8 Tips for Capturing Family Portraits as a Professional Photographer
Family photography is one of the most profitable types of photography. Most families enjoy doing photoshoots together, and even if it's not something they do regularly, it's usually still a part of their holiday plans. Therefore, when you do a great job, you can often end up with long-term clients who will stick with you for years to come. But what makes a great family portrait? And how can you be a great family photographer?
This article will explain what family photography is and why it's important. We’ll also go over eight tips and tricks that you can use to take your family portrait shoots to the next level.
What is Family Photography?
Family photography is a branch of professional photography specifically focused on photographing families. Family photography includes group family portraits, and portraits of just the parents and children. Generally speaking, the goal of family photography is to capture real, genuine moments between the family members.
These are often memories that will be cherished for years to come. If you love people and love the idea of creating memories for them to cherish, then family photography can be a great option for you. It’s a chance to make a profitable career doing something you love.
Why is Family Photography Important?
Family portraits are often cherished by your clients for a lifetime. Family photography is a type of photography that has immense sentimental value to clients, and as such, it's a special art that requires a lot of time and practice to perfect.
That said, when you get it right, you’ll know that you’ve created something special for the family, and that can be very rewarding. Therefore, let’s look at eight great tips that will help you capture amazing family portraits.
Choose the Right Location
The location you choose can make or break your shoot. You want a place that is free from crowds and has minimum noise while still providing plenty of options for different types of shots. It should also be a place that is easily accessible so that you can complete the shoot in one go.
A great place to start is with your client's home. If you can shoot there, you'll remove a ton of distractions, and your clients will feel much more comfortable and relaxed. If they have a nice backyard, that's even better as there are more options for different kinds of shots, both indoor and outdoor. If your clients would rather utilize a studio, this is great as well and will give you full control over the lighting.
Use the Right Lens
When it comes to family portrait photography, you'll want to use a lens that can get close to your clients while still being wide enough to fit the whole family in easily. A 50mm lens is a great choice for this type of shoot because it can get in nice and close while also allowing you to capture more of the surrounding area. It also offers a wide enough view to easily fit the whole family into the shot.
You'll also want to use a lens with a slightly wide aperture to easily blur the background and make your subjects stand out. A lens with an aperture of f/1.8 or f/2.0 will work perfectly for this. The wider aperture will allow more light to hit your sensor and make it easier to get a good shot in challenging lighting conditions.
Lighting is Everything
If you don't have great lighting for your shoot, you might as well not take the photos at all. You can have the best composition and pose in the world, but if your subjects are too dark, no one will be able to see them. You can't control every aspect of your shoot, but you can control the lighting.
All you need is a simple lighting kit that will allow you to adjust the lighting in any room. If you don't want to buy a lighting kit, you can also use the light from a nearby window. Just make sure that it isn't too bright, or it will cast harsh shadows on your subjects' faces. Alternatively, you can use a reflector to diffuse the light and make it easier on your subjects.
Pose People in a Flattering Way
Most families have at least one person who isn't comfortable in front of the camera. Whether that person is shy or just not used to having their photo taken, it's important to find a way to make them feel more relaxed. The best way to do this is to avoid a stiff, posed look and go for a more casual, natural feel instead.
You can achieve this by letting your clients move around and change positions. This will also help you avoid awkward group shots. You can also use props to add a bit of silliness to the shoot and help your clients feel less self-conscious. They don't have to be anything fancy; kids' toys or household items will often do the trick.
Let Kids Be Themselves
One of the most important parts of shooting family portraits is making sure that the kids are comfortable. As long as you have a decent amount of space and privacy, you can often get great photos by letting the kids do what they want. Try engaging in a few activities with the kids before you start taking pictures. You can also try letting the kids play with props that might be relevant to their interests (a small soccer ball, a teddy bear, etc.)
Always Use a Tripod
A lot of amateur photographers are tempted to take family portraits without a tripod. They may feel that it will slow them down or that it’s less convenient. This is a mistake. Using a tripod will help you shoot much better family portraits. It will allow you to focus more on the composition of your photos and less on the camera settings.
A tripod will also help you eliminate any camera shake and blurring that may occur while shooting. This is important, as any blurriness will be distracting and take away from the photos themselves. Using a tripod will also help you shoot your photos with more consistency, which will result in a more cohesive family portrait series.
Shoot In RAW Format
RAW format images are more robust than JPEG. If you're photographing in RAW, you're able to push your exposure up much more than if you're shooting in JPEG. This is important when photographing families because you can expect a lot of movement and energy during the shoot.
RAW format will also give you more leeway if you're shooting indoors and have poor lighting. It will allow you to bring out more details in the shadows and highlights. RAW format is also great for retouching. If you need to make some minor adjustments to the photos, you'll have more leeway to make changes without sacrificing quality.
Make Sure the Shoot is Fun
The best way to make sure that your shoot is fun is to clearly communicate what type of feel you're going for with the shoot. For example, you can let your clients know that you're aiming for a more formal shoot that emphasizes their personalities. Or you can opt for a more playful shoot. But whatever you choose, make sure your clients are relaxed and having a good time.
The best way to get your clients to relax and have fun is to make sure that you're having fun first. If you're worried about getting the perfect shot, your clients will probably pick up on that and won't enjoy themselves. So, make sure you're having a good time and that your clients can tell.
Family photography is an important and lucrative field, and it can be very rewarding. The key to shooting great family photos is to make sure that you get everyone in the group comfortable and engaged. It takes time, patience, and a lot of practice, but if you put these tips and tricks into practice, you’ll be shooting great family portraits in no time.