Taking family portraits presents a wonderful opportunity to capture the intimate relationships between all the family members.
What we will focus on here is mostly the immediate family that usually consists of between two and six people. Here are a few Digital Photography Tips For Great Family Portraits to remember when working with families:
Tip #1 Make them Comfortable
It is difficult to get great expressions on faces when people are straining to maintain a certain pose. It’s important to make every effort to pose the family in a way that will give you the best opportunity to capture their best ‘side.’
Tip # 2 Watch your Composition
Part of the challenge of family portraits is to compose your shot in a way that will draw the viewer into and around the photograph in a pleasing way. Pose family members in triangles. The natural flow of the portrait will then allow the viewer to see each family member in an easy and progressive manner.
Tip # 3 Using Props
Using a big wing-backed chair with mom or dad sitting in the chair and the rest of the family members posed around it always makes a great shot. Using park benches, trees, rocks, fireplaces, stools and even the ground or floor are all good ideas to help you capture that unique shot. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination and creativity!
Tip # 4 Dressing Similar
This should be discussed before the family shoot is to take place. It will save you a lot of headache if all the family members are dressed in complimenting styles and colors. Strips, polka dots, clashing colors and printed clothing can give you a disconcerting and uneasy feel to a photo. We want to produce a photo that will convey the harmony and love between family members and draw the viewer to the faces; not be distracted by clothing that is outlandish or clashing.
Tip # 5 Watch the Lighting
If you are shooting in a studio, make sure you have your lights set up to enable every person’s face to be clearly seen. Although shadows can add intensity and interest, make sure it is balanced properly. Taking family photos outside can present a whole new set of challenges.
Shooting at the golden hour of the day (one hour before the sun goes down) is an option that will give you wonderful lighting conditions. Once again, it is of prime importance that all family member’s faces can be clearly seen.
Taking family portraits can present some very interesting challenges. You, as the photographer, have the opportunity to capture the very character and intimacy of the family unit. It takes planning and practice to create a stunning portrait that will become a treasured family memory for years to come.