Family photos are among the most difficult for a professional photographer? The mere fact that you have multiple people in a photo, all of whom need to be posing the looking their best at the same time, makes it difficult.
I’ve done a good number of family photos in recent weeks and it made me ponder one question: how can I as a photographer achieve the best family photos possible?
One of the most important factors is the setting for the photos. It used to be that families went to an indoor studio to get their portraits taken. While that is still done, it is — at least in my opinion — boring. Most families want a great outdoor setting with lush backgrounds that add to the interest of a photo. That is what I try to achieve.
Being from Lincoln, I have done all my family sessions in Lincoln. A few of my favorite spots are Pioneers Park, East Campus, and Sunken Gardens when it is in bloom. These locations have scenery that add interest and color to the backgrounds of family photos.
Another important element is the light. This means it is important to schedule a session for the right time of day. I once did a family session at 10 a.m. in the summer. We were shooting in full sun and the photos did not turn out the way that I had hoped. My preference is to shoot in late afternoon, just before the sun sets. That provides the prettiest lighting and will achieve the best results in photos.
Now to the most challenging aspect of family photos: getting everyone to cooperate. This is especially challenging when young children are involved. Even more when pets are thrown into the mix. Young children don’t always smile for the camera, or even look at the camera for that matter. I’ve found the best solution is to just keep snapping away until the desired shot is achieved. A noise maker that squeaks will help get the attention of wayward children and pets, so be sure and bring one if warranted.
Family photos are among the most rewarding kinds of photos to shoot because the families are so grateful for these memories. It’s an area of photography that I hope to continue to pursue more and more.