Family Picture Taking

From organizing family portraits to snapping shots for a holiday greeting card, family picture taking can be made easy with a few simple tricks that can alleviate your film angst and turn you into an expert member of your family’s paparazzi.

Genuine catches.

Some of the cutest photos are taken when the subject isn’t expecting to be photographed. Capturing your daughter eating cereal with her stuffed animal or your son attempting to bathe the cat demonstrates your child’s spirit and personality. At your next family gathering, keep an eye out for “sidetrack” moments.

Memories are being displayed.

Compile a collection of favorite photos from your children’s sporting events, Scout outings, holidays, birthdays, and other events for a family album. Consolidating a year into one central location allows everyone to reflect on their memories at their leisure.

Quantity versus quality.

Take your time when taking pictures to save money on developing charges, film, and batteries in your digital camera. Examine the image you’re about to carry through the viewfinder and with your naked eye twice. And consider whether it’s worth saving.

Photos that are suitable for children.

Everyone is afraid that their child will cry or refuse to smile in a family photo. Make sure your photographer has experience working with children. Inquire about changing facilities, props, and toys to use as distractions and the cancellation or re-shoot policy.

What should I wear?

Some families choose a color scheme; others even dress in the same style. “Clothes should be simple, so they don’t detract from the subject of the picture,” says Dawn Norton, a family photographer from Minnesota. Consider the entire outfit that everyone will be wearing. Consider how filthy old sneakers will appear in an otherwise pristine family portrait!

Photos of animals.

Cherished dogs, cats, iguanas, and other critters are also family members, so it seems natural to include them. If a studio does not allow pets, look into other options. Many photographers will accompany you to a park or come to your home for an additional fee, for example.

Location is important.

Take a picture in your favorite park if your family enjoys nature. Pose food lovers as if they are baking in the kitchen. Simply be aware of what will appear in your photograph. Consider the possibility of glare from a nearby window or mirror. Remove distracting items from the table and observe how items on the walls will appear in the background.

Photography with a theme.

Consider a shot of everyone with blue eyes or baseball fans instead of traditional groupings like siblings or grandchildren. “At every birthday party, we photograph the oldest and youngest guests, or anyone willing to stick their tongue out and wear party hats,” said Kim Andres of Delaware.

Setting up a scene.

Props are an excellent way to add warmth and personality to a photograph. Giving your future paleontologist a dinosaur to hold or a crown to your princess tells the story of who your child is at the time of the photograph. Consider display as well: If you’re going to make a photo greeting card, make sure the picture’s orientation matches.

Keep it real.

While most parents would prefer that their toddler not cut her own bangs the night before a family portrait, life happens. Rather than canceling, embrace this stage in your child’s life and capture it on film. If he insists on wearing a favorite T-shirt, agree that he will take one photo in that shirt and one in the T you prefer. Remember that family photos are supposed to enhance family memories, not to cause stress.

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