Although it may be too late to take a holiday family photo, it is never too early to start planning for next year's picture. Contrary to what many think, there is more to taking the perfect family photo than gathering the family together and snapping a shot. That is if you want a picture that will become a long-lasting photographic memory caught in time.
With this in mind, we offer a few tips that will make taking that holiday family photo easier for everyone involved and result in a favorite family keepsake.
When taking your family photo, the one item that will play a significant role in the quality of the photo’s outcome is the camera. Important to remember here is that you get what you pay for. By this, we mean if you choose to use a cheap, everyday camera to take your photo, you are missing out on a wide variety of options.
With today’s technology and advancements in photography, make sure that the camera used is of professional quality. You don't need to stress your budget to achieve quality results. With all the bells and whistles on many models offered on the market today, we suggest you research your options and know ahead of time what you are looking for before purchasing.
Lighting Is Important
In the world of photography, lighting is everything--it can make or break a photo. Too much light will drain the photos colors down, and too little light will make them appear too dark. It is essential to get that all-important middle ground to achieve the perfect lighting for your photo.
If you choose to take your holiday photo indoors, ensure that you are afforded as much natural light as possible. When given the option, always go with natural light, as it is the most accurate form of lighting. If the opportunity for natural light is not available, make sure to use an adequate number of lamps or other types of light fixtures. The lightbulb in the light fixtures is essential as well, as many bulbs will cast a yellow hue when lit.
Coordinate The Family
Since this is a family holiday photo, you will want everyone looking perfect. The subjects must be coordinated with one another regarding their clothing. The clothing should be coordinated in style, color, and theme and coordinated with the background or surroundings. Nothing ruins a family photo faster than when the subjects clash with one another and the background and surroundings.
If you cannot obtain enough ambient or natural light where you plan on taking the photo, you may want to consider opting for using a Speedlight. The Speedlight will attach onto the hot-shoe of your camera, much like a flash, and is the easiest choice and manner in which to provide additional lighting for your family photo.
Make Use Of The Surroundings
When considering your lighting sources and looking for a softer look for the photo, you may try bouncing your additional lighting off the ceiling if the picture is being taken indoors. Bouncing the light can be done by tilting the head of your flash upwards towards the ceiling. This positioning will allow the advantage of utilizing the ceiling to reflect the flash of light downwards over the subjects.
If the photo taken is in a vertical position, you will then swivel the head of your flash and tilt it, which will allow it the opportunity to take advantage of and bounce off of the ceiling. It is essential to note and remind at this point that if your family photo is in color, you will need to make ensure that the ceiling is white. If the ceiling is a color other than white, the bounced light will show up in the photograph and work to make the colors appearing in the photo off as well.
Keep The Background Simple
You may have the perfect background in mind, but if it is too showy or chaotic, you will soon learn that it will distract from and clash with the subjects in your photo. Please take a moment to look your background over carefully, ensuring that it won't create any strange looks or effects to the picture. Also, make sure that the background coordinates with the subjects, and if need be, choose a different background or location to take the photo. It is better to consider all these options before the photoshoot begins than to have everyone gathered and change your mind and have to relocate.
Make Use of Mother Nature
Choosing to take your family holiday photo outdoors offers a variety of background options and positioning of the subjects. You have the ability to photograph the family members outdoors in the traditional manner, or with the development of new technology, make use of a drone to take panoramic as well as overhead shots for more spectacular effects. The options afforded by using a drone are practically endless.
Take Time To Arrange
Take the time to pose your subjects in a few different positions. If posing doesn't feel right, try arranging them where you think you may want them in the photo. You may wish to have the parents seated in the front, with the children standing behind them, or vice versa. Or, if choosing to take your photo outdoors in nature, you may want to arrange the subjects around a favorite spot, such as a large tree with sentimental value to the family. You can even choose to include the family pet or pets in the photo, arranging them appropriately as well.
Make Use of Angles
Although the traditional straight-on photo is excellent, why not use different levels and angles at which to photograph the subjects? You could photograph them from above, angling down and over them, or even from below, shooting up towards them. If the younger family members are sitting on the floor, get down with them, and shoot them from various fun and non-traditional angles.
Interaction and Connection
Throughout the entire process, make sure to interact with the subjects. Talk to them, letting them know how you would like them to react and where you need them to be in the photo. Tell them jokes or funny stories to keep them relaxed or to make smaller children smile or laugh. If the family chooses to include their pet included in the photo, you will need to ensure that you keep its attention as well, or the entire shoot can quickly go off course. Make silly noises, whistles, and sounds and repeatedly use the pet's name to encourage them to perk up their ears and focus on the camera.
Grab Their Attention
The best way to make the entire photoshoot go smoothly for all the parties involved is for you to grab the subject’s attention and hold it. Although the shoot itself may last less than 30 minutes, capturing the subject’s attention from the beginning will make it easier for all those involved and result in a lot of memorable fun along the way.
Taking a family holiday photo doesn't have to be a stressful or arduous event or process. With a bit of pre-planning and using the tips provided above, you can make the day one that will not only offer a family photo but create memories that will last a lifetime. Now isn't that what the holidays are actually all about?