It’s the Holiday Season... You know what that means. It’s Family Portrait Time!
Here are some tips for taking family portraits:
1) Don’t leave any one out of the photo...get everyone to sit tightly and fit into the frame
You might not believe it, but one of the toughest obstacles I face, is getting most families to sit close enough to each other to fit in the photo. When taking family portraits, we need to show, just that, a close-knit family, and it is our task as photographers is to show this. So, be sure that the entire family is as close to each other as possible. But, we don’t want to make them look uncomfortable or like a bunch of sardines.
When starting the photo shoot, I recommend placing them at a slight angle with each other, so that their shoulders overlap a little bit. I also pay attention to the age of the family members placing the oldest in the center of the photo.
2) If you have the chance, try to coordinate the family’s clothes/outfits
Before you meet to shoot the family portrait, I recommend you help them coordinate their clothing for the portrait or have them coordinate their own outfits. Also, let them know that you can shoot the portraits in two ways - in full color and/or black & white.
3) Set the tone, have fun, get everyone to relax and to goal is to get genuine smiles
Tell a few good jokes or do whatever to lighten and add levity to the situation. Another way to get everyone to smile is to ask them to do something that they normally would not do.
4) Do not forget to check all the basic camera settings before you start working.
ISO (values as minimum as possible), image type (RAW!)
One thing that you should never do when taking family portraits is to seem uncertain...
Never say words like "This is not going to work." Instead say something more positive like "Great, let's try a few more options." The more you tell them how good they are doing, the better the pictures will come out. You can use the usual popular clichés that top model photographers use such as: "Awesome," "Beautiful," "Great shot!" The more positive you are with your subjects, the better results you will get.
Happy holidays and make sure to capture all of those moments with your family!