Family portrait photography is a huge responsibility for any shooter and may lead to several stressful conditions. If you know some secrets, any family photoshoot will become funny and easy because family portraits convey sincere emotions. Follow these 50 family photos tips to take photos successfully anytime.
You need to know several important aspects as the right light, frame composition, posing, etc. so that any portrait looks professional. Let’s analyze all nuances in detail.
This is a family and you need to show that the members are related, so try to locate them as close to each other as possible. But they shouldn't stand against each other's shoulders. First, try to locate them at a slight angle so that the shoulders overlap each other. If there are elderly people, then it is better to ask them to sit on the chair during the family photo session.
Always try to describe a family member how to pose as precisely as possible. This will help avoid misunderstandings and bad family portrait photos. Use your body to show how to stand and where to be. It’s important not just say "to the right" / "to the left", but refer to objects around: "turn to the tree", "look at the sea", etc.
It’s perfect if you can place everyone into one focal plane. But if you need to make two rows, I advise you to remind people, who are behind, that it is necessary not to be separated from the front ones. Otherwise, it will be difficult to focus on everyone.
When working with large families, try to put people together in such a way that they form groups. Tall and young people are in the background, the elderly – in the center, children – in front. Remember, the highest people should be on the edges of photos as if closing the whole group composition.
In case there are 2 rows of people, you should focus on the person standing in the front and center. In the photo below, the photographer focused exactly on the bridesmaid in front, and the bride in the second row is also completely in focus.
Beside posing, the location plays a key role in taking fantastic outdoor family portraits. For example, you are at the seaside and tell the models to stand far from the camera. You need to make sure nobody will get wet feet or face the obstacle.
If the family has little kids, then you’d better shoot at the level of their eyes. This will allow taking more attractive shots and making an accent on small models. In case the frame doesn’t look very successfully at this level, then ask parents to raise children to take amazing family portrait photos.
It is better if all models are dressed in a similar style or color spectrum. They can also bring some interesting accessories and objects reflecting common or personal hobbies.
If you are going to realize family portrait ideas outside, then the evening will be a perfect time. An hour and a half before the sunset, (Golden and Blue hour) you will be able to take impressive shots with soft light. By the way, there is special Golden Hour App for Android and IOS to determine an ideal time. If you have no opportunity to shoot in the evening, then do not leave a family in direct sunlight, but locate models in the shade of trees or large buildings.
When it’s dull outdoors, the light is not so even and sharp as at the sunny day. It is quite soft, but there is a big problem with the details. Mind that without additional lighting you may get dark areas under the eyes. In order not to be mistaken with the weather, use a special Weather App for Android and iOS while preparing for your family photo session.
You will be able to work with models and don’t worry about losing a general view. Besides, the tripod will not allow a camera shake to blur the frame.
A remote release is necessary to decrease a camera shake. Thus, while you are taking a series of shots, you will maintain a constant angle. Your hands will remain free so that you can direct the participants of the photoshoot and move the props.
SLR or mirrorless camera is up to you to decide. When choosing equipment, I advise you to consider the possibility of changing lenses, high-resolution matrix and moderate speed. These parameters are necessary because you will need to shoot children, take dynamic pictures with all family members, as well as work in different locations.
I recommend purchasing a full-frame lens. It will be a perfect choice for family portraits photographs taken inside and outside. Personally, I use two standard 50mm or 85mm lenses.
Here is another small trick for family photography. It’s better to take any group portrait using a burst shooting mode. Take several pictures at once, so it will be easier to choose a photo where no one blinks. The larger the group of people, the higher the chance that someone will close eyes at the wrong moment.
Most family portrait photography tips recommend shooting with a closed aperture. That is, its value should be more than f/4. When shooting with an open aperture (f/1.4-2.8), often someone misses the zone of sharpness. This can spoil not only the photo but also the mood of the "blurred" person. But at the same time, I advise you not to use a value more than f/11.
Do you know that a higher ISO is more light-sensitive while a lower ISO is less so? Note that a high ISO value increases the appearance of the grain. It’s better to use as low ISO as possible to avoid grain, otherwise, you'll have to devote lots of time to family photo editing.. As for me, I like ISO 100 or 200. Of course, you can raise the value in poor lighting conditions.
For shooting indoor and outdoor family portraits, it is important to have almost no blur, especially if you have small children in the frame. I consider it ideal for shooting to set shutter speed within 1/125 sec.
Use f/1.4 - f/2.8 aperture for a blurred background. If you want the background to be more in focus, and you need the portrait itself to be sharper, use an aperture which is 2–3 steps relative to its maximum opening (lens speed). But I advise you to set the ISO value in AUTO-ISO mode: 1600. This means that the camera itself will set the ISO value (light sensitivity) in the range from 100 to 1600. These are the best camera settings for indoor portraits.
As for shooting mode, I advise you to set the aperture priority. It will allow you to adjust only this parameter, and the camera will set the shutter speed itself. ISO settings should be set to AUTO-ISO mode: 800 or even less because when shooting with flash, you do not need large ISO values.
You will need this tool for shooting, both in open areas and indoors. Reflectors are good at eliminating too harsh shadows and help receive an evener skin tone.
