I have a confession to make. We have never had a professional family portrait taken. :-( Yep, in the 25 years we’ve been married….not one. I’m not proud of that fact. Especially when I see the beautiful family photos of the One Good Thing By Jillee “Team“ that I am going to introduce to you today. (More on that in a minute.)
BUT….I have committed to rectifying the situation this month! I have warned the kids and hubster it’s happening and now that I have told all of you…I’m hoping you will hold me to it! I’m turning over a new leaf. :-)
Anyway, the whole family photo thing got me thinking about how the holidays generally mean a whole lot of picture-taking going on!
Since I am married to a professional videographer and work with the talented ladies over at Small Fry Blog who deliver stunning images on their blog everyday…I decided to ask them to share their best advice for taking great family photos this holiday season.
From the ladies at Small Fry Blog –
4 tips for shooting beautiful pictures:
1. Keep it alive. Let personalities shine, the best photos are rarely posed! Especially for children, candid is key and will capture a feeling better than any forced smile will do.
2. Get in close. Capturing detail and emotion is so much easier no matter what equipment you have when you get on your subject’s level, invade personal space if necessary! Show the freckles and the flaws, those are the things we treasure as mothers and we want to remember for years to come.
3. Now step back. Capture the scene and the feeling of a room in its entirety. This is where you’ll get those beautifully understated interactions with your loved ones, tucking hair behind your daughter’s ear, laughing at a silly antic. All great things, and so much more valuable than sitting with folded legs and arms in our laps!
4. Keep it natural. When shooting in the day, turn off overhead lighting, find a window and put your best face forward toward the light. Use that natural light, its where we all look best, and it will make your photos feel natural and inviting.
Tips from The Hubster:
1. Always try to pull your subject away from a background. The “10 Most Wanted” pose is not flattering. The depth you can create behind them only serves to accentuate your subject.
2. Zoom in. If you have a zoom lens, stand back a few feet and zoom in to throw the background out of focus and isolate your subject from the background. More flattering to your subject.
3. Use a tripod (when possible). No human being will ever be as steady as a tripod. Outdoor in sunny conditions you might be able to get away without it….but for close-ups you will get better images using a tripod.
4. Experiment! Don’t be afraid to take several pictures of the same thing using different settings on your camera. You might be surprised what you come up with.
5. Take time to learn your camera. To get the most out of your camera…you have to learn about it, especially if you have a DSLR. Sit down with your user guide and learn about things like aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and white balance. Most digital cameras offer automatic settings that do just fine, but taking the time to learn about manual settings and tweaks is well worth the time.
A few more of my favorite tips:
1. Get in closer than you think you need to. Faces are what you really want to see – so get right up there. When you think you have a great photo…take one step in!
2. Take multiple photos. Kids and babies are notorious for wiggling at the last second, so make sure you have plenty of options to choose from. You can even use the video feature on your Smartphone, then take a screen shot from the video!
3. Steady! Many people extend their arms to see the image in the camera’s viewfinder before snapping the picture. This makes it difficult to hold the camera steady. And if the zoom feature is used, shakiness is amplified. Instead, keep your arms tucked tight against your body when shooting a photo. Old-fashioned eyeball viewfinders also reduce shakiness, as it requires you to keep the camera still as it’s pressed against your face.
4. Frame your subjects off-center. Go against your natural impulse to center all your photographs. While some shots look nice centered within the frame, off-center compositions can give your photos an artistic feel.
5. Use the element of surprise. Don’t always let your subject know you are taking a photo and wait for the perfect moment to snap a picture.
6. Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice taking photos, the easier and more intuitive it will become, and the better photos you will produce!