Family photography is something that most photographers will tackle at some point in their photography career. They are very popular, so it can be a great way to fill your schedule and get some new clients. Essentially, family photos are just group portraits, but they also come with their own challenges. When taking family photos, no only do you have to have the technical side mastered and make sure you are using the right camera settings, but you also need to make sure the family is comfortable and that the shots turn out properly. Sometimes you are dealing with a group of just three or four people, but sometimes you will have a large extended family to coordinate, or even some family pets to work into the shot!
1. The Location Matters
Choosing a location for your session is the very first step. While some families still want the classic studio portraits, more and more families are opting for on-location sessions. If this is the case, then you have to make sure that you are choosing the right location for the family. Take into account who the family is, and remember that the setting should match the people. If the family you are photographing live on a farm out in the countryside, then a city or urban location is not going to be the right fit. Choose a location you know your clients will be comfortable in to make sure you get the best results possible.
In addition to making sure your location is suitable for your clients, also make sure that you are familiar with. You should know how the light falls at different times of the day, where the best backgrounds are, when it is least crowded, and so on. If you want to try a new location, or your clients have requested somewhere specific, make sure you take the time to scout it out in advance.
2. Tell Them How to Pose
For many people, being in front of a camera is not a natural thing, and they may feel nervous. Help your clients by directing them in how to pose and help them feel more relaxed in front of the camera. With family sessions, it can be good to get a mix of posed and candid shots. Organize your session by having your clients do more active things like walk, run, play, or hug each other in the photos. With things like these, your clients will feel more at ease, will be themselves, and you will capture some great moments between family members.
3. Communicate with Your Clients
Another part of making sure your clients are comfortable in front of the camera is maintaining open communication with them. Part of this is simply chatting with them during the session and making small talk, or talking and playing with the kids. The other part is making sure that they know if they do not like a particular pose, they just have to say so and you can do something else. Knowing they are in control will help them feel much more comfortable throughout the session.
4. Let Kids be Kids!
Most kids do not enjoy sitting still, especially for “boring” things like family photos. To keep kids happy and make sure you still get some great shots, bring props – like hand puppets, bubbles, books, and other toys – and if kids don’t want to just sit and smile, don’t force them. Let them run around for a while and shoot that. You will get some great candid moments for a the family by doing this! Also, once the kids have had a chance to run around a bit, you may get them to sit still for a few more posed shots afterwards.
5. Take More Than One Photo
When you are trying to coordinate multiple people in once shot, there is bound to be at least one person that was not coordinated with the rest. They may have been blinking, not looking at the camera, or just not smiling at the right time. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and only take one photo of each pose. Taking multiple photos gives you a much better chance of actually capturing a shot where everyone is coordinated properly.
Taking more than one photo is also a great idea of you are taking candid shots. As people are moving, laughing, or playing, the first shot you take may not be the perfect one, and photos taken just seconds apart could look totally different. Taking multiple photos means you are more likely to capture that perfect candid moment you were hoping for!
Family photoshoots can take a lot of coordination, but the results are completely worth it! With these tips in mind, you can be sure that you are capturing photos and moments that the family will treasure for years to come.