Now that almost everyone has a high-quality camera sitting in their pocket, you’d think the family photograph was easier than ever to take. Unfortunately, far too many family pics simply aren’t quite good enough to frame and display. That’s because not even the best camera in the world can make up for a lack of technical composition knowledge and an awareness of some photography essentials. If you have a family event getting closer and you’d like some lasting mementos that you can be proud of, or you want to give family or friends a unique gift, here are some vital tips for taking the perfect family photo.
Every photographer worth their salt will have a tripod. It might seem like investing in a tripod is only for professional photographers, but there is an amazing variety of smartphone tripods available that are very cool and not very expensive. Tripods give you more than stability: they mean that you’re not tied to the camera and can take more control over organizing and posing your family members.
Whether you’re using a smartphone or a professional camera, the more that you know how it works, the more that you’ll be able to get out of it. Go through your settings and have a play with different exposures. Learn how the focus works and go through your samples afterwards to get more of a feel for which settings resulted in the best pics.
Try to avoid straight lines in your family photos. These lead to stale and very static images. Stagger the heads so that you get a more dynamic image. If everyone in your family is of a similar height, get some of them sitting down. Aim for more diagonal lines (avoid the totem pole look). Look at the environment and use natural platforms to elevate shorter family members. It’s a good idea to learn a few of the basic rules of composition too, as these can inspire your final images
If you know that your goal is to take a brilliant photo that you can cherish forever, make sure that people know that. You don’t have to get everyone in dresses and suits, but a dress code is always a smart move. Don’t forget the family pets either. If you want your furry family members in the photo, get them looking their best with a trip to a pet grooming salon like Heart + Paw, so that they too look fantastic and can get involved in the fun.
Children can be very hard to photograph. They get stressed and bored and often overreact by acting out. Make the photograph-taking more fun by letting them be themselves. Let them know that it’s going to be fun beforehand and get them excited about it. For younger children, use hand puppets to distract them as you take the shots, and don’t be afraid to make yourself look foolish. The occasional funny moment from a grown-up can be all it takes to get a child laughing hysterically, and that can lead to some amazing photos.
The right photo can make for a fantastic gift or can look brilliant on the walls of your home. If you want a keepsake that you will never tire of, take some time to get prepared for those family gatherings. Let people know what you plan to do, and you could end up with a final image that you can’t believe you took. You don’t need years of training to take a good photo, just a little patience and some preparation. Get that done and your photos will be much more memorable.