With Thanksgiving this week, you’ll likely have lots of kids and family in one place. And everyone knows what happens when everyone is together: Pictures, pictures and more pictures. Whether you’re getting a group together for a photograph for grandma for Christmas or just trying to get all the kids in one frame looking at the camera, these tips from professional photographer Daneen Augello will ensure that your family portrait comes out looking like your Pinterest board. (Or, realistically, at least not like a Pinterest Fail.)
5 Tips for Family Photos
1. Prevent crankiness. If you have young children who take naps, schedule the photoshoot for 45 minutes past nap times.
2. Snap before you eat. That way you don’t have to worry about food stains or that post-meal tired feeling we adults get after eating. Snacks are okay to bring on set in case of emergency. You never know when someone might need to eat a little something. Be sure though that the food you bring won’t leave stains or greasy messy hands. My favorite snack options are carrot sticks, dried simple cereal, nuts, raisins, and definitely bring water. After the shoot, treat everyone to a nice meal. Not only will everyone be on their best behavior knowing food is right around the corner, but during the meal, you can use this moment to bond some more and talk about your favorite moments.
3. Skip the props. If you are having more than eight people in the frame, skip the props and instead focus on your location. You don’t need any extras like bales of hay or a gigantic Christmas tree taking up precious restate. Think simple and clean, regardless of how many people are in the photo. This applies to everything — clothing, background and poses.
4. Channel your inner fashionista. The clothing your family chooses can really improve the overall look. When choosing a look for your family, instead of wearing matching outfits, coordinate your colors or an article of clothing. This creates cohesion. For instance, a great holiday look could be red and gold. Try to limit your colors to no more than four. Jeans are also a great way to create a uniform look, but still keep the casual vibe.
5. Have a plan. Having a plan is essential; the devil is in the details. If you are choosing a location outside your home or backyard, is it “legal” to photograph there, will you need a permit, are there accessible bathrooms, will it be too crowded? What time is sunset for the day you schedule? Are your batteries charged, is your memory card empty? Have a rain date if you plan to shoot outdoors. Is your furry child part of the picture, if so, does the location you chose allows dogs? Also, include everyone in the picture to share their ideas and suggestions. During the shoot, you can try a few different poses and ideas. If you prepare the little details ahead of time, you will be very happy with the outcome.
What have you done that makes family photos easier to get? I would add one big tip to this list: Make sure you have help when you’re getting the kids ready. That way, one person can be on Keep Kids Clean duty while you get ready yourself. I didn’t have my husband with me during a family photo session and I don’t think I stopped sweating until hours after all was said and done! —Erin