Tips for Better Family Photos

February 08

6 min. to read

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So how do you capture great family photos to look back on? It’s not as hard as you might think. With a bit of practice and some patience, you’ll be capturing amazing candid photos in no time! Here are 10 useful tips for better family photos.

Since the advent of the camera (and maybe even before), families have sought to preserve memories of cherished moments, first steps, vacations, holidays and more. But it can be a tall order to fill with so many people (unruly at times) and personalities, not to mention little kids who can’t stand still for even a second. So how do you capture great family photos to look back on? It’s not as hard as you might think. With a bit of practice and some patience, you’ll be capturing amazing candid photos in no time!

Let go

The first guideline I can give when it comes to capturing family portraits is to let go of trying to maintain any semblance of control on the situation. Instead of trying to direct and pose and corral people, sit back and watch. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t pose your family. Of course you should! 

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Anticipate the situation:

Things happen fast, especially when little children are involved. Keep an eye out for situations as they unfold. So long as the situation isn’t dangerous or life threatening let the scene unfold and wait for the right moment to strike. 

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Look for candid moments:

Often times some of the best images occur when subjects are least expecting it. 

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Set your camera and yourself up for success:

When shooting family photos it’s important you are set up beforehand so you don’t miss any action. Since events unfold quickly, you are going to want to make sure your camera is set to a relatively high shutter speed, in order to stop the action. Obviously, this depends on a lot of variables, namely the available light. For a more engaging look I’d suggest opening your aperture as wide as possible to get good separation from your subject and your background. The wider you go the more separation from the background and the more blur or “bokeh” you will get. 

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Go manual:

This allows you the freedom to choose the overall look of your images by changing your depth of field and ultimately how your final images will “feel”. 

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Pose your subjects (if you dare):

If you’re willing and able, try posing your family for more staged and creative shots. When shooting these types of shots be sure that your background is relatively uncluttered and doesn’t distract from your family. With these types of shots keeping your aperture at around 4 or 4.5 will keep the entire face; from nose to ears in focus while providing a nice bokeh in the background. Be creative on these. Get your family to be silly and goofy for some great memorable shots. 

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Bribery

When the little ones aren’t listening, get those cookies or treats out. It works.

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Post processing

Images straight out of camera seldom look as good as when processed with editing software like Skylum’s Creative Kit. Apps like Intensify CK that can bring out details and enhance colors will make your images stand out even more. 

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Go black and white:

Black and white is timeless. Not to mention it’s a good way to take a picture that may not look so good and ultimately save it. Using black and white conversion apps like Tonality CK can drastically enhance your family photos, as well as, add more personality and intimacy to an image.

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Most of all have fun! It is family after all. So just sit back, relax and enjoy everyone around you. Just remember to keep a sharp eye and have a quick hand. 

For some additional inspiration, or to receive some feedback on images you would like to share, join the Skylum Photography Facebook group.

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