Family Portrait Photography

Family Portrait Photography

In Portrait Photography by Stefano CaioniLeave a Comment

Are you looking to specialize in family portrait photography?

Family photoshoots can be surprisingly challenging for a lot of photographers. Implementing a few tips and tricks, however, can make a family photoshoot an enjoyable and fun affair. Here are a few tips that promise to take your family portrait photography skills to the next level!

Related: Tips for Outdoor Portrait Photography

Best Tips for Family Portrait Photography

First, let’s take a look at some easy tips to immediately improve your family portrait photography and get consistent results at every single photoshoot.

1. Make Sure Everyone Smiles

Getting the right expressions on the faces of your subjects is the most important aspect. Even if the lighting and pose aren’t absolutely perfect, capturing a genuine laugh or smile will result in a stunning photograph!

Family Portrait Photography

This boils down to experience and knowing how to act and what to say to get everyone laughing or smiling. Make a funny remark or joke just before your shot, and you’re bound to capture a genuine smile.

2. Tell the Family How to Pose

Most families rarely pose for professional photographs. As a result, they are often awkward since they aren’t used to it. If there are four members in a family, then there is the chance that all of them will understand your posing instructions in a different way.

The best to avoid such a mess is to simplify your instructions. Demonstrate with your body how you would like them to pose and where to stand. Use reference objects and short sentences for your instructions.

Family Portrait Photography

Avoid using phrases such as ‘to your left’ or ‘to your right’, since it will confuse them about whose left or right you’re talking about. Instead, say ‘turn towards that desk’, or ‘face each other’.

3. Help the Family Assume the Proper Expression

Helping your subjects take on the right expression is crucial to capturing a great family portrait. Sometimes, in addition to being a photographer, you may also have to turn into a clown or comedian. Try to make your subjects comfortable with you.

facial expression in portraits

Make conversation about topics they are interested in. If there are young kids in the family, play with them, make funny noises, and let kids be kids! Usually making the younger subjects laugh will get everyone in the family smiling as well. Capitalize on these moments and take the perfect photograph!

4. Lighting is Key in Family Portrait Photography

Just like with other types of photographs, lighting can break or break a shot. The most important to keep in mind with portraits is that you must get light into the eyes of your subject

The Golden Hour is the time right before sunset and right after sunrise makes for the perfect lighting for portraits. The harsh overhead or direct sunlight is avoided which allows for great looking photographs

Family Portrait Photography

If shooting early in the morning or in the evening isn’t possible, find shade. A bright background take the attention away from your subjects, and is something you should avoid.

Overcast days might seem like a good option because the light is softer. However, the direction isn’t great and gives subjects dark eyes.

And as always remember, in photography, rules can be broken! Experiment and try new ways of playing with the sunlight.

5. Choose the Proper Location and Take Different Shots

Never put all your eggs in a single basket. Take multiple shots of your subject so that it is guaranteed that everyone is coordinated at least in one of them.

family walking during a photo shoot

The choice of location can also play a huge role in resulting in a great photo. Shooting outdoors, such as a beach or park is a great option. It feels more natural than just shooting in a room or a studio.

Family Portrait Photography Camera Settings

The most important setting that you must keep your eye on is the exposure. Manually adjust the exposure depending on the time of the day as well as the location of the shoot. You must account for the amount of backlight that is present in your photo.

Related: The Best Lens For Portraits

Family Portrait Photography

Accordingly, adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You can choose Aperture Priority mode, and start from an f-stop value of f/5.6, then lower the aperture and try different shots to see how much depth of field you need. Your exposure will change a little bit from one shot to the next, make sure you compensate it as needed to have a properly exposed scene. If you shoot outdoor, you can get inconsistent noise, color shifts, and other undesirable effects as you try different settings. Finally, you will have to correct all of these during post-processing.

Pro tip: try as much as possible to maintain the same exposure across your photos, you will obtain better photographs and have to put in a lot less effort and time when editing in Lightroom.

Before You Go

With these tips and tricks, the quality of your family portraits are guaranteed to improve to a great extent!

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