We get older as time passes. The way we look today will never remain the same in the upcoming days. Everything we are doing is becoming memory instantaneously. We can recall those based on our memory. We all want to look back very often and think about our good past days. Our most good days are with our families. All of us miss our old days of family. To keep the special moments of our family a memorable one we make special arrangements. Family portrait photography is one of the essential mechanisms among those.
It’s not about only about making a memorable one; family portrait photography is also done to share the family bonding with others. Making some arrangement for family portrait photography also announces the importance of each of the member in the family. In this era of science and technology when it is straightforward to keep the memory of good times through photography, people never miss doing family portrait photography.
Tips for Family Portrait
In this article, I shall show some tips on this topic so that your family times remain a memorable one. At the same time if you want to be a good photographer and keep your clients smiling after you deliver your photography, then these tips will help you.
1. Know the Family
Before planning to shoot a family portrait of a family you need to know about them. It is better to get a clear idea about their habits, liking, movements, their favorite places in the house, etc. If you can get a good idea about the family, then you will be able to make a few frames inside your mind which will help you in the shooting. If you know when they remain jolly; when they act funny or anything else then you will be able to assess taking photos.
2. Roam Around their House Before you Start
Before taking photos for making family portrait you should roam around their house including their rooms taking their permission. It will allow you to fix the area where you can have pre-planned photos. While walking around check the walls, corners, windows from outside and inside, spaces in front of the house, etc.
After that, you may plan some spots with backgrounds; thus you can offer them to be there while photographing. You should ask them about the best places in their house as well because they know many hidden beauties in their home.
3. Select a Special Moment for Family Portrait
If you suddenly go to a family and start shooting their photos then it may not become a good one as the situation prevailing in that family may not suit the photography situation. If the family has a particular moment, then it is the best time for shooting photos. A time when there is a family program ahead, and the family is taking preparation for that then it is also good to do family portrait photography.
During the special moments of the family or any particular program, the members remain in a festive mood. The beauty, smiling face, motion and movement of everyone will be natural thus capturing them during that moment will be the perfect decision. In other times usually, they will try to make a face for a pose and often that will not become a natural one.
4. No Gap Between Family Members
The family is an institution where relations are pure, and cohesion is through the blood. So, their photos have to speak so. Looking at such is straightforward. Just ensure that while photographing a group of family members or even two members, they remain closer maintaining no gap in between any members. It is possible for family members. While they stay close, the picture of bondage flashes on their faces and expressions and this is what requires for family portrait photography.
5. Utilize the Unique Behavior of the Members
While knowing the family members; if you can closely notice the behaviors of each, then it will help you. For example, one of the kids uses to crush his nails with teeth always. If you have noticed and marked it, then you have done an excellent job. If there is someone who usually reads story books and you have scored that, then you have done an excellent job as well. While capturing photos, you have to achieve these individual behaviors.
The photo may not become a meaningful one to someone else outside the family, but a member of the family will definitely like that. Sometimes your mom shows you some photos of your childhood where you had been biting a pencil, and your mom says that you used to do that often. I am sure you smile then. That means, this photo has got meaning to you and your mom, but it may not have any purpose to others.
6. Don’t Miss the Kids for Family Portrait
Kids are the beauty of a family. Their movements, laughing, playing, etc. after all everything is subject to capture for making the family portrait. When they are playing then capture their photos. Even if they are fighting to get the playing stuff then catch that. You may find a kid having front teeth missing.
Capture his laughing. If you suddenly call a kid then naturally he will turn towards you with an exciting look. So keep your camera focused on a kid and suddenly call him. You should also know the name of that kid before you do it.
7. Combine Baby and Old
Old persons in the family come to the babies often. In any family program, older persons go closer to babies and kids. That is a moment to capture for making a family portrait. The combination of old and new is always great. While an older person sees a baby then his/her face tells that he/she is missing his/her early days. At the same time, there remains a sign of surprise in the face. In reply, the baby also gives a feedback look. It is time to capture.
8. Capture Moments, Not the Made Moments
Heading may make you confused. I am talking about capturing candid photos. Whenever someone is asked for a pose, the individual will make a pose which his instinct influences. But, his poses will be artificial. It is always better to capture candid not capturing any moment which is caused by own just for capturing.
9. Use the Best Light
If you are shooting indoor then use the best light available. During daytime obviously, there will be plenty of places which will allow entering the light, and there will be plenty of sites which will be enlightened with that light. You must utilize that light for taking photos. Use of natural lights will make your picture look lively. But, never use too intense light which will overexpose your photo.
10. Use Artificial Lights
Using natural light is always recommended. But, if there is no natural light or there is less light than the required amount then use artificial light. You may use a flash. Remember, artificial lights give a different unnatural kind of shadow. This shadow may make a distraction in your photo. Use lights rationally and with a better plan; thus your subjects get light correctly, and they do not make any shadow which makes any distraction in the image.
11. Use the Golden Hour
Golden hour is the best time for any photography. This category is not out of this. If you are planning to shoot outside, then the golden hour is the best. I should instead recommend it as the only time for shooting out. You may even utilize this light for shooting indoor.
I hope you all know about the golden hour. If not, then read the fifth paragraph of my article Top 25 Best Landscape Photography Tips That Will Make You A Pro Photographer for getting a good idea about the Golden Hour.
12. Take the Children Choice
For any place; children usually choose a location as per their liking. If you force to sit them in some other place, then they will not like it, and their facial expression will be changed. So, let the children take their place at their will.
Remember, your photo may not always look good and may not be a meaningful one to you, but it will become a beautiful and meaningful one to their family members as it is expressing the real behavior of their family members.
