In the busy-ness of modern life, the holidays provide a benchmark of another year gone by. This is a time when families gather together, take stock of year that is coming to an end and the year that is yet to begin, and take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.
This is a wonderful time to take a photo of your entire family together, but it can be challenging to get everyone smiling for the camera, and looking their best.
Here are some tips and tricks from Clickin Moms on how to get a great family photo this holiday season:
1. Choose your location. Before everyone gets dressed, before the session begins, before the kids start to get goofy, know where, when and how you are going to take your family photos. This will require doing some work ahead of time, but it’s worth it when you are able to take your photos quickly and easily
Pick two locations - one that you really, really want to use, and one as a back up. As you are determining where you want to take your photos, consider the following:
Inside locations: One of the nice things about an indoor location is you won’t have to worry about the weather. A great spot for indoor photos is in an open doorway or he entrance to your garage (with the door open) as the light is typically even and you are protected from the weather.
Outdoor locations: Assuming the weather cooperates, it’s nice to get outside. Outdoor locations often offer more depth and colour, giving you more options on the day of the shoot. If there is a location that means a lot to your family, that is a great choice for your photos. Not only are you outside, but you are in a place filled with fond memories, which will add a lovely element to your images.
Look for a backdrop that won’t distract from your family. If you are outside, choose an area that has a single color palette (like fall leaves) rather than something filled with lots of bright colors, patterns or textures.
Keep some distance between your family and the background. This will give the photo some depth and dimension.
2. Be Aware of Your Light. Visit your location at the same time of day you plan to take the pictures. To keep things simple, try to work with even light. Avoid bright sun that creates shadows under the eyes or causes people to squint, if you are outside. If you are indoors, use the light from a window or open doorway.
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3. Choose your Outfits. Try to avoid really bright colours, conflicting patterns or anything that matches. This is a great time to get the kids involved - let them pick out their favourite outfits and have them help with what you wear. The more the kids are involved in the planning, the more interested they will be in the entire session.
4. Test Your Camera. Before getting the family together for the session, make sure your camera is working. Check the battery, the CF/SD cards, and take a few test shots to ensure nothing is wrong.
5. Use a Tripod. Obviously, everyone needs to be in the photo, so you need something to hold your camera straight and steady. Put the camera on the tripod, choose your settings, make a few test shots, and you’re all set. It helps when at least one of your family members is already in position so you have something to focus on while setting this up.
6. Use a Self Timer or a Remote Trigger. A lot of cameras have a self-timer feature if you want to use that. The only downside is that someone has to run back and forth between the camera and the family. Investing in a remote trigger might make your session a bit easier since it allows you to be with your family the entire time and, as a result, you won’t miss a thing.
7. “Pose” the family: Once the camera is set up, get your family in position. Don’t forget to leave room for the person who will be setting the self-timer (if that’s what you are using). It can be hard to catch everyone smiling at the same time, and even harder to keep the kids interested. Why not try some of these ideas to keeps the entire family engaged: hold each other tight, move from standing to sitting and back again and make “smiling at the camera” a game with prizes.
8. Take Advantage of the Moments In Between. If you are using the remote trigger, take photos of the times you aren’t “posing” for the camera. These are the times you will get genuine smiles and silly expressions and see the way your family naturally connects.
9. Let the Kids Direct the Shoot: One way to keep the kids engaged is to let them direct what is happening. If they need a little help taking charge, why not try one of these ideas: have a tickle fight, make silly faces at each other and have a staring contest
10. Have Fun and Enjoy the Moment. Remember, perfect moments trump a perfect smile. You might not all be smiling perfectly or looking at the camera at the same time, but that’s ok. When you look at these images later, it’s wonderful to remember how much you laughed, how happy the kids were, and how much fun you had together.
This post was from Jen Bebb is a photographer, writer, event producer and the Director of CMpro at Clickin Moms.
Momtrends was not paid for this post.