of taking pictures of people and help you create superior images.
Squishing – Use It
This is one lesson that you can take from the beginning of photography. Even though your subjects are family, chances are they will not be standing close enough together. There are some that claim this is an American “personal space” issue, but this is an issue you are bound to encounter as a photographer. When the family is close physically, it will emit a sense of warmth and physically shows what a family should be.
By getting the members to squish together, you can help them appear to be the model family and the resulting composition will be more finished than the simple snapshot. You can start this process by telling the subjects to stand at a slight angle with their shoulders overlapping. Take time to also consider the age of the members, if you have elderly participants, you should have chairs to make the photo shoot more comfortable.
Prior to actually meeting your family for the photoshoot, you need to provide guidance for a coordinating photo shoot. While it is up to them what to wear, it is a good idea to remind them that they should try to overlap with a color scheme, avoid any extreme colors and remind the family that logos and prints can cause distractions in the photos. This will make post production smoother for you, as well. Do not force your opinions on them, as it is their decision, but making these suggestions will result in higher quality photos.
Check for Blinking
When you are photographing one or two individuals, shooting and shooting again will work. In a larger group this strategy can be extremely hit or miss. Do not make the assumption that if you use rapid fire you will eventually get a picture with everyone’s eyes open, as this rarely happens. You can deal with a weak smile, but the eyes are another issue. Additionally, any seasoned photographer knows that scanning the screen quickly prior to snapping the photo beats hours in front of Photoshop transferring eyes. Check out this Photoshop lesson to learn what you can do with this program.
Make it Fun
As the photographer, it is your job to make the photo session fun. Crack a joke and ask some questions, which will help to break the tension. Consider making statements such as “get in focus” or telling everyone to strike a glamour pose. Another way to make it more fun and get a family to loosen up is to have them do something that they normally don’t. You can consider having the family run, jump or make a human pyramid. For more ideas of taking photos of families use the lesson that is offered here.
Try to Blur the Background
On your camera, choose the largest aperture setting that you are able to, while keeping all of the family members in focus. You can find what aperture to use by shooting with a few clicks lower than the widest aperture of your camera, then you can use the preview screen and the zoom button on your camera in order to ensure that everyone in the subject looks good. As you view the results you will be able to adjust the settings accordingly.
While doing all of the right things is crucial to implement your family pictures ideas successfully, there are also some things that you need to avoid.
Don’t Shoot without Checking Settings
It is crucial that you check all of your camera settings prior to shooting your family photos. This includes the following:
· ISO: Go to the lowest setting possible;
· Image Size: RAW, fine;
· Exposure Compensation.
It would be devastating if you realized at the end of your family photo session that you did not adjust the settings properly and that the photos did not turn out as expected.
Avoid the Tilt
The head tilt is natural for photographs. However, if you are a professional, you need to avoid this at all costs. Many subjects hold the misconception that they will fit into the photo better if they tilt and lower their heads. It should be avoided. Check out the lesson found here for more information on posing and direction.
Don’t Be Negative
You should avoid comments such as this is not working and instead create a positive comment, such as great, let’s try something else. Positive reinforcement will provide confidence for your subjects to loosen up, which will help you capture better photos. A good tip is to act as though you have never seen such amazing photos, and they will have more confidence to be photographed.
Modern family pictures are no longer stuffy and stiff. Most photographers go for the candid shots that capture the family acting naturally. Do not focus on getting everyone to look at the camera for each pose, but instead allow them to choose some of the shots. This will be especially useful if you are taking pictures of younger children.
If you are new to photography, you should check out this lesson that will provide you with the basics of photography. You will have your fair share of family photos; therefore you should be well-versed in the best techniques for capturing these events.