Fam­i­ly pho­tog­ra­phy is one of the most pop­u­lar gen­res that do not lose rel­e­vance. Fam­i­ly pho­to shoots are always in demand, because at any stage of life peo­ple want to cap­ture impor­tant moments that unite the fam­i­ly. Fam­i­ly pho­to ses­sions can be attend­ed by babies and chil­dren at all stages of life, par­ents, grand­par­ents, pets. There­fore, there are many impor­tant nuances that we will try to cov­er in the arti­cle.

Pho­tos of chil­dren can be espe­cial­ly expres­sive. Source: www.unsplash.com

Family photography secrets

The first thing to pay atten­tion to is choice of clothes. Adult cloth­ing should be sim­i­lar in style and col­ors should match. You can choose a spe­cif­ic col­or palette of match­ing col­ors, and have dif­fer­ent fam­i­ly mem­bers choose dif­fer­ent col­ors from that palette. Keep in mind that fam­i­ly pho­tos will be con­sid­ered in decades, so a healthy con­ser­vatism may be appro­pri­ate here. How­ev­er, this is the choice of every­one, and the pic­tures of the past, which have the style and fash­ion of those years, are dis­tin­guished by a spe­cial charm.

Sec­ond moment — choice of loca­tion and back­ground for pic­tures. The eas­i­est and most neu­tral option is in the stu­dio using a sol­id back­ground. If you plan to shoot a large fam­i­ly, you need to be pre­pared for the fact that a large space is required. For exam­ple, a stan­dard paper back­ground 2.72 meters wide is too small for this.

A sim­ple back­ground, white clothes and a smile are the min­i­mum for a fam­i­ly pho­to. Source: pixabay.com

Inte­ri­or pho­to stu­dios with the right decor cho­sen by design­ers, they are also well suit­ed for fam­i­ly pho­to shoots. Clients who are not pro­fes­sion­al mod­els will find it eas­i­er to find objects to inter­act with (fur­ni­ture, books, acces­sories), pose and act nat­u­ral­ly. This will help make the pho­to alive, clos­er to real life.

The shoot­ing loca­tion great­ly affects the atmos­phere and mood of the frame. For exam­ple, on the eve of the New Year, inte­ri­ors with a Christ­mas tree and sim­i­lar attrib­ut­es are pop­u­lar.

Live frame in the New Year’s atmos­phere. Pho­to: Mar­gari­ta Malko­va

In autumn, pho­to shoots against the back­drop of a mul­ti-col­ored for­est are com­mon. The shoot­ing loca­tion needs to be thought out and agreed with clients in advance, since you are tak­ing pho­tos for them, and the shoot­ing loca­tion great­ly affects the look, char­ac­ter and mood of future shots.

Gold­en autumn pho­tos in the parks are very pop­u­lar. Pho­to: Mar­gari­ta Malko­va

When shoot­ing on loca­tion, it is impor­tant that extra objects did not fall into the framesome extra­ne­ous struc­tures and plants, there should be no dis­tract­ing details in the back­ground — bright spots, debris, signs of neglect. The far­ther away from the sub­ject the back­ground is, the more blurred it will be in the pic­ture.

Use the shal­low depth of field effect to blur the back­ground. Source: pixabay.com

When shoot­ing one per­son, we can, tak­ing into account the small nuances of the black and white pat­tern on his face and body, build com­plex light­ing schemes using stu­dio light­ing. But in group shoot­ing light should be exposed in a sim­ple way, since it falls at its own angle on each per­son. For exam­ple, two sym­met­ri­cal­ly locat­ed light sources on the racks on the right and left. You should avoid harsh shad­ows, for this it is bet­ter to use large soft­box­es or octo­box­es.

Two light sources with soft­box­es — a light­ing scheme that can be used as a start­ing point for a pho­to shoot in the stu­dio. Source: freepik.com

Pos­es and com­po­si­tion are cho­sen to the taste of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, but remem­ber that the focus should be on the faces of the peo­ple. When shoot­ing in a group, you need to place the peo­ple shoot­ing clos­er to each oth­er pre­cise­ly so that their faces are not lost, not too small. It is nec­es­sary to ensure that every­one is in focus, so that no one clos­es any­one. Always do mul­ti­ple takes to cap­ture the best expres­sions on each mem­ber’s faces. Then, if nec­es­sary, you can com­bine the pic­tures in the edi­tor.

Read also:
How to Shoot a Group Por­trait: Com­po­si­tion and Equip­ment

Live facial expres­sions can and should be shown in the pic­tures. Source: pixabay.com

Family photo hacks

Sep­a­rate­ly, it is worth talk­ing about shoot­ing angle. If we place the cam­era below peo­ple’s faces, shoot­ing from the bot­tom up, we get sev­er­al neg­a­tive effects. The per­son­’s face becomes visu­al­ly small­er, the dou­ble chin (if any) is empha­sized. We don’t want this. If you place the cam­era high­er, then peo­ple become visu­al­ly more slen­der. And it’s bet­ter in por­trai­ture.

