Family Photo Session on Father’s Day
This father’s day weekend we took the time out to do have our annual family photo session. It was fun, it was hot, it was challenging but as you can see, we got it done. A lot of people have asked me how I manage to shoot our family portraits and get the images to look as thought it were taken by a professional. Firstly, I am a professional so this comes natural to me, however, please understand that it doesn’t make it any easier when it is your own family. Children are children. When they are in a funky mood , they can hold on it to it, no matter how much you try to bribe them,
What I can do, is share a few things I do to increase the chances of us having a great time and beautiful images. To level the playing field, I will not talk about equipment and cameras, because I do not want to leave you hopeless. Yes, I do use a speed light (a flash off my camera), but I want to show you what you can do with what you have and for a better experience.
Planning is always key when doing a photoshoot. As you can see we have on matching shirts. In the past we have complimented each others outfit colors. This is because I planned ahead. I take a theme or a base color and follow a common theme. I had ordered specific shirts from a local vendor (IG @MollieMakesEverything) and coordinated our outfits as you can see above.
Planning also takes location and time of day into consideration. I picked a location I was familiar with and one that wouldn’t class with our outfit colors. When choosing your location, keep the following items in mind; a) Does it reflect our personality? b) Does it go with our outfit theme/colors? c) Will there be shade? How much light is there at the location? The last question is especially important if you do not have external lights or are not sure how to make your camera adjust for darker settings.
The time of day is also important because lighting and outdoor temperature can affect your image quality and your subjects (both you and your children) patience levels, respectively. In the summer months, either schedule your session for early n the morning before it gets hot or maybe 3 hours or so before sunset. Our session took place at 4pm. The sun was not directly in our faces (there were a canopy of trees close by) and the heat had begun to die down. Lastly, if you have young children, consider their routines and nap times ahead of time.
Traditional family portraits are usually posed and polished. Before you set out, reside in your self that it is okay if your portraits are not perfect, especially if you have young children. Life happens and you have to be ready for whatever it throws at you. I have found that taking candid images of my children work best for me. I can better capture their personalities, their quirks and I am able to create genuine portraits. Let your child play with their favorite toy or read their favorite book. If there is more than one child, have them play together.
My Mother’s Day portrait session included images of my daughters playing and capturing who they are daily. This has worked for me from their very young ages. Capturing them at play was the perfect scenario. I didn’t always get them to look at me. I was meeting that at their levels and stepping into their world. Once again, the images are much more authentic, genuine and less stressful for all involved. The perfect recording of your memories.
Buy In / Involve the Children
…and the adult, who may not be a portrait fan. Even as a photographer, I can get frustrated with my family not taking my direction. It happens..lol. What works for me, is that I change my camera setting so auto (which makes it easy for my husband to use) and have him take pictures of me, or myself and the girls. The pressure is off him to stand and keep smiling per se, but now he can relax and show his creativity. Will the images make it to the final cut? Maybe yes, maybe no. But the goal is for him to buy in to the session, so that he is not stressed or ready to go home after 20 mins.
When I am ready to jump into the shot, to finally make it a family portrait, I direct everyone on where to stand and place myself in place. I set my timer on my camera (which rests on a tripod) and take a practice shot. This is the part my daughters love. This now means then can go back and forth between their parents and the camera pressing the trigger. They really love it, it makes them feel important. I have two daughters so they take turns. If you happen to have a remote control, have your children take turns pressing the button.
Once again, take candid images. Play together, create silly faces or sing at the camera. It will produce laughter and it will show how relaxed you all are as opposed to singing “cheese” in harmony. Find another funny catchphrase you can agree on. The more laughing you do and more fun you experience, the more buy-in and involved everyone will be.
If you cannot be bothered with all the above, hire a professional photographer like myself to do it all for you. That way you can enjoy being 100% part of the experience and focus on your family at all times. Let’s connect. It would be my pleasure
Here is a “behind the scenes” video of what our session looked like. My youngest did pull a pouty face here and there, but when she finally got to take pictures or press the trigger, she was all smiles.
Here are a few of my favorite images from the session. I plan on adding it to our family gallery of images at home.
Additional Information (some links are monetized)
Camera Used: Nikon D700
Tripod: Geekoto 77″ Tripod
Diffuser as seen in video : Magmod 24″ Octo Pro