Time flies when you’re having fun, and the magical moments we spend with our loved ones go the fastest. Whether you’d like to shoot beautiful portraits of your children, group shots with the grandparents or quirky candid snaps at Christmas, these beginner-friendly tips will help you take photos that you and your family will cherish for generations to come.
1. Make it Fun for Everyone!
Taking photos is a whole lot of fun for those of us who love photography, but being in front of the camera isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Whether you’re photographing your father or your granddaughter, your cousin or your uncle, it’s important to keep the energy upbeat and lighthearted. Gather in a room where everyone will feel comfortable, or head out into the garden if you need more space. Give your family members props to pose with – their favourite toy or a musical instrument – as this will make them feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Most importantly of all, remember to smile and give plenty of compliments and encouragement. The fun that you have, the more fun your subjects will have. And if your subjects are happy, you’ll get more photos!
2. Make it Collaborative
On the day before you plan the shoot, get in touch with your family members to get excited and raring to go! Brainstorm some ideas together, from outfits to locations, and even ideas for specific poses. Once you start shooting, demonstrate how you would like your family members to position themselves and get them to imitate you. Got creative family members? Give them a rough idea or prompt and encourage them when they start to improvise with different looks and poses. Get them energised by showing them the best photos on your camera screen or phone as you go, so that they feel more involved during the shoot. You’ll soon find that even your most camera-shy family members will soon become willing participants and brilliant models!
3. Get Cosy
It can be quite the challenge getting all of your family members together for a group photo, but there’s nothing better when you manage to make it happen. Start by making sure everyone is comfortable. Maybe your great aunt would prefer to pose for your family group shots on the sofa instead of the metal bench in the garden, whereas your little rugrats might prefer wriggling around on the carpet in the living room, and your teenage son or daughter may feel cooler sitting on the arm of the chair or standing behind the sofa if you have space. The more comfortable everyone is, the longer they’ll be happier to pose for photos and the better your family snaps will be. Get everyone to lean in together, say a big “cheeeeese!” (or better yet some kind of inside family joke) and be ready to hit that shutter button! Oh, and don’t stop shooting just because everyone’s stopped posing – sometimes the best family shots are the candid shots you take just after everyone thinks you’ve finished!
4. Pack Snacks as Well as Camera Gear
Even professional models get cranky during shoots when they’re hungry! If you’re heading out for a family photo session, whether it be at the beach, the park, or up a mountain, be sure to pack a few drinks and snacks so that everyone is well-fed and ready to go! A happy family is a beautiful family!
5. Get Everyone Dressed for the Occasion
Everyone has an outfit they feel extra special in, so be sure to give your family members some notice ahead of your shoot so that they know to wear that special dress or their most flattering jeans. Want to shoot outside in the autumn colours? Remind everyone to bring a warm jacket – and maybe even some gloves and a hat! Going to the beach? Don’t forget to pack sun cream!
6. Shoot Candid Moments Too
The key to beautiful family photography is capturing your loved ones as naturally as possible. The best way to do this is to skip poses altogether and photograph them in real-life moments as they unfold. Is grandad watching his favourite TV show with those funny slippers on again? Bring him a cup of tea and capture him in his element! Parents dancing in the kitchen and sipping cocktails? Sneak a few candid shots of the magic without disturbing them. From your baby’s first footstep to that big 18th birthday, this is a fantastic way to create beautiful and authentic photos of those little moments that mean so much to us all when we look back. Keep your camera or phone close by so you’re always ready to shoot. As the old saying goes, “the best camera is the camera you have with you”.
7. Simplify Your Backgrounds for Better Beauty Shots
Need a headshot of your handsome little devil, or a profile pic of your wife or husband? You can instantly give your portraits a lift by photographing them against a clean and simple background. Avoid cluttered shelves and distracting drawers, or walls with lots of pictures and busy wallpaper prints, and seek out nice clean backgrounds instead. If you can’t find one, simply hang up a white or black bed sheet and have your subject stand (or sit) a metre or two in front of it to pose for their headshots. You’ll be amazed by how effective this simple little trick can be!
8. Make the Most of Natural Light
The sun is the best and most flattering light source there is! Get everyone together near a large window so that they are naturally lit, or head out into the garden to enjoy an alfresco photoshoot. If it’s too bright, move into the shade so your family members don’t have to squint, and if it’s a dull overcast day, use a large white bedsheet as a reflector and bounce sunlight onto your subjects’ faces.
9. Photograph Places and Passions as Well as People
Photographing your family members is all about capturing their independent spirit, so it’s always a great idea to photograph them in the places they love most, doing the things they love to do. If your parents are passionationate about playing ping-pong, why not accompany them to their next tournament and photograph them in action! Do your kids love computer games? See if they’ll let you photograph them while they’re tapping their way to the top of the scoreboard – or surprise them with a new outfit so they can dress up as their favourite video game character. Does your partner love wine tasting, baking or cooking? Grab your phone or camera and join them for an evening in the kitchen. Not only will you find they are more comfortable in their element, but you’ll also get more dynamic and animated shots to share!
10. Photography Your Furry Family Members Too
Let’s face it, sometimes our furry family members are the most important family members of all. Photograph portraits of your feline friend taking a nap on your uncle’s lap, or take the whole family to the beach for a doggy day out. Frisbee and photos, anyone? It’s a great idea to carry a camera with you at all times – whether it be your phone or a DSLR – so that you’re ready to pounce and capture the action. Let the fun and games commence and take snaps of your family pet you’ll be proud to hang on the walls next to your wedding shots.
Discover more advice and tips to inspire your photography on the bonusprint blog.