Add some artificial lighting if there is not enough natural light. But I do not recommend using a built-in flash each time, because in this case, your objects may simply be flat. An external flash is ideal for receiving additional lighting. Install it 35-40 degrees away from the camera to implement desired family photography ideas.
As a rule, I use a softbox during such shootings. I place it above the heads of my models. Additionally, I set a flash in front of them at an angle of 45 degrees, and a reflector from the opposite side, which softens hard shadows. Also, I illuminate the background itself with another source while taking family photos.
In this situation, I often install two large softboxes on the edges in front of the models to achieve uniform illumination of the face. Additionally, you can use reflectors in the case of harsh shadows, as well as another source of light to illuminate the background or create a backlight for family portraits photographs.
You should use a little trick from Annie Leibovitz to shoot a lot of people in the studio and get high-quality illumination of each family member. She creates her photographs by shooting people in small groups using flash lighting and an umbrella located above the models. Then she merges all the participants in Photoshop. If you have an interesting background and do not want to lose it, then I advise you to take a few shots of it, illuminating only the background.
The essence of this pose is to place all family members in the frame creating the same visual weight and building something similar to the letter V. A shooter should show the connection of family members with touch points. Create more of such points to make the family portrait poses more intimate.
This pose is suitable for family portrait ideas with baby. Place the baby in the center of the shot and other relatives around the edges, while sticking to one line of the frame composition. In this case, the finished picture will be natural and there will not be too much empty space between people.
If you want to know how to take family portraits which will attract the viewer's attention, then mind this tip. Guide models on posing. Choose classical poses along with extraordinary ones. Ask people to run, jump or wave hands. Capture all possible emotions before they are tired.
Pets are practically members of the family and therefore it is necessary to put them in a frame. Besides, their presence will help all participants of the photoshoot to relax.
I don’t mean parents should kiss. They can just hug for family portrait photography and the children will be nearby.
If the family, which you photograph, has children, you can ask the rest of the family members to repeat the most frequent action of the baby. If all of them are adults, they can come up with their own moves and implement fun family photo ideas.
It may be leaving for a walk, cooking together or decorating a Christmas tree. The main thing is that all participants take an active part in the process.
This may be games with favorite toys or playing a console all together. Just try to capture the fun and dynamic movements.
If family members have common hobbies, you can use them for family portrait photography. Sports hobbies, drawing or handicrafts will be a fantastic option for taking impressive pictures.
I think this is the best moment for realizing family portrait ideas outside. At the same time, all family members can either pose for the camera, or walk towards the sunset leaving their mysterious shadows in the photographs.
The profession can also be included in family portrait photography. Especially if one of the parents has a specific job, for example, a fireman or a police officer. In this case, you will have many different accessories to emphasize it and take a unique shot.
Ask the family to bring the favorite toys of the kids. Don’t forbid small model to have fun with them. Your main task is to take dynamic frames and capture interesting moments with babies.
Consider photoshoot clothing ideas. These can be identical shirts or dresses, as well as similar accessories that will make a family photo even more unique, and the outfits will be very interesting.
Take a picture of people from a very high point, or vice versa, go down by locating all family members above the lens. A different shooting angle will make even the most ordinary photo original.
The more people of different ages take part in the photoshoot, the more interesting this frame will be. In this case, you can locate the family on the steps or the bench, as well as ask them to stand in front of a beautiful background for photography family photos.
Do you want to know how to take family photos which will stand out of the crowd? It is not always necessary to select hundreds of different images and stock up with a large number of costumes. If you have the opportunity to present family members with a maximum frankness well, then use it.
For implementing this idea, you can use photos of relatives or any other interesting portraits of people you can find.
This can be only children or adults, and you can combine all models in one frame and ask them to tell each other an interesting story from their lives or even a secret.
To realize this idea, I usually place only the baby fully into the frame. His parents and close relatives are only partially in the photo. This creates a very interesting picture.
Shooting in nature makes it possible to get not only natural lighting but also frames on the background of a beautiful view. At the same time, you can capture the family having fun, tasting the food that you brought with you or just laying under the sun.
If the children are still small enough and can take such a pose without problems for the parents, then use this moment for family portrait photography. The picture will be quite dynamic and with the most vivid emotions.
If parents like playing such a game with children, then it will be an excellent idea for a unique photo. However, it's better to do this in case the parents feel confident about such a frame. It is the most important rule of all family photo shoot tips.
You can implement this idea at any time of the day and ask parents to choose the most favorite book for reading.
The age of children doesn’t matter. They may be even adults. The idea suits both family photography studio and outdoors.
I recommend using these free tools for indoor and outdoor family portraits editing to make photos brighter and deeper.
This free action will allow you to improve the color saturation of portrait photos and achieve a soft, natural look of each person.
Sometimes a good shot can be ruined by a not very white smile. This problem can be solved quite easily using this free tool.
With the help of this preset, you can add a slight matte effect to your ready-made shots and achieve greater originality. I suggest using a preset for outside photographs.
This preset can significantly improve the white balance and contrast in the finished photos to emphasize the color palette and the main objects in the frame.
You need this preset in case you want to smooth skin a little bit, remove harsh shadows and increase the natural saturation of the color palette.