7 tips to take your best family photo ever!

Creating a gorgeous gift for Nanna or personalising your Christmas cards and gift tags with a family photo? Is this the only time of year everyone is together to capture a family photo?

Set yourself up for your best family portrait yet with these simple tips – and most of them come down to where to take the photo.

Bright sun

It’s tempting to get everyone outside in full sun to take the picture, it’s bright and there’s plenty of space. However, if you have everyone facing the sun, they will all be squinting and not looking their best. You might not even be able see their eyes at all, and the eyes key for a great portrait.

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Patchy light

So now you move under a tree for a little shade, or perhaps under the front veranda. This might be perfect, but take a close look first. You want to make sure everyone is in the same light and no one has a bright patch of sun on their face.

Too dark.

So what about inside? This can work for small groups if you can find a place in a big bright room with a big window. But most of the time, it will be too dark, you’ll struggle to get everyone in focus or the image might end up dark and noisy (that’s that speckled grainy look). Your shutter speed will be slow so if your kids move fast they’ll end up with blurry arms legs and maybe even faces.

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Open shade for the win!

The best location will be a place with nice even shade that’s not too far from the sun, what we call “open shade”. Think a wall or garage door on the shady side of the house, under the front patio or even open the front door and stand the kids on the door frame.  Take a look at the pull back from this shot below to get an idea of where to find this lovely light!

Messy and cluttered backgrounds

Once you’ve chosen the perfect spot, take a quick look around, is there anything in the background that could be removed or cropped out? Common things are the garden hose, kids or pets toys, old ratty (or even nice) garden furniture. Taking a minute to slide these out of the way will make your family stand out.  In this image I’ve simply cropped in to eliminate the clutter 🙂

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Don’t take just one

Perhaps we are stating the obvious here, but taking the family portrait is a good time for what professionals call “spray and pray” Put the camera in burst mode or rapid fire and hold down the shutter button and take a bunch of shots. Then pause, do something silly and do it again. You’ve got a better chance of one shot with no blinks or funny faces.

Sunglasses, hats & phones in pockets

Ok so this is more for the adults in the shot, my little rascals look kinda cute (styling was 100% them)  A quick check to make sure sunglasses are off and those giant phones aren’t in pockets is a must. If you’re taking the shot outside and someone has transition lenses – have them keep them in the dark and put them on at the very last minute so they don’t go dark. To my mind, your eyes are  almost always THE most important part of the portrait.

Happy shooting!

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