Affordable Tips for Taking a Phenomenal Family Photo
Whether you’re on vacation, hosting a family event, or simply want to snap some successful pics of the kiddos, knowing how to take a phenomenal family photo is a great life skill that will help you capture memories for years to come. Here are a few basic strategies you can use to get started. (See also: How to Look Great in Photos)
If you’re on vacation in a great locale (and also practicing some awesome travel photography), chances are you’ll have your pick of fantastic backgrounds. Snow-capped mountains, botanical garden displays, and even public parks are all appropriate choices. If you’re at home, however, you might go with a bench in the back yard or a splash scene near the shores of a nearby lake. The point is to have something that looks great, but isn’t too busy looking.
When you’re on the road or taking outdoor pictures, you pretty much have to rely on weather reports and the appropriate time of day for scoring the proper lighting. I like mornings and mid to late afternoon myself. I find I get some great highlighting that way. However, if you are going for an inside solution, then you may want to explore some inexpensive DIY portrait lighting options using tidbits from hardware and department stores.
If you find yourselves all in the same spot without having planned it, then you can of course just go with what you’re wearing. Otherwise, coordinated outfits are a nice way to go and keep the focus on the people as opposed to the clothing. For example, if one person is wearing a navy cardigan, perhaps another can wear the same color T-shirt under another top or a top in a coordinating color with navy trim. If you want to have the whole group match, however, you can do so affordably by having everyone wear their favorite pair of jeans and springing for stash of white tees and socks to be put on fresh at the photo shoot. Khakis are another option for pants that can be purchased inexpensively.
You can do the standard kneeling row and standing row if you have a group, but there are other ways to go as well. According to this Darren Rowse piece on how to take group photos, angling the shot from above provides a fun and unexpected perspective. If you are photographing a smaller group or going for some pics of the kids, you may want to go with candid shots during an activity.
If you're not somewhere especially picturesque, there’s nothing wrong with a solid-color backdrop. In fact, if you’re crafting your own passport pictures, a simple white one will suffice. However, there are a number of options for creating colorful and scenic backdrops on a shoestring. White butcher paper, shower curtains, fabric remnants, and even wrapping paper can be used for colorful DIY backdrops when photographing children and pets.
Getting the perfect family photo doesn’t require a professional photographer or making appointments at your local department store. With a decent DSLR and a little practice, you’ll be grabbing great memories at a fraction of the cost.