When it comes to taking great family portraits, the key is preparation. You need to do your research and make sure you’ve thought about all the aspects of a shoot before you start. By doing this well in advance, you’ll save yourself time later on with frustration and disappointment.
Ensure you have the basics covered.
This is the most important part. Your family portraits will only be as good as the equipment you use. So make sure you have these basics covered:
- A wide-angle lens. You want to capture your family in their natural environment, right? With a wide-angle lens, you can do just that and show off all of your beautiful subjects without having to get too close to them or distort their features by zooming in on a single face. Not only will this make all of your subjects look better (no one wants an unattractive portrait), but it also makes for more interesting photographs that are unique and memorable for being so unique!*
- A tripod. This isn’t optional—it’s essential! Nothing ruins a photo more than camera shake caused by handholding at slow shutter speeds and long focal lengths (like those used when photographing people). The tripod should be sturdy enough not just for your camera but also any other gear like reflectors or flashlights.* A remote shutter release (RC2 type recommended). Use this with care; remember that if someone presses against the trigger while taking photos or moves around too much while posing they could ruin all of them.* Spare batteries and memory cards (and an extra battery charger). You don’t want anything going wrong with these during your shoot because then there would be no way to rescue any images before they’re overwritten by new ones.* Reflector(s) for adjusting light on faces/bodies/backgrounds depending on how much sunlight there is that day.* Flashlight(s) for lighting up dark areas when needed
Plan your shoot around the light.
The best time to shoot is when the sun is behind your subject and falling on their back. This can be challenging, but it’s a great way to get a sense of what kind of light you want in your photos. If they are standing too close to the window, they might have their face in shadow. So if that happens, tell them to step further away from the window and turn their body slightly towards you so that more of their face is illuminated by natural light coming through the window.
If you are outdoors and there are harsh shadows or direct sunlight hitting your subject’s face or body during a portrait session, move them into shade or wait until late afternoon or early evening when shadows begin to appear on faces and bodies (although sometimes this can create an unflattering look).
Try to photograph them in their own environment and surroundings.
When photographing your family, try to find a location that is familiar to them. If you are in an unfamiliar location, try to find a place that will be familiar to them later. For example, if it’s their first time at the beach and they don’t have any beach toys or sand castles, consider bringing some props along just in case!
If you cannot find an ideal location, consider using props such as items from home or even clothing from their wardrobe.
Give yourself time.
When you’re working with kids and family, there’s no such thing as perfection. Give yourself time to work through your photography process. Don’t rush it; if you do, you might miss out on some great moments that could end up in the final product. And don’t stress out about getting every shot right on the first try—you’ll just end up disappointed if it doesn’t turn out exactly how you hoped it would be.
Give yourself permission to take a few extra shots of each pose or expression for your child or family member—it will save time in editing later on!
Consider doing something fun before you start shooting, like going for ice cream!
Keep your kids happy and relaxed. If your children have had a long day of running around, you may want to consider giving them a break before starting the photo shoot. It’s best to feed them and make sure they’re hydrated, so that when you are ready for photos, they’ll be more than ready to cooperate for some fun shots with their family.
Forget sunscreen—bring a camera! Remember that in addition to bringing sunscreen and snacks along with you on your outdoor photoshoot trip (which we highly recommend), bring along some extra clothes as well. Consider packing one shirt per person just in case someone gets wet or dirty during playtime before the actual shoot begins; this way everyone can stay comfortable throughout their experience together!
You can make great family portraits by ensuring you have all your basics covered, planning your shoot around the light, photographing in their own environment and surroundings, giving yourself time and considering doing something fun before you start shooting.
If you want to make great family portraits, it’s important that you ensure all your basics are covered. Here’s a checklist:
- Make sure your camera is working. Check to make sure the battery is charged and that there are no memory card issues.
- Make sure you have enough memory cards (and extra batteries). You never know when someone might ask for a photo and need to swap out a battery or empty out some space on their memory card. This way, they can do so quickly without having to wait while someone runs back home or out into the street to grab something they forgot!
- Make sure that if there’s going to be any posing involved, everyone has something interesting or creative in mind before starting the shoot. Most of my favorite shots come from poses we thought up together rather than ones I came up with alone beforehand – much more fun for everyone involved!
There’s no right or wrong way to make family portraits, but there are some tried and tested techniques that will help you get the best results. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process!