The Dos and Don’ts of Shooting Family Portraits

The do's and don'ts of shooting family portraits Naturally, getting the absolute best images for the families I photograph doesn’t present the exact same challenges each and every time. However, there are certainly some tried and true techniques for improving the enjoyment for everyone whilst shooting family portraits.

After all, great photographs are all about creating pleasing visuals and accurately capturing memories or emotions. That can be just as much about actual technique as it is anything else. Let’s take a closer look at some of the tricks of the trade photographers rely on to make sure their family portraits always come out wonderfully.

DO Prioritize Clothing Coordination

Ultimately, it’s going to be up to the families to choose what they’d most like to wear when posing for their portraits. However, it’s always a good idea to encourage families coordinate with one another. Portraits look their best when the people involved wear colors and styles that really mesh well together visually, so a little forethought in this area can go a long way. Simple shades, neutral tones, and flowing lines work best, while very loud colors, patterns, or logos are the hardest to work with.

Avoid Negative words whilst shooting family portraits

The photographer is responsible for helping to maintain the overall mood of a family photo shoot, so negative language should always be avoided. Avoid saying things like: “Smile properly!” Instead, simply say: “That’s wonderful. Now let’s try a different spot.” It’s also important to encourage your subjects throughout the entire session. People always react with enthusiasm to the sincere expression of phrases like “love it” and “you’re gorgeous”. After all, who doesn’t want to be told when they look great on film? I honestly find that the more enthusiastic I am about a given shoot, the more enthusiastic the subjects also become and that’s something that shows up wonderfully in the finished product.

DO Create Genuine Smiles

We all know too well how a fake smile comes across on film. That’s exactly why I always make it a point to shoot families in environments and situations that naturally bring out the best in them. If there’s a specific location that is special to the family or an activity that can’t help but put everyone involved into the right mood, a good photographer will jump at the chance to include it as part of a family portrait. A genuine smile is the most beautiful smile!

DON’T Be Afraid to Consider Input from the Subjects

While a great photographer is naturally going to be really good at connecting with the subjects of the portraits, it’s important not to undervalue suggestions from the families themselves. Some of the best suggestions come directly from the children as far as how to pose or what sounds fun for bringing out the best in everyone. Getting the family involved in their own photo session is also a terrific way to put everyone at ease to boot. That said, every photographer should develop a good listening ear. You never know when your next great suggestion could come right from the horse’s mouth.

Catch up with you soon :)


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