There’s nothing like capturing the perfect family photo. Forever memorializing the unique characteristics and personalities of your family, both individually and as a whole, creates a treasured keepsake that will pass the test of time. Actually getting that perfect photo can be a different story. With different ages, temperaments, and maturity levels needing to all cooperate at the same time, it can be difficult to create a photo that is truly exceptional. If you take some time to plan, you’ll be much more likely to achieve the spectacular results you’re looking for.
Respect Everyone’s Time
The most likely occasion for a family photo is a major family gathering. Typically, these involve a lot of activities besides getting together for a family photo. In fact, for many of your family members, a family photo is on the bottom of their priority list. With that in mind, it’s important you respect everyone’s time to ensure the smiles they’re showing in the picture are as sincere as possible.
If some family members show up right on time, but others are running late, let the on-timers go back to doing what they were previously doing, so long as they don’t go far. That way, they can enjoy some extra time doing what they came for, and you get a chance to track down all those stragglers. Maybe have the portrait done right after an activity where everyone is together like a big brunch or outdoor activity.
Keep on Top of Your Subjects
Again, since taking a family photo typically doesn’t sit very high on many people’s priority list, you will have to keep after your family members to ensure they all assemble in the correct location at the correct time. Be sure you have everyone’s cell phone number, a good chat app, data plan, and easy-to-find location. Read reviews on the location, the cell service in the area and wireless phone reviews if you’ll be in an unfamiliar place.
Have a Plan
Assembling for a group photo often starts out well, but as the photographer makes adjustments, the people in the group start to get restless. Plan for this by positioning your camera in a place where you’ll have good lighting and a pleasant background. Position it exactly where you’ll have it when you take the photos, then note the boundaries of what the camera can see.
Mark these boundaries using tape or some other marker, so when everyone shows up, they’ll know exactly how tightly they need to “squeeze in”. Note who will likely need to stand in the back and who will need to kneel in the front. If you take charge the moment people start arriving, they’re more likely to heed your instructions for the duration of the photo shoot.
Taking a family photo can be a weighty responsibility. After all, this exact group of people might never be able to be together again. Don’t let the pressure of the moment get to you. Understand how your camera works prior to beginning the photo shoot, so you won’t be adjusting settings with everyone already in place.
Don’t waffle, but instead project confidence: confidence that you know what you’re doing, and confidence that you’re getting the perfect shot. Then just take as many pictures as you can before the youngest and most-easily-distracted begin to lose interest. Your confidence will translate to relaxation on the part of the family, resulting in more genuine smiles in the pictures that are taken.
With confidence, planning, and knowledge comes freedom. Enjoy the task that’s been set before you, knowing that you’re as prepared as you could possibly be. Make plans for how the pictures will be reproduced, framed and distributed as well. After all the work is done, having a plan for the finished product will make your life so much easier.