We asked a dozen successful amateur and pro portraitists for tips on better family photos. Our interviews turned up a surprising number of common strategies for succeeding with this classic subject. Here’s how they suggest you capture your family’s personality in pictures. *Keep It Real*Small reminders of daily life are more precious than posed images. The family pictures that will mean the most to you (and others) will be the most candid. Try to capture family members interacting with each other and the world around them. Keep from directing or posing people—it may vex your subjects and reduce your chances for good photos. (Above Photo) Pro Sue Barr chose a Coney Island location for this family portrait. It lent color to the background and coaxed lively expressions from the kids.Sue Barr
Timelines, location recommendations, trail stats, vendor referrals, permits and marriage license info, officiants, lodging, travel tips, attire guides, weather…the list goes on. Even though you’re keeping it simple by eloping, there are still lots of details to think about. We bundle all the important info up for you into a custom planning portal website and are available to consult with every step along the way.
Three months before: If you plan to submit a shot with your newspaper wedding announcement, check their guidelines for specifics and schedule a picture-taking session at least three months before the wedding. Larger newspapers ask to receive wedding submissions up to six weeks before the event, and you'll want to factor in four to six weeks before that deadline to see your proofs and make prints.
Not the first thing you would think of when reading a blog post about wedding photography tips? But comfy shoes and socks can be a lifesaver for a wedding photographer. (Maybe not quite lifesavers) Listen! you’re going to be walking, running, jumping A LOT during a wedding day. Get some comfy shoes. Bring a spare pair just in case the first get wet. There’s also nothing quite like putting a new pair of socks on so bring some of them as well!
Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.
If there are small children or babies involved make sure to get their attention. It even helps to have an assistant, tell them to bring Grandma along or a friend to help out. But what always happens is you get the kids all looking and smiling, and what are the parents doing? Looking at the kids!  Oops again! I always tell the parents, “no matter what keep looking at me as I make a total fool of myself, do NOT look at your child”.
When reviewing a photographer's album, look for the key moments you want captured: Did they get photos of both the bride and the groom when they locked eyes for the first time? Also look for crispness of images, thoughtful compositions (does a shot look good the way it was framed, or is there too much clutter in the frame?) and good lighting (beware of washed-out pictures where small details are blurred—unless that's the style you're after). It's also very important that you detect sensitivity in capturing people's emotions; make sure the photographer's subjects look relaxed, not like deer caught in headlights. While you two are important, of course, you want to see smiling shots of your friends too.
…and think outside the box. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can take a ho-hum image and make it feel “complete.” Don’t let the accessories overwhelm the subject or the photos though. I believe that especially with sweet babies and toddlers that they don’t need much in the way of “accessories.” Little kiddos are beautiful in their simple purity, and I want them to be the star of the show instead of making one’s eye go straight to a giant headband as big as their head as they sit awkwardly in a big bucket. I want the viewer to notice my subject and their personality first. The accessories and clothing should just complement them – not be center stage. Choose your accent colors and fill in outfits with those punches of color in accessories. For instance, if big sister’s patterned dress has tones of aqua, coral and gray, have mom wear a coral headband and little brother in an aqua pair of Converse and bow tie. Show off the kids’ and your unique personality with accessories!
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