When it comes to the dynamics of a family, nothing is ever “posed” and stiff! A day in the life usually involves chaos and craziness at every turn. Have you ever seen those family pictures where everyone matches, the background is a muddy shade of tie-dye blue, and the kids have gone bug-eyed from posing too long? I couldn’t imagine looking at a picture of my family like this and thinking, “Wow, this picture really encapsulates who we are together.” Um, I don’t think so!
Families involve happy times, angry times, silly times, crazy times, and everything in between. The only way to get the real-ness of a family is to find a photographer that can catch those in between reactions and go on a fun (no, really!) family photo shoot with you.
1) Go OUTSIDE the box (Or studio, that is)
Sometimes being in a studio just creates that stuffy stifled atmosphere that suppresses the real interactions of a family. I believe that each family member gets nervous because it is an out-of-the-ordinary setting and one no one is used to. So, get out of there! Take the kids and go to a park. Visit the zoo or go get some ice cream. For fun family photos, take a trip somewhere to do something your family is used to doing together. Your family photos will look more real, your photographer will have an easier time of catching those moments that make your family unique, and everyone will be relaxed and at ease with each other. No nervousness allowed!
2) Matching Smatching
I don’t know any families that wear matching clothing all of the time. If you want family photos that look real, look believable, and look like YOU, wouldn’t it make sense to do the things you’re used to doing every day? If you don’t wear matching shirts every time you leave the house, don’t wear them to the photo shoot! Wear things you are comfortable in and that make each of you feel good. Bright colors usually work the best for the camera and help each person to stand out from the background. My suggestion is to pick a color scheme and stick with it. Choose just a few colors for your family photos that everyone is comfortable with and looks attractive in. Blend – don’t match.
3) Ignore the Camera….no, seriously
I have seen so many occasions where people get in front of the camera and automatically freeze. There is just something about that big glass lens that makes people stiffen up and become nervous! The BEST way to become comfortable in front of the camera is to act like it isn’t even there. IGNORE IT. Tell the kids to ignore the camera like they ignore you when you tell them to clean their room. Yep, that should get the message across. The more you act like yourselves, the better your family pictures will turn out.
4) Photographer knows best
Moms, you may have to take a breather on this one. For your family photos, ask your family photographer for suggestions and tips on how to make your day more successful. For example, I would tell a client to make sure you scheduled your family photo session around your normal daily schedule. Be aware of naptimes, wake-up times, work-times, and any other time that you are used to during your daily routine. Also, be very aware of the time of day that you choose for your shoot. If you want to take a trip to the park for your family photos, don’t plan on having the shoot at 1pm in the afternoon. The light will not work nearly as well as it would closer to evening or late afternoon. Squinty eyes can ruin a picture! Always ask your photographer for some helpful tips and ideas to you can plan your shoot accordingly. Remember: The photographer wants to work with you!
5) ALL Day is okay!
Here is a fun family photo idea that I often like to throw out there: why not book a family photographer for the entire DAY? Have the photographer get the real low-down on what your family is like on an hour-by-hour basis. Booking your family photographer for an entire day of shooting will get many moments of daily life you wouldn’t capture otherwise. For the moms, you are usually the one taking the pictures, right? Or you dads? This way, you BOTH can be in the photos without having to set a timer and run to pose in front of the camera. These shoots produce photojournalistic style photos – ones that tell a story, moment to moment, emotion to emotion. Get the kids in their jammies eating breakfast, the family making dinner together, and the parents tucking the kids in bed. You could break apart the day any which way you like, just so long as you get the memories that you want to hold on to.
The biggest part of fun family photography is getting everyone to act in the normal way they do when together, without a strange camera in your face. When a family is real and comfortable with each other, the true spirit of the family dynamic comes across. Using these tips for better family photos, getting that spirit across to the photographer is what will give you lasting and memorable family photos for years to come.