Photographing families can be a little tricky. Most families don’t have professional pictures taken on a daily basis and are unsure of how to act and where to look. For some families, it may even be their first time getting portraits done. People aren’t always comfortable in front of the camera and that can show through in their pictures. It’s important to make sure that the family you are working with is comfortable and relaxed so that their portraits don’t look forced and cheesy. There is nothing more unflattering then a picture where everyone has the word chees plastered across their face. Here a couple great tips to help spark emotion and get some natural interactions between family members so your photos come out great!
If you are walking to a new location, switching outfits or taking a water break , use that time to snap a few shots. Move back away from the family and just let them do their thing. You will capture the family more relaxed and just being real with each other. The lighting may not be perfect, and you may not get the ideal family portrait, but you will capture some true moments and some of those moments may end up being the best pictures.
A simple way to encourage interaction between family members is to just ask! Once you have the family posed in the area you want you can prompt them by saying things like, “group hug!” or “kiss mom on the cheek”. If you are photographing a family with younger kids, you can make a game of it. Sometimes I tell the kids we will play a game similar to simon says and they have to listen really close. I will shout out one of their names and then tell them what action to do (ex: hug mom, kiss your sister, tickle dad, etc.) . Kids love playing games and this always evokes laughter, giggles and fun.
Bring out your inner comedian while photographing a family. This will relax the family and may spark some natural emotion . It’s easier to get kids to laugh. Say funny words, make funny faces, sing or dance around. Make fun of yourself. Children are generally easier to make laugh as long as you aren’t scared to act a little silly. For parents it can be a little trickier. One thing that I do to moms and dads near the end of the session, when they are getting tired of keeping their kids on their best behavior is to have them look at each other. As the kids are playing around them I just say “remember back to the time before you had kids.” This almost always evokes laughs and smiles and sometimes you can almost see the reminiscing in their eyes.
My name is Emily Supiot and I am the photographer at Cozy Clicks Photography in Phoenix, Arizona. I specialize in family and child photography. I use mostly natural light and backgrounds that are native to the Arizona deserts.. I am also a mom to four little ones all under the age of seven. I am a former preschool teacher and part time child development professor. Other than gorgeous family and child featured sessions, my blog also includes tutorials, fun activities for kids, local Phoenix event coverage and product reviews.
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