Top eight tips for taking a family portrait

Nicolette Loizou / 01 September 2015

Everyone wants a good family portrait for the mantelpiece. So why not take one yourself? Here’s how with our easy-to-follow tips.

1. Get smart

Ask everyone you want in the picture to wear their best clothes. You will want your nearest and dearest to avoid bold patterns and logos as these will overpower the final image. Position everyone so the tallest is at the back and keep the front reserved for the grandchildren. 

2. Take a lot of shots

You don’t want members of your family to look as if they are half-asleep so take as many shots as you can to avoid anyone blinking or looking half-asleep. 

3. Keep lighting soft

Direct flash almost never works so you’ll want the fastest lens. This allows you to shoot in low light.  Also, avoid direct sun light. If you do decide to use flash indoors, use a diffuser which will soften the effect. 

Read how to look good in wedding photographs here

4. Use a tripod

It’s worth investing in a good tripod. Not only does it slow you down – and it can be just as nervy taking photographs as it is being in them – but it also allows you to make eye contact with your family which is very important when coaxing expressions. 

5. Reflectors

If you decide to take pictures outside on a bright sunny day use a large white card or buy a reflector. A reflector does just what it says – it reflects light. Make sure that the light is hitting the reflector and that your family are not casting a shadow on it. If you want to save money use a foldable car shade and cover it in tinfoil. If you don’t drive use an old  towel or a large white sheet. 

6. Zoom

Try using a zoom lens which means you will be able to stand further back and the camera will be less distracting to young children, resulting in a more natural-looking photograph. 

7. Treats

If children are being tetchy promise them a treat once the session has finished. Don’t give them treats while you are still taking photos as you don’t want their munching to spoil the session, but a promise of sweets afterwards will make them happy to pose for you.  

8. Closing in

Even though they are your family they still might not be getting close enough. Having everyone in tight truly makes a difference in the tone. When families are physically close, it creates warmth and showcases your affection for your relatives. 

Find out where to get your photos printed here

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