A family photo shoot is an unforgettable moment that people want to capture in a frame and hold it dear for years. When someone hires you for a family photo shoot, it’s your job to give them photos that look timeless and stunning at the same time. Whether you are a wedding photographer, a lifestyle photographer, or someone in the family with a camera, it is important to understand some key factors when it comes to planning a proper family photo shoot.
In this article, we’ll share some tips that you can use to photograph families. We’ll share top family photography ideas everything, from location to posing, to capture the beautiful and precious moments of a family gathering.
Scout A Convenient Outdoor Location
Searching for a beautiful outdoor location is the first thing that you need to do. Outdoor locations ideas such as local parks, a garden, a golf course, beach, or a field are perfect for this type of photo shoot.
Most importantly, those locations where a family has already been there would be great as they feel more comfortable there. After scouting the location, visit the site before a day or any different day just to make sure how the site looks or what could be the best angles to shoot from.
Also, with outdoor ideas, it is important to understand you have to check the weather of the location as you cannot control weather. You need to make sure that the weather should be clear before you go with them and start shooting. Most likely Summer, Spring, or Fall season would be great to avoid any bad weather forecast.
Shooting indoor is a good alternative to outdoor locations. If a weather forecast is not cooperating with you or perhaps your client would prefer indoor shooting, then you can schedule the shooting indoor with family permission. Home is most likely to play an important role here where family is most comfortable.
Their furniture where they will be sitting for posing, backyards, or play areas is perfect for the shoot. You can even take pictures in a photography studio where you have total control of the lighting. You can use reflectors to light the areas to make sure you have enough lighting as you don’t want to end up with underexposed photos. Just make sure it has enough room to accommodate the family of 7 or most likely 10 people.
Communication is Important
Every family is different and they might have different requests before a photo shoot. With communication, you can understand those requests just to make sure everyone is clear about the shoot.
They might have questions related to location, posing, clothing, how the kids would behave, angles, and a lot more. If you set up a meeting beforehand, then this can help you plan the shoot perfectly and avoid any unforeseen problem or requests that you are not aware about.
Posing Is The Key
Capturing natural poses of family members is challenging and this is even difficult with kids. Stand-and-still poses are a great starting point but letting the family be themselves could make a big difference. Don’t go with documentary posing, let them pose how they want to be and you don’t need to incline towards a specific pose as well. Sometimes capturing an imperfect look can result in a great photo. The best thing would be you can use both methods for posing. Stand-and-still or some dynamic poses would be great for the shoot.
Here are some posing ideas:
- Mom & Dad
- Cuddle Up
- Lift the Kids UpSwinging
- Walking in a park
- Playing with Props
Just keep in mind, posing can be different outdoor than indoors. Indoor posing ideas include posing in bed, kitchen, sofa, window, outside of the house, and so on…
Don’t control the kids
Kids are tough to shoot as they move around a lot or sometimes they don’t listen at all. That’s why controlling them does not make sense and even it can make them uncomfortable as you may be asking too much to them. Let the kids do what they want to and this can help you capture their natural personalities.
And they can be creative if you allow them to be. Funny faces, dancing while wearing their favorite dresses, kissing their parents, or maybe running around the location and camera, doing any activity, playing games, playing with pets or props can help you capture some great photos.
What to wear before a special occasion could be confusing and difficult. It is a tricky question to answer as everyone has their own style when it comes to putting on outfits from their attire. Matching clothes, patterns in colors, something that goes well with the location would be an ideal choice here.
Talking to your client and suggesting outfits to make sure everyone is wearing their favorite outfits is the best way to nail clothing or you can ask your client about their favorite wears as well. Pick something that is not too bright or anything that doesn’t look ultra-flashy. Sometimes a coordinating attire is more than enough for clothing.
Don’t Forget The Props
Capturing the natural smile and personalities of the family members is important for a successful photo shoot. Some people may not feel comfortable in front of the camera and some may do well while posing. If someone is not natural in posing, you can introduce props to them. Props can help in posing a lot and most likely it can remove a burden of posing that can be a great relief. When there is no pressure, the photo would come out beautifully, and no member of the the family would feel left out.
Props such as a balloon, wagon, hay bales, teepes, ladder, blanket, game, or anything that can help families interact for natural poses and photos could be a great choice. While choosing props, make sure it should go well the location and theme of the outfits.
Shoot In Golden Hour
Golden hour is a magical hour for shooting and it has its own benefits. The first thing that I really like about the golden hour, is the beautiful warm and glowing tones. The golden hour can reflect charming warm tones to the people’s skin tones and that can help skin tones pop.
The second thing is lighting, in golden hours, the light is neutral it is not going to be too bright and nor too dark. In these lighting conditions, even if you took a photo that you are not happy with you can edit it in Lightroom, all thanks to neutral lighting.
Carrying a tripod is important if you are planning a family photoshoot during golden hour. Also, it is best if you choose a field, or a park to shoot in golden hour as the grass and the greenery around the location would complement the golden tones.
Lastly, make sure you are using back-lighting where you place the sun behind your subject that gives you a magical glow of warm tones. Try to avoid front-lighting at all cost, this would create a silhouette effect which may not be good for family photos.
It all happens in Post-processing
Whether you are shooting landscapes, portraits, weddings, sports, or anything in between, no photo is complete without post-production. The same thing applies to family photos, there are some tones or moods that you can use with these types of photos to make them look timeless and unforgettable.
I would highly recommend going after a bright and clean look. Bright & Airy, Golden Hour, HDR or Retro, Moody, Earthy, Boho tones would look best when working with family shoots. You can try the Master Collection as it includes all the presets that you need to take those photos from “Hmm…! Alright” to “Oh Wow”!
I hope you enjoyed the tips. I hope that these would help plan a shoot that your clients are proud of.