After I got married, taking photos of my family became a passion for me. It began when my son was born. I really wanted to document his first year of progress, so I created this DIY Montage of Baby’s First Year Photos. I took the photos of him with both a DSLR or my phone and then just edited them. It is fun watching him grow and that as a mom, you get to see how much progress he has made. Aside from how it all started, my husband Richard and my mother-in-law Nancy were also a big influence on me in taking photos. They take great shots and some of the shots in this blog are from them.
Last weekend my family and I went out for a family photo shoot with an outdoor background for the making of our Christmas cards. Indeed, this time of the year is the busiest season. Spring, Summer, Fall and before you know it, it’s winter! But before the year ends, it is very important to decide if you want family photos for holiday greetings.
For today’s post, I am very excited to share our photos that we took for our holiday card. I’d also like to share with you a few tips and tricks on how to take your own family portraits.
Here are a few things to consider:
Plan ahead – before we decide the date of photo shoot, we think about location, outfits, poses and time. The more you plan ahead of time, the less stress it will be on everyone. At the same time, leave some time to be spontaneous. You never know what you might come across or inspire you. Especially at a new location.
Decide on what outfits to wear – Consider clothes that coordinate colors. You can also select some that are of the color palette that is in your photo location. Choose the colors of your outfits that will compliment your background instead of competing with it. Or, use a color palette for a certain season or occasion.
Location – plays an important role in the photo. You can choose indoor or outdoor, beach or park or maybe just your living room. You have an endless array of choices. For this one, we chose to go to a nearby abandoned ranch, and a park that was along the way.
Time – the best time to take photos are usually sunrise or sunset (golden hours). Nothing gives more definition than a natural soft light and lower angle. It was mid-day when we started our family photo shoot. We already knew that the times in between 11-1 pm are usually the worst time to take photos. Taking photos in direct bright sunlight can produce harsh shadows specially on the eye area. It also creates hot spots and tends to wash out areas that are more reflective of light. However, we still proceeded to take photos and we looked for a shadier area at our location. This way our subjects can avoid squinting and dark shadows are not present on the subject’s eyes.
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Equipment – We have a Canon Rebel T5 that we used for the photo shoot. A tripod is a must if you want to be in the photo yourself. You also need to learn how to use the timer or remote control. If using a remote for the camera, it is also important to make sure to hide it while clicking. Frame your shot and set the timer. Aside from a proper camera, you can also use your smart phone. There are a lot of phones now that provide some outstanding shots.
Poses – Most of us are not born to be a model, and posing can a bit hard. However, you can search and practice a few different poses for group shots. Pinterest can give you a lot of ideas and inspirations for photo shoots. Practice your favorite poses and take lots and lots of shots. So, at the end of the day, you can have a few good ones to select from. Always take more shots then you think you need. You never know if someone blinked or was making a strange face.
Edit – Yes, editing can be overwhelming to some most specially in Photoshop. I mean Photoshop is magical. I love Photoshop. It brings a photo to something grand. However, there a few online editing sites that are easier to use. There is Picmonkey which I mentioned before in one of my posts. I also love Canva which has a lot of templates to use. And Last but my most favorite editing site is Fotor. I am currently hooked on using this tool simply because its free to download the edited photo.
Above all things, when you do a family photo shoot, ENJOY IT! Make it like an event for that day. Patience, patience and patience. If someone in the family is not in the mood for the photo shoot, it could ruin the whole idea. Therefore, have fun with it. Try to capture funny moments while posing. Candid Shots will show how genuine the photos are. Stay blessed, not stressed.
I would be happy to hear how yours turn out. If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to comment below and it will be joy to answer them.
Merry Family Christmas Everyone!