As photographers, we all know now is the busiest time for family portraits. As much as we love to photograph happy families, we also sweat bullets wondering how we can get a great picture and keep everyone happy. There are a few tips you may want to keep in mind when tackling the family unit.
1. Get it Off the Bat
I find that with new clients and old clients one thing always seems to work. Get the formal shot right off the bat when everyone is listening and ready. You can get the casual shots later when they all relax and they start to lose interest. I typically will take dad and have him sit in his position so I can get a good meter reading. This way I’m not wasting valuable time by trying to have children sit still while I figure out my exposure. Next, I’ll place mom and lastly the kids. I photograph full length and 3/4 right off the top. This way the first 10-15 minutes I spend getting the posed shot and knowing everything else is extra. The following image was the 8th photo I took of the family.
2. Keep it Short
With younger families especially, time is crucial. Ever notice you start to lose the little one’s attention about 10 minutes in? It’s not you… it’s them. They need to be constantly moving and active. Anything more than 10-15 minutes and you’ve already lost your window. Break after a few minutes, let them run around and relax. Plan your next pose and start all over again. The next image, I made everyone stand up just moments after everyone was sitting.
3. Don’t Cut me Off
You have a lot of people in the portrait. That means you have a lot of feet and hands as well. Keep in mind to not cut off the feet or hands or fingers on full length portraits. This is not to say you can’t get artistic and try different things. Just make sure on the family formal portrait you get everything included in the first round, then you can experiment. Here you’ll see ll fingers and toes are accounted for in this image.
4. Hold On
Little ones are active. It’s hard for them to sit still. Telling a child to put their hands down constantly while everyone else is ready is stressful to the family. Keep it simple and give the little one something to hold in their hands. Give them something seasonal, like say for instance a leaf or a pine cone to play with, this will keep their hands busy. If you look closely at this image, you’ll see the youngest has a small leaf in her hand.
5. Loosen Up
Every family is quirky. It’s important to capture this as well. You know you got the formal pictures right off the top of the session, so now it’s time to have some fun. Loosen up and let them to hug or kiss. I typically say, tickle the funniest person in your family. The images are fun and relaxed and unexpected. It’s ok if not everyone is looking into the camera, the smile on their faces is worth a million bucks.
written by Michelle Libby for Adoramapix