In order to pho­to­graph a large fam­i­ly, you can use one or anoth­er coast­ersbox­es to com­pen­sate for the dra­mat­ic dif­fer­ence in growth. The sit­ting posi­tion also allows you to shoot peo­ple of dif­fer­ent ages and heights, but you won’t be able to pho­to­graph many sit­ting peo­ple in one frame.

Some­times the dif­fer­ence in height can become an artis­tic device. Pho­to: Elliott Erwitt

When shoot­ing out­doors, direct sun­light pro­duces harsh shad­ows. To com­bat this, the sun must be behind the peo­ple being pho­tographed. And for high­light­ing shad­ows you can use an addi­tion­al source, such as a cam­era flash.

child portrait

Shoot­ing chil­dren is a spe­cial case, and for each age there is a dif­fer­ent approach.

Infants will not pose for you, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er must cre­ate nat­ur­al con­di­tions in which you can get beau­ti­ful pic­tures of such a mod­el.

Babies can spend most of their time sleep­ing when pho­tograph­ing, and that’s not a bad thing. You need to adapt to this and con­duct a pho­to ses­sion accord­ing­ly, cre­at­ing com­fort­able and safe con­di­tions. Before shoot­ing, you need to make sure that the room is qui­et, warm, there are no drafts and damp­ness.

Infan­cy is the age at which you can sleep and par­tic­i­pate in a pho­to shoot. Source: Pixabay.com

When pho­tograph­ing babies, you will need parental helpwho will hold their child in their arms and be respon­si­ble for him, his calm­ness.

A black and white pho­to looks more strict and seri­ous. Source: Pixabay.com

You can take a blan­ket or a large blan­ket and ask one of the par­ents to cov­er their hands with this cloth. Then, with­out remov­ing the tis­sue, this per­son picks up the child with some­one’s help. After that, we pho­to­graph the baby, and this same fab­ric serves as the back­ground for the pic­ture.

There are also spe­cial props for pho­tograph­ing babies: poseurs var­i­ous shapes, dec­o­ra­tive cribs etc.

Pas­tel col­ors are often used in pho­tographs of babies. Source: Pixabay.com

When­ev­er pos­si­ble, it is best to use dim nat­ur­al light, as the flash may fright­en the baby.

Read also:

New­born pho­tog­ra­phy: how to pho­to­graph new­borns

With preschool chil­dren a dif­fer­ent approach is need­ed: here the pho­tog­ra­ph­er must inter­act with the mod­el him­self. Chil­dren of this age rarely sit still for a long time, they are very active. So that the child is not afraid, you can talk about his hob­bies, or vice ver­sa, leave him alone for a while. If the child is still small, you can attract his atten­tion with the help of inter­est­ing props, toys.

Nat­u­ral­ness in the pho­to is now in fash­ion. Source: Pixabay.com

Par­ents when shoot­ing a preschool­er, they must also be present. It is they respon­si­ble for its appear­ancestraight­en clothes and help make good shots with fid­gets.

As a sep­a­rate option, you can con­sid­er shoot­ing when a preschool­er does not pose for the cam­era, but does what he is inter­est­ed in, for exam­ple, in the park. In this case, the pho­tos will be nat­ur­al, but the pho­tog­ra­ph­er and his equip­ment also need the oppor­tu­ni­ty to catch an inter­est­ing moment.

Pets are the same mem­bers of the fam­i­ly, they can also get a lot of inter­est­ing shots. Source: flickr.com

Pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dent or teenag­er is no longer very dif­fer­ent from shoot­ing adults. Nat­u­ral­ly, depend­ing on the involve­ment of the mod­el in the shoot­ing process, you can pre­lim­i­nar­i­ly dis­cuss his wish­es, show what shots are obtained, or change some­thing in the shoot­ing con­cept.

Choosing equipment for family photography

The choice of cam­era is large­ly a mat­ter of taste, a lot depends on the bud­get and habits of a par­tic­u­lar brand.

There are two essen­tial require­ments here:

- We are inter­est­ed in the pos­si­bil­i­ty of con­nect­ing a syn­chro­niz­er for stu­dio shoot­ing. To do this, the cam­era must have a hot shoe.

– It is very impor­tant that the cam­era is with inter­change­able optics.

These are DSLRs and mir­ror­less cam­eras. It depends on the choice of lens what we will shoot and how high-qual­i­ty pic­tures we get.

