13 Tips to Master Family Photography

There are many types of families, extended, single-parent, same-sex, nuclear, assembled… But they all have something in common, the relationship between their members. Family photography is somewhat more complex than individual portraits. For different reasons, there are several subjects, they must be coordinated and it is also important to reflect their personality and dynamics and the interaction between all their members.

It is very likely that you have ever had to photograph yours (they always ask us when they know that we are amateur photographers) or that you will find yourself in this situation sooner or later. There are some very typical errors in this photographic discipline that are very easily remedied, others are somewhat more complicated, but don’t be scared, it’s not that big of a deal. If you are interested in the topic, keep reading this post in which I offer you some tips so you can get great family photos, be it yours or not 😉 . And if what you are looking for is something more specific about children’s photography, in this mega guide you will find all the tips and tricks.

1. Take care of the wardrobe

This first advice may seem of little importance, however it is not. Clothing plays a fundamental role in family photography for several reasons.

  • It is better for the family to wear classic clothes so that the portrait does not go out of style in a short time, we are looking for a timeless photo and the “fashionable” clothes may be very good that year, but in two or three, it may make you eye damage 😉 .
  • It is not necessary that all the members wear the same color, but it helps that the colors are very similar and combine with each other. And if, for example, there are several relatives who wear the same color, it is better to avoid very different tones.
Similar colors create harmony and unity in the image.
  • In summer it is better to use soft colors, in winter more cheerful colors to give life to the colors that nature offers (we are talking about outdoor portraits)
  • Not only do you have to combine the colors, but also the style of clothing, or all formal or all casual, mixtures are not good… 😉
  • Avoid stripes, checks, or flashy designs that draw attention away.
  • Make sure that the clothes show elbows and knees, as this part of the body is not flattering (in adults) and can spoil the result.
  • It is easy for you to have to face a family portrait in which you have not previously been able to advise on the wardrobe, do not worry, a trick What you can use is to place the members by groups of colors that combine with each other. Look at this example:
Place the members by groups of colors that combine with each other.

2. Find a suitable location

When doing a family photography session, look for a location that they like, a park, the forest, the beach… They are very grateful environments for this type of photography. If it is indoors or in a house, take care of the background and any element that distracts attention.

3. Create a suitable environment for family photography

It is important that they enjoy the session so that they are comfortable and relaxed, so they will be much better portrayed and you can take the time you need. Prepare the session as if it were a game, especially if there are children. Instead of asking them to smile, tell them something funny, an anecdote or a joke, forced smiles are too artificial.

4. Take care of the lighting

This is one of the most important points, but I’m afraid this doesn’t scare you, does it? Here we will also expand a little more.

  • Indoors use bounce flash.
  • If you’re backlit or the background is much brighter than the shot the family is in, use the flash.
  • If you can use natural light, even better. In that case you have to be careful that there is not part of the family in the sun and another part in the shade. You will not get a good result.
  • Remember that the best times to take photos outdoors are early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • If it’s midday, the very strong light can make them close their eyes, it also creates unwanted shadows. Look for a shadow but be careful that all the faces are illuminated. Placing them on the edge of the shadow can help you.
Outdoors, the best daylight hours are early morning and late afternoon.

5. Take care of placement

Prevent them from adopting awkward or forced postures, if they appear natural the results will be much better. If there are many members, an element such as a gate, fence, or ladder can help organize the composition in a family photo.

6. Use a suitable opening

For portraits, an aperture as large as possible (i.e., a small f-number) is often recommended, but in this case, it’s a good idea not to open the aperture so wide. An f/8 would be more suitable. If you want to use a wide aperture, make sure the members are in the same plane so that everyone is in focus. If the group is very large, a small aperture (larger f-number) is recommended.

7. Try to transmit the essence of the family

We commented at the beginning of the post on the importance of capturing not only the members of a family, but also their personality. You can use props or objects that they normally use. The important thing is not that all the members look at the camera, what is really important here is that the family unit shows itself as it is.

It portrays your personality.

To show the family connection, try to have contact between them, a hand on a shoulder, the arm behind the waist, etc. You will feel closer.

8. Get a good frame

Remember the advice on composition and be careful about cutting off heads or leaving them in the middle of the photo. And if it’s full body, don’t cut off their feet! 😉

Notice that the heads are not in the middle of the photo, and neither are any cut off.

9. Shoot burst and many times

When there are several members, it is very easy for someone to come out with their eyes closed or with some unflattering gesture. The more photos you shoot, the more likely you are to get one in which most of the models turn out well.

10. Be flexible

It is very likely that you have an idea of ​​how to direct the session, that is not bad, but do not forget to pay attention to those spontaneous moments, because one of the best snapshots may be of one of those moments of improvisation.

11. Once again, use your creativity to take family photos

Get away from the typical portraits and propose something fun, a game, a race, or simply change a perspective… You know, imagination has no limits!

An original family portrait.
A nice portrait that breaks all schemes.

12. Use the tripod

That you are part of that huge family group that you have to portray? Then don’t forget the tripod for the world! Set the timer or use the remote trigger and… look at the little bird!

13. Capture emotions in family photography

I’ll leave my favorite advice for last, because emotions are important, because a photo has to provoke a feeling in you and there is nothing better than capturing an emotional moment, apart from flattering poses or gestures. The interaction between its members and the displays of affection cannot be missing in a family portrait.

The love of a mother and her daughter.

And that’s the end of today’s post, I hope I have helped you and that now you see it a little easier to portray a family or your own. I hope I didn’t miss anything, but if you have any questions, feel free to leave your comment. Thank you very much for reaching the end and, if you liked it, share it ;). See you soon!