Taking your own family photos will save time and money. The results can be studio quality with a little planning and practice. Here are some tips to take your own amazing family photos.
Photography is better outside. Find a place in the yard that is neat and clean. You don’t need a ton of flowers. Too much color can actually be distracting. If you have a nice porch, front doors are great back drops. Large trees work well, also. They give off a nice dappled light. Be careful not to choose a location with excessive objects. Busy backdrops take away from the people in the photo.
Use a tripod. Borrow one from a friend, or spend a little money and buy one. No photographer is needed. Just set the auto timer.
Use a good camera. Mid range digital cameras work very well these days. They are more than capable of taking a good family photo. Read the manual first. Make sure you know how to use the camera.
Practice in advance. Set up the tripod, in the location you want the photos taken. Practice using the auto timer. The more you practice the better your pictures will be. Unless, you are a true amateur photographer, I recommend you use the auto focus. Getting a focused picture can be a tricky business.
Don’t shoot during the middle of the day. The sun is too strong, and will cause a glare. The best times of day are early afternoon and mid morning. Don’t wait too late in the day or the pictures will be too dark. If the sun is overcast, that is perfect. The cloud cover also reduces glare.
The direction of the sun is important, as well. It is best to have the sun behind the photographer. Be careful, you don’t want to have the sun in the eyes of your subject. If you can, have the sun coming in from the side, slightly.
Adjust your settings. Make sure the red-eye reducer is working. Check your manual if you don’t know how to use it. Also, don’t use the visual photo time stamp. This feature puts the date on the photo. Professional photos don’t place a date on the picture. If you are marking a special event, you may want to use it. Make sure the date is correct. I have had plenty of Christmas photos time stamped for July 4th.
Once you’ve gotten the technical aspect of photography down, turn to the artistic elements. Arranging a group takes trial and error. Arrange them by height, but not in straight rows. Have them circled around a central person. Make sure you don’t have large gaps between people, it’s distracting. Take pictures as you arrange and rearrange. Check for objects sticking out of people’s head. No one wants an antennae for the family photo.
Remember, keep the mood fun and light. You want people to look happy. Put your family at ease, tell a joke. The pros do. Set the timer, run to your spot, and smile. Afterwards, you can smile with pride when your friends say, ” No, you didn’t take that, it looks so professional.”.