13. All Eyes on Lens
While capturing a family portrait of the whole family you have to ensure that all the members are looking towards the lens. It is not candid photography; instead, all are posing for the photo. Now, if someone of them is looking towards the lens and some looking somewhere else, then the picture will be a bad one.
What to do if there is a little kid? I have already mentioned that you should know the family at first. So, if you have learned about the family, then you have noticed how that kid gets attention. Use that just before clicking the photo. Keep something interesting over your camera to catch the attention of the kid.
14. Select Important Background for Group Photography
While capturing all the family members for making a complete family portrait, keep something meaningful as a background. It may be something that is important to all family members. It may be the whole house as the background. No doubt that the house is vital to all of them. There may be any wall or any artifact that symbolize anything about the family. You are suggested to use those as backgrounds for group family photography.
15. Capture Personal Moments
Consider a situation when you are capturing one of the kid’s photos in one place of the house, and suddenly you have marked that the youngest baby is on the lap of his father. They are passing some personal moments like talking to themselves. Always try to capture these moments. They are real and lively. You will find that these photos are better among the bests.
16. Tell them to Pose and Capture Before
It is a great way to capture the relation picture. The moment you instruct them all to pose for a photo on their own, they will arrange themselves. Seniors will ask the juniors to take place, and kids will be requesting to stay at their favorite places. Or the situation may differ. But the case, whatever it may be will be very lively and natural. Here you will get the picture of the bondage of the family. So, never forget to capture these moments.
17. Accept their Ideas and Learn as well
You never know that ideas in their minds can be much brighter than your one. Do not keep an idea in your mind that you know better them. You may understand better controlling your camera. They may have better ideas sometimes.
Respect their ideas always if they are not better even. These will increase their interest among them. Moreover, only they know the details of their house and behaviors. Maybe, they have done more family photography before, and that is very normal.
18. Achieve the Depth of Field
Usually; we prefer to have bokeh or photography with blur background for a family portrait with less extensive backgrounds. Less depth of field is less important for those photos where there is no vital background. But if you are taking a group family photography where you have kept an important background, then you need to achieve the depth of field. Again, if you are taking a group family photography then certainly you need to get more depth of field due to the extended subject.
Sometimes it may not be possible to get the depth of field, but you want to get it anyhow. LIke, you are planning to have their house as the background, but the house is becoming a blur one. Suggestion for this situation is that at first shoot the background is only keeping your camera static and then take the photo of the family members.
After that, you make a photo with an extended depth of field. If you do not know how to make an extended depth of field, then follow my article on 10 Easy Steps To Make Extended Depth Of Field Using Photoshop.
19. Select Wide Aperture
Portraits are usually taken with a wide aperture. People have a fascination with blur background. You have to think about the demand for your client as well. Photos with less important backgrounds can be taken with a wide aperture.
Again, if you want to emphasize a specific point on the subject, then you should select a wide angle for it. To know more about selecting perfect aperture size read my article on Everything You Need To Know About Aperture Size for Better Photography
20. Choose Appropriate Lens
Choose an appropriate lens for shooting. Usually, 85mm, 50mm, and 35mm are used for portrait photography. But never remain rigid with these only. Always select a lens according to the situation.
If you want to shoot a photo from a long distance like you want to shoot a personal moment as I mentioned earlier, then you need a lens with a long focal lens. So, use your judgment for selecting a lens. But don’t make it an issue. Use whatever you have if you don’t have these lenses. Use your imagination and artist mind to overcome this.
21. Hesitate not to Use Tripod
Never hesitate to use a tripod for capturing family portrait photography. Stability of the camera should be one if the prime concern. For any kind of photography, I always suggest using a tripod. If you want to get a very sharp photo, then there is no other option of using a tripod.
Because one slightest movement of your hand may spoil the whole photo. You may not understand seeing on the camera screen just after capturing. A photo with good composition but blur due to handshake gives mental pain to the photographer and the client as well.
22. Raise your Camera
Raise your camera from the ground. Look from a different angle. If you can reach the rooftop and have a group shot of them then be sure you will get a very nice family portrait photography. It’s not only from the rooftop. You may try some other means. Whatever is the means, go to the top and take their photo. These days drones are very common means of shooting photos. If you have one, then utilize that for taking their photo.
23. Place Camera on the Floor
The earlier tip was to raise the camera from the ground level. You should also try it from the bottom. You may place your camera on the ground and gather all the members around you. In this case, you can use a remote for shooting the picture. Again, you can tell all of them to gather on the opening of a bigger window, and then you can shoot them from the ground. Taking a picture from ground level is very usual. So, you must change your position and shoot them.
24. Shoot More
Whenever you have set your camera for shooting in one place, you must take multiple photos at a time. I suggest you use burst mode for taking photos. It will help you to choose the best one out of many. If you have only one photo then either you have to discard that or accept that. But if there is more than one photo, then you have the chance to select from them. Sometimes try to shoot photos just changing little position of the camera and after a little movement of your legs.
25. Show them and Take Feedback
After shooting a few photos show those to them. They may give you some suggestions. Seeing photos, they may like those or dislike those. It will help you to understand their demand. So after getting their feedback, you adjust yourself and your camera accordingly. Never get annoyed, disappointed or hopeless by seeing their expression after they see your photographs. Take that as correction and convert your weakness into a strength. Remember that everyone’s choice is not the same.
The family is the best organization. No doubt, the photographs of the family are also best for the family members. Only making a family portrait photography colorful one may not always make any sense to the member of the family whose photos have been captured.
You have to make the photographs in such a way so that it really speaks about the family. People will always expect very high family portrait photography of their family. So you must do your best for making family photograph. I hope these tips will help you to reach up to that satisfaction level both by your clients and yourself.