Thursday, 17 December 2015

12 days of Christmas photography tips. Day five, tip five: The traditional family portrait

Day five, tip five: The traditional family portrait (Part 1)

Group Shots the perils of.

Let me paint the picture. It is Christmas or New Year and you have all your precious family members under the same roof, loved ones you rarely see any other times of the year and it's just fabulous and then predictably someone yells those infamous words, 'family photo guys'. Groan.

Groan indeed! Everyone has to get up from their comfy, hard fort for seats, put down that cuppa/glass of wine and, god forbid, head outside without a coat on for an inordinate amount of faffing, freezing and eventual photo taking.

Do let me help you with this this year.  

First of all you don't have to all headoutside for a freeze feast to get a fab family photo.

Take a look at some of these ideas I've borrowed from google for you. 
Both of these are family photos taken around the table before Christmas dinner and to make them work you just need to think a little about the arrangement of people.

If you fancy giving this type of photo (above) ago then simply make sure your glass, arm or hand is not obscuring anyone's face. You could try keeping the glasses low but bringing them all into the centre of the table as if you are about to toast one another,.

This photo, aside from being hilarious, is a good example of how to arrange a bigger table of Christmas guests. Very often in this sort of scenario people are craning their neck so they can be seen by the camera which often acts to obscure other people from the shot. So, make sure the people at the front pull their seats out from the table about a seats width. Then the people at the back need to push themselves right in to the table and the people in between must make sure they fall into this diagonal line. Finally you then all need to sit up  straight - no leaning in and you should get a lovely family portrait.

Lighting wise, with all indoor shots unless you are taking this shot during daylight hours and happen to have a very well lit room from daylight you will have to put all the main lights on and side lamps too. 

Heading Outside

Sticking with the formal family portrait arrangement there are real benefits to taking a family portrait outside, so long as it's not dark and not raining (not always an easy combination of variables to avoid in the UK).

Family photos outside tend to be better for three reasons.
1. Choice of backdrop in nature especially if you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing shot.
2. If you have a very large family it's not always easy to photograph everyone well indoors so outside spaces work better
3. Becuase of the light.

Why not attempt a photo on a post Christmas lunch walk? Again the key to fabulous family photos is planning- do you have somewhere picturesque in mind like my photo below taken on a scenic river walk. Additionally, make sure there are no distractions in the background and for the most aesthetically pleasing images, the one heading for a frame and the mantelpiece, the arrangement of people needs to be symmetrical.

Sometimes, those old School photos generally have this right – tall people at the back, shorties at the front. Use chairs, use steps, if outside, have little ones on shoulders – so long as you can clearly see everyone’s faces you in with a shot of a decent photo.

Final mini Tip: Anyone will know who has used me, with family photos involving lots of people, you cant go wrong with a 1,2, 3 count in to make sure everyone is looking at the camera and preferably smiling at the same time. This is becuase smiles fade and start to look fake the longer you have to keep holding them. A smile after three can be met with real enthusiasm.....and yes, with a count in you leave yourself wide open to that one person – we all know who they are, who is likely to pull a ridiculous face on ‘3’ but if that happens keep snapping for the genuine laughter that follows from everyone is definitely worth capturing.

If you try any of these tips do send me your photos I'd love to see them and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

However, if you are in that, 'OMG, I totally want a great family photo' place but are overwhelmed by doing it yourself then never fear, help is here! Click here to contact me so you can check this off your list. Easy Peasey

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