Family pictures capture a specific moment in time and create a cherished memory that will be treasured for years. However, being the photographer…there are certain tips and guidelines you should keep in mind to ensure perfect family portraits.
Here’s some simple family picture ideas and tips to help on your next portrait session.
- Suggest color coordinating to your subjects. While it is not necessary it can help the group appear as a cohesive unit. Also, it does not have to be the exact same colors, utilize shades in the same family and use opposites on some members of the portrait. For example, all the girls where black shirts and white pants and the boys wear white shirts and black pants. This concept will help with the overall flow of the photo.
- Reduce background distractions. If you are shooting a large group consider using a unconventional angle. Instead of shooting straight on, shoot from above or below to minimize the objects around that will take away from the overall shot.
- Create levels in the picture. Do not have all the faces at the same level. By using a stacking method you can create depth to the photo. Also, it helps everyone stand out and no instances of someone “getting lost in the crowd.”
- Utilize shade and lighting to its full potential. If possible shoot your photos late in the evening when the sun is going down to maximize side-light. If this is not possible, utilize the shade of awnings or other large structures to ensure even exposure. As long as the lighting on the faces is even the picture should look great.
- Create spontaneous shots. Take photos of the family walking, talking and interacting with each other. Many shots like these create exceptional shots and end up being the subjects favorites.
- Take pictures quickly. Groups of people, especially large groups, are often restless. Pose and take your shot quickly and move on to the next area. This way members do not get bored or agitated.
- Create a comfortable atmosphere. Joke around and laugh with your subjects. Make them comfortable with the situation so they can relax and act naturally, this will make for the best family portraits.
It is also important that you take some time to talk with the family to see what they want from their photos. You should have a general idea of whether they wish to have formal shots or more casual arrangements. Knowing the theme of the shot can help you create those picture perfect moments that the family truly wants.
Using the tips and guidelines can help you create aesthetically pleasing shots. However, to capture the emotion in the family use these tips that will create the relationships that exist between members.
- Show the existence of relationships. This can be accomplished by having members stand close together or hug and hold hands. Also, you can create “generational” shots by posing the generations in order, for example grandfather, father, son, etc.
- Position the family group in unique ways. One option is to have them lie in a circle on the ground and shoot their faces from above. This will help to illustrate the family unit, in a unique and creative way.
- Utilize the entire frame of the picture. Make faces, hands or other parts take up the entire frame of the shot. This allows for little background distractions.
- Be creative with angles. Try laying on the ground and shooting your subjects faces from above.
Using unconventional methods will create unique shots for the family you are photographing. Remember, the equipment you use will also make a difference in the photos you produce. In most cases a large family shot will take more time and preparation than traditional photos. Utilize reflectors if necessary to create the right lighting and utilize different lenses to capture fun and unique moments.
It is important to remember to be creative when shooting family pictures. Most modern family portraits are taken outdoors utilizing natural light.
Also, it is customary to capture the family interacting naturally. Pay attention to the image on the right and see how the child is holding each parent’s fingers. Years from now they will all look back and see how small he once was. Also…make sure your subjects do not overdress, as simple is usually better.
Large Group Tip
If you have an exceptionally large group, it is okay to take smaller “mini-group” shots. This will also provide for a larger selection of photos for the family to choose from. However, do not forget, even though you want to give your customers what they want, you should also ensure your personal style and touches shine through on the photographs you take.
Family Posing And Clothing Examples
Feel Free to bookmark this page and refer back to for future family portrait sessions.
So, that’s it for this lesson. If you have a questions or comments…leave them in the form below.
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