Posts Tagged: 6

6 Family Portrait Tips

These family portrait tips should be very helpful to use and will aid you in avoiding making what I call Common Photo Mistakes.

  1. Who? Find out who is going to be in the family portrait first. This is sometimes already known, but it is extremely important to know who is getting photographed before your portrait session. Knowing the number of people as well as their ages will determine posing, the location and the time of day for your shoot. Photographing babies or young children may have to be done before or after nap time. Photographing late night owls or party goers may not be wise early in the morning.
  2. How? How are you going to pose them? I find it very valuable to make a few rough drawings of possible poses I might use, based in the number and size of my subjects. This is something I learned to do when I was in photography school doing still lifes. Will you have people sitting on chairs or stools? With the subject that you have, it might make sense to have some folks sitting or kneeling on the ground. Search a few photographers’ sites and look for portraits of groups with the same size and numbers. Review some of the rules of composition for group portraits.
  3. Where? Where are the portraits going to be taken? That will determine the kind of lighting to use. Determine if the existing lighting is good or will you have to use fill flash or reflectors. If it is an inside portrait, you may have to use studio strobe lighting. The size of the interior room may effect how you pose your family portrait. If it’s an outdoor portrait, you need to have plan B in place ahead of time in the case of bad weather.
  4. When? The time of day is important for several reason. The available time, the sleeping or eating schedule of your subject and the outdoor lighting are all effected by what time of day you shoot.
  5. What? What will everybody be wearing? See one of my other articles on choosing portrait clothing. The clothing for portraits makes a huge impact on how we look in our portraits. The clothing should work well with the background and with the posing. Formal clothing should not be used for casual posing.
  6. Why? Last, but not least, is to consider the reason the portrait is being taken in the first place. Is it commemorating a special occasion? Find out what’s most important to your client. What do they want the portrait to portray?

There is one more tip I’d like to leave with you, so perhaps this article should be entitled 7 family portrait tips. It is a suggestion to apply to all kinds of photography, not just portraiture. Have fun with your photography. Not only will you tend to get better results: but also, If you are photographing people, they will have fun too. And that is the best way to get natural, pleasant expressions.

Best Wishes,

For some specific tips on family portrait poses, you may be interested in reading this:

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