1. Find a portrait location and commit to it
It’s quite likely that your older relatives will have suggestions for the best place to take the family portrait. Save yourself the headache of finding a place to take the picture and get everyone together in a location that will work. If you want to take the portrait outside, be sure the location has even lighting and a simple background. If you have too many accessories in the scenery, these distractions could be a hassle during photo editing.
2. Get A Tripod
Even if you don’t want to use a tripod, it could really come in handy when you’re taking a family photo. A tripod gives you a more even angle and background, which means your pictures will look great in a gallery setting. The timer on the tripod will let you take photos without having to hand the camera off to family members who want to take turns taking pictures when all your family members aren’t prepared.
3. Keep the Lighting Simple
During the holidays, it’s cold in many areas of the country. That means taking a photo outside may be impossible, so make sure that everyone looks flattering in the picture. Choose a large light source, unless you have a big family and need more than one light. This way, you can prevent dark spaces and shadows in the photos.
4. Tell Everyone Where to Look–and Count Down
Your family members will likely be all over the place during the photo for a number of reasons. You’ve probably also taken family photos when someone wasn’t looking at the camera. Remind your family where to look, so that the photo looks professional and is to everyone’s liking. Chantale Lecours Photographe Portrait, a seasoned wedding photographer from Montreal, Canada, offers this piece of advice: “Always have a toy with you to attract young children’s attention before taking a picture. I have a plush lion that I shake over my head before snapping a shot. I look like Rafiki presenting baby Simba to the masses, but hey – whatever works.”
Count down from three before the picture to make sure that your family members aren’t blinking or looking away from the camera. Keep in mind that small children and elderly family members may still not be focused on the camera, but hopefully this will make for a candid shot that shows your family’s overall personality. Someone in the picture will probably blink as well, but if you give everyone a countdown, you can minimize this.
5. Take Lots of Shots–But Not Too Much
It’s a must that you take a lot of shots, but remember that your relatives will only tolerate so many shots. After all, everybody wants to get back to eating and watching the football game. So take as many shots as you can in a short amount of time and choose from the best ones.
6. Choose a Creative Pose
Don’t get too artistic, but make your holiday photo one of a kind by having the kids pose a certain way or putting the older family members in chairs. You can also ask your family members to wear jersey’s from your favorite family sports team or take a photo of everyone doing something that your family loves, like singing or dancing.
Most of all, make sure that you edit the photos as quickly as possible, since relatives will be asking to see the photos fast. The faster you finish the photos, the faster you can get back to enjoying the holidays.