Tips and tricks for Family Photo Shoots

The festive season is about family time and creating memories. This is the perfect time to sharpen your photography skills. It doesn’t matter if you have a DSLR or a smartphone to capture photos of your family, it’s always good to know what type of photos you want.

This guide will help you capture the best holiday photos and make lasting memories for your December. Find our top family portrait tips to help you plan your next session.

Essential family photo shoot tips

Make a plan

Planning ahead is always a good idea, especially if you have children. Timing is the first thing you should plan. Do not schedule photo sessions during nap time. You should choose a time that they are still fresh and after a meal (safe option for both kids and adults). To avoid boredom, keep the session short or, if you have many people, prioritize shots for children.

You can’t choose the place where your family gathers. You should look for good spots at that location. You should also plan the types of photos you wish to take, including candid and posed.

Lighting matters

Shooting indoors

These shots can be tricky, but you can still get some great shots with low exposure and soft lighting. Natural lighting should always be used to highlight the subject, using windows and cracks as well as a pastel background.

These indoor lighting tips can be consulted for further reference.

Shooting outdoors

Natural lighting is great for daytime photoshoots. It allows the light to shine through and gives your family the warmth of sunlight. Choose a sunny day when the sun is low and the subject’s faces are less exposed. Let natural light do its magic by getting them to gather together for a photo.

Watch your shutter speed

Blurred images can be devastating, but you can avoid it if you know how to do it.

Your shutter speed should be at least twice your focal length. A 70-200f/2.8 lens, for example, is great for family portraits. It allows you to draw in some background so that you can get clean, un-distracting shots. To be safe, shoot at 200mm.

Have fun with the Christmas lights

Beautiful photos of your family can be taken with a Christmas tree and fairy lights as background. These photos will be there to remind you of how wonderful that moment was a few years later. Don’t be afraid to experiment with beautiful festive colors.

Make it fun

This is a fact that everyone knows. No matter how advanced your smartphone is, smiles and laughter are the key to great family photos. It is important to learn how to make family photo shoots fun and enjoyable. You can tune-up the personality and make jokes. There are many resources online on how to deal with screaming babies, skulking teens, and aunts wondering why they didn’t notice that the family was taking a photo. It will all be worth it once you see the results.

Capturing heartfelt candid shots

Although candid shots are often underrated or overlooked, they are just as important than portrait-style images. Only candid photos can capture real moments, authentic expressions and genuine interactions. Although it’s not always easy, you may have to be a paparazzi-like photographer, but these tips should make it easier.

Get ready for candid

A long lens is best for candid shots. The family won’t be aware that a camera is focusing on them so they can act naturally. A zoom can be used to switch between wide-angle photos with background and emotive close-ups. To really concentrate on facial expressions, set the aperture to f/5.6 or lower.

Take candid photos

Capturing genuine emotions is what makes candid shots so special. Let your family interact and then be ready to jump in when the time comes. You can add more excitement to your photos by creating the moment. Children can be directed to play in well-lit areas and then watch as they have great fun playing with their toys. Make jokes with the adults and then take a moment to capture the laughter, smiles, and giggles.

DSLR family photo shoot tips for taking candid shots  

Use continuous autofocus setting

This setting will not lock the focus but instead it will continue to autofocus when it detects motion. This little trick could help you avoid blurry photos when you try to take candid shots.

Use priority mode to shoot on aperture or shutter speed priority mode

You need to think fast when taking candid photos. You can choose to use either aperture priority or shutter speed priority mode. This will enable you to respond faster when capturing fleeting moments.

In low light situations, use aperture priority. Shutter speed priority is used to freeze a motion.

Turn your camera on burst mode

It’s never easy to shoot candid. Sometimes the candid moment is just a fraction after you press the shutter button. Set your camera to burst mode, and don’t forget to hold the shutter button down for as long as you can. It’s impossible to predict when that moment will arrive.

The secrets of successful family portraits and group photos

Amazing memories can be made with candid photos. If you can get everyone to pose for photos, whether it’s in a studio or at the table, then do it! It is a good idea to stage photos. This is a great way to ensure you don’t miss anyone and it works well when you only have a short time to work.

It can be difficult to take photos of large groups. Here are some tips to make the process easier.

Look for wide open spaces

Families are often in large groups and can be endless during holidays. There are too many relatives, cousins, and toddlers all over the place. What do you really need? Simple. There is plenty of space. It’s a wonderful way to capture your family on a large lawn with lots of sun.

You should look for large open spaces with lots of light and uncluttered backgrounds. A drone can be used to capture zoom-out photos of family members, as well as images for large events such weddings. You can capture your little moments and make a baby record that will last a lifetime.

Use the right gear

A wide angle lens can be used to frame the whole family if you’re a DSLR user. It is best to take photos from close to your phone. To get better clarity, you can use your phone to take as many family photos in studio style.

Let everyone be aware

It can be a great idea to inform your family that you are going to do a photoshoot with them for a holiday or occasion. Although it may seem trivial, if you’ve ever been the family photographer, you’ll be familiar with the sound of your feet as you attempt to capture a candid photo of a mom, aunt, or uncle who is not quite ready. You can ask them to wear their Sunday best and their most colorful hats. Then, warn them that you will be clicking away. If they are told in advance, they will be happier to click.

Take lots of group photos!

Don’t leave any man behind. Family photos are about capturing every brother, sister, father and cousin in one image. If you are the photographer, then don’t be afraid to use your phone camera. Panorama is the perfect tool for you. You should sneak into crowds and shout for groups to get together for a click.

DSLR family portrait tips for taking group shots

It is difficult to photograph a large group. It can take time to get everyone in the right place and poses, and people will always move at the wrong times. It takes patience and time, but there are some tips that will make group photo sessions easier.

When possible, use a tripod 

A tripod is a great tool to give your tired arms some relief and also show your family that you care. You have to slow down to check your settings, examine the composition, and adjust the exposure. A tripod allows you to see your subject from a different angle, so your eyes can make eye contact. Your family will be more comfortable looking at you than staring directly into your lens.

Shoot manual

You are the designated photographer and have full control over all elements of setting up your camera. This includes choosing the right time of day and location. After you have set it up, you won’t have to change the exposure. The camera may choose to expose each frame in a different mode depending on whether it is set up in aperture or shutter priority.

Consistent exposures can lead to more work in post processing. This can also cause slight color shifts, noise increases (if underexposed), or other undesirable effects. Manual mode allows you to keep the exposures constant throughout the entire shoot.

Lock the Focus

The focus lock, back button or manual focus can be used to lock the focus. Using any one of these options, your focus will not change from one shot to the next. You can get blurred photos if you use the shutter button for focus, and someone moves so the focus dot hits against the background. Be sure to keep your focus on the photo and make sure it doesn’t auto-shift.

Choose the right aperture

To get your subjects in focus, shoot at f/2.8 if they are all on the same focal plane (lining up in one line). If you have large groups, increase your aperture to f/4.0. However, if you are uncomfortable with that, you can always opt for f/5.6. You can increase the aperture to f/5.6 if there are too many rows.

The highest aperture of a lens is not its sharpest (e.g. f/22). It’s not f/8 or f/11 for most lenses. If you are concerned about getting the perfect picture of your family, you can use something within that range.

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