The remain­ing para­me­ters are not so impor­tant, but you need to know that increas­ing the res­o­lu­tion improves the detail of the pic­tures, this is impor­tant if the pic­tures will be viewed on a large screen or print­ed in a large size.

Read also:

How to choose a cam­era for a begin­ner pho­tog­ra­ph­er

So, we have cho­sen a cam­era with inter­change­able lens­es, what lens to buy for it?

The lens must be sharp enough so that all the faces of the peo­ple in the frame are clear­ly vis­i­ble. Any high qual­i­ty fixed lens focal length gives such sharp­ness. From zoom lens­es can rec­om­mend pro­fes­sion­al lens series one or anoth­er man­u­fac­tur­er, for exam­ple, Canon has the L series, Sony has the G series, Sig­ma has the Art series.

The next impor­tant point is the choice of focal length.

When pho­tograph­ing large groups of peo­ple, it is tempt­ing to use wide angle lens. With it, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er can stand close to the mod­els, and at the same time a large space is placed in the frame. But here the fol­low­ing prob­lem lies in wait for us: those objects that are clos­er to the cam­era will appear larg­er, and this is not what we want. In addi­tion, the wide-angle visu­al­ly increas­es the dis­tance between objects, dis­tort­ing the per­spec­tive. There­fore, wide-angle lens­es are usu­al­ly not used for por­trait and fam­i­ly pho­tog­ra­phy. Their scope is land­scapes, archi­tec­ture and street.

Read also:

Inte­ri­or pho­tog­ra­phy for begin­ners: tricks, tricks, tech­niques

Street Pho­tog­ra­phy Hacks: 12 Street Pho­tog­ra­phy Tips

Fuji­film XF 10–24mm f/4 R OIS lens. Source: images.squarespace-cdn.com

The next type of lens to con­sid­er is nor­mal prime lens­es: For exam­ple, 50mm for full frame cam­eras and 35mm for APS‑C. They give a pic­ture that is close in pro­por­tion to what we see with the naked eye.

Sig­ma AF 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Sony E Source: cameralabs.com

Good for stu­dio shoot­ing clas­sic por­trait lens­es: About 85mm for full frame mod­els and 50mm for APS‑C mod­els. Nat­u­ral­ly, there may be vari­a­tions in focal length, it already depends on the taste and choice of a par­tic­u­lar cam­era man­u­fac­tur­er. With them you have to move fur­ther away from the mod­els, but they give a clear pic­ture, beau­ti­ful back­ground blur and the right pro­por­tions.

Fuji­film XF 56mm f/1.2 R Lens Source: funwithfuji.com

Mod­er­ate fast tele­pho­to lens­es also per­formed well. They give a beau­ti­ful back­ground blur, just like por­traits. They are dif­fi­cult to use in the stu­dio, but out­doors, where you can move away from the sub­ject, many pho­tog­ra­phers pre­fer them. The fact is that tele­pho­to lens­es depict all parts of the object, in this case the face, at approx­i­mate­ly the same scale. The pro­por­tions of facial fea­tures are obtained as in real­i­ty, with­out dis­tor­tion, with­out an enlarged nose and reduced eyes. In this, TVs are the oppo­site of wide-angles.

Sony FE 70–200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens Source: amateurphotographer.co.uk

How to shoot shy and shy people

Many peo­ple are afraid to be pho­tographed, they are embar­rassed, they don’t know how to behave in pho­tog­ra­phy. For such cas­es, we can give some advice:

  • First, you should ask the per­son if he had pho­to shoots before, and which ones. After that, you need to tell how the shoot­ing will take place, at least in gen­er­al terms, because the unknown can be the most fright­en­ing.
  • Be con­fi­dent and cor­rect. You need to know your busi­ness, behave like a pro­fes­sion­al and not show that you are unhap­py with some­thing, for exam­ple, in the cam­era set­tings.
  • It is nec­es­sary to praise the mod­el more and not dis­cuss its exter­nal short­com­ings.
  • Smil­ing and laugh­ing is, of course, the main stress reliev­er for both the pho­tog­ra­ph­er and the mod­el. But the main thing here is a good sense of humor and tact. It is bet­ter if the joke is abstract, not about the shoot­ing itself. For exam­ple, you can tell a fun­ny sto­ry.
  • You can ask a per­son to par­tic­i­pate in the process. Of course, you don’t need to ask the client to work for you, but you can find out what the client would like to change in the envi­ron­ment, clothes.
  • Ask the client to pick up some props. Often peo­ple do not know where to put their hands in an unusu­al envi­ron­ment or in pub­lic. Some object in hand will help here, but it must be suit­able for shoot­ing.
  • Often peo­ple are embar­rassed by their appear­ance, you can show a per­son a par­tic­u­lar­ly good pic­ture of him­self so that he knows that the result of the shoot­ing will be won­der­ful.


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