Top Tips from a Family Photographer
Location is everything when choosing where to photograph.
When arranging an outdoor family shoot with a client, I like to meet somewhere that means something to them. Usually their favourite park, or somewhere they love to go for family walks. Look for a picturesque outdoor location that suits your family’s style and interests. It could be a park, beach, garden, or even your backyard. Choosing a nice location means you are already half way there when it comes to great photographs. Here are my top tips.
The location you choose sets the tone and theme for your family photos. Whether it’s a serene park, a sandy beach, a picturesque garden, or an urban cityscape, the location adds context and visual interest to the images. Consider the atmosphere and ambiance you want to convey and select a location that aligns with your family’s personality and the desired mood of the photoshoot.
Choose somewhere where you will find visually pleasing elements such as colourful foliage, interesting architecture, natural landmarks, or unique textures that can add depth and visual appeal to your images. A well-chosen location can help frame your family as the focal point and create a visually engaging composition.
Somewhere with a personal meaning or significance to your family adds an extra layer of emotion and connection to the photographs. It could be a place where you’ve shared special moments, a favorite family spot, or a location that represents your family’s interests and hobbies. Choosing a meaningful location can evoke nostalgia and create a deeper emotional resonance in the photographs.
Variety is your friend.
Opt for somewhere with a variety of backgrounds and settings which can provide versatility in your family photos. This allows you to capture a range of shots and poses, resulting in a diverse and engaging collection of images. A location with different textures, landscapes, and architectural elements can help add visual interest and prevent the photos from feeling repetitive.
Consider the practical aspects of the location, such as accessibility, amenities, and comfort for your family. Ensure that the location is easily reachable, especially if you have young children or elderly family members. If you plan to spend a significant amount of time at the location, amenities like restrooms, seating areas, or shaded spots can enhance the overall comfort of the photoshoot.
What About The Weather?
You can take your family photos in any weather, you just need a few tips to deal with what the British weather might send your way on the day! If you have a very bright day with plenty of sunshine and little cloud, you will want to find some shade. If it’s raining you could incorporate umbrellas and capture your children splashing in puddles.
The best lighting for outdoor family photography is often during the “golden hour,” which is the hour after sunrise or before sunset. The soft, warm light during this time is very flattering and means you will avoid any harsh shadows when the sun is high in the sky. However, the idea of getting up super early, or keeping the little ones up late may not be your idea of fun. If this sounds like you, you will want to choose the right weather conditions instead.
Outdoor locations provide abundant natural light, which is often desirable for photography. Consider the direction and quality of light at the chosen location. For example, a location with open spaces and unobstructed views can provide ample soft light during the golden hour, while a location with tree cover can create interesting patterns of light and shade.
How To Capture Them At Their Best.
Candid moments often make the best family photos. When I am photographing families, I will often try to make them laugh and have fun instead of having everyone pose rigidly. Natural family interactions are the best. Capture genuine expressions and emotions by asking them to share jokes and stories, give piggy backs, race, do cartwheels. Anything that lightens the mood and captures them having fun!
Remember to include the little details that make your family unique. Capture close-up shots of hands holding, smiles, or small gestures. These intimate moments are often the most cherished.
Keep the mood light-hearted and fun to capture genuine smiles and laughter. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the process and create joyful memories.
What Should We Wear?
Coordinating your family’s outfits can create a cohesive look which can really elevate your photos. But, it’s really it’s fine just to wear something you are comfortable in and that you love. If you love the idea of styling your shoot for an Insta- worthy shot or two, here are my top tips.
Coordinating the outfits of family members helps create coherence in the photos. When everyone’s clothing complements each other, it enhances the visual appeal and creates a harmonious composition. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to match perfectly, but rather that there should be a sense of coordination and consistency in the colours, styles, or themes.
The primary focus of family photos should be the people in them—their expressions, interactions, and emotions. By choosing clothing that is not distracting or overwhelming, you ensure that the focus remains on the faces and the relationships within the family. Busy patterns, loud colours, or large logos can divert attention away from the subjects.
Family photos are often cherished for years, if not decades. When selecting clothing, it’s essential to consider timeless and classic styles rather than trendy or fashionable outfits that may quickly look outdated. Opting for neutral colours, simple patterns, or solid tones can help your photos stand the test of time and remain relevant for years to come.
Outdoor family photos often incorporate natural landscapes or architectural backdrops. When choosing clothing, take into account the colors and tones of the location to ensure that the outfits harmonize with the environment. For example, earthy tones can complement a rustic setting, while pastel shades can work well in a garden or beach setting.
Clothing can be a reflection of your family’s personality and style. While aiming for coherence, you can still incorporate individual touches and unique elements that showcase each family member’s personality. This allows for a balance between unity and individuality, resulting in photos that feel authentic and true to your family.
Using A Smartphone?
Most smartphone cameras allow you to manually adjust the exposure and focus by tapping on the screen. When shooting in bright sunlight, tap on your subjects’ faces to set the exposure and ensure they are properly exposed. If needed, adjust the exposure compensation slider to fine-tune the exposure levels.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode can help balance the exposure in high-contrast scenes. When enabled, your smartphone captures multiple images at different exposures and combines them to create a well-exposed photo. HDR mode can help retain details in both bright and shadow areas, reducing the risk of overexposure or underexposure.
Smartphones often have a front-facing or selfie camera with a smaller lens aperture, which can be beneficial in bright light. Consider using the selfie camera for family photos as it can handle high-contrast situations more effectively and reduce the risk of blown-out highlights.
Many smartphone camera apps allow you to lock the exposure and focus settings. Once you’ve set the desired exposure and focus on your subjects, tap and hold the screen to activate the lock feature. This ensures that the exposure and focus remain constant even if you move the camera or recompose the shot.
Love The Idea of Family Photos without the Hassle?
I never said it was going to be easy! Photographing families is not for the faint-hearted and that’s why people prefer to book a shoot with a professional family photographer.
As a professional family photographer, I have specialised knowledge and skills in capturing memorable and visually appealing images. I understand composition, lighting, posing, and other technical aspects of photography. My experience allows me to anticipate and overcome challenges, ensuring that your family photos turn out beautifully.
I bring a creative eye and artistic vision to your family photos. I can suggest unique poses, compositions, and locations that showcase your family’s personality and tell your story. My creativity adds an artistic touch, resulting in photographs that are not only technically well-executed but also visually captivating.