It’s a major holiday, and the whole family is here! Not just the close relatives, but the cousins that no one sees any other time of year. You think to yourself, ‘What a great opportunity to finally take that family picture we always say we should!’ So after dinner you grab your trusty camera and tell everyone to gather in the living room.
Your large family crowds around the couch that grandpa is sleeping on. They argue over who should stand where and who should sit. After they finally get situated you tell them to smile, and look at you. The flash fires and everyone scatters faster then you’ve ever seen them move before.
Later that night you look at the picture, and are horrified at what you find. Half the family had their eye closed and the other half was looking the other direction! The glare from Uncle Fred’s head made half the image blown out, and the shadow behind aunt Margaret’s bee hive hair blackened out the face of cousin Teddy! And to top it all off you didn’t even get to be in the picture!
I certainly hope this hasn’t happened to you! But if it has, I’m here to help! Below you’ll find 5 tips on how to take better family pictures at your next celebration.
1. Take Photos Before you Eat
If your family is anything like mine, there is never a shortage of food at holiday celebrations. We’ve all heard of the phrase “food coma” and that definitely applies here. You don’t want you family looking like a bunch of half asleep couch potatoes, so I recommend taking photos BEFORE the food is served. Everyone will look more chipper, awake and attentive on an empty stomach.
2. Use Different Furniture to Put People at Different Heights
There is always the argument of who gets to sit, who has to stand, and who has to sit on the floor. This doesn’t have to be an argument! Provide different levels of furniture; like a couch, bar stools, and kitchen chairs. This method allows everyone to be a slightly different levels and will look much better when printed. It also allows more people to sit and be more comfortable for the photos. Plus no more helping Aunt Margaret up off the floor is an added bonus!
3. Use Windows for Light
Open up those curtains and let there be light! By allowing light to come in from the outside you get a nice, soft, natural looking light that is much less harsh then a cameras flash. Flash often casts strange shadows on the wall behind the subjects; window light will not do that. All in all more natural light is better light!
4. Use a Tripod and Timer So You Can be In the Picture Too
If anyone deserves to be in the family picture its you! After all you are the hero who decided to preserve this day in history with a photograph! Almost all cameras have a built in self-timer that is very easy to operate. Once the family is set up, put your camera on a tripod (or whatever equivalent you have) and start the self-timer! Just make sure to allow yourself enough time to get into position.
5. Don’t make it a big production
If there is one thing dads and grandpas all around the world hate, it’s a big production.
This photo shoot can’t take long if you expect to keep the whole family’s attention.
Get everything set up and ready to go before asking them to get into position. This way to them it only takes a few painless minutes. After you are sure the pictures look good, let them on their way to eat, drink, and be merry!
I really hope these tips helped you out some! Let me know if you used these tips or if you have any of your own. Happy holidays!!!!
If you have any questions on taking photos for the holidays just post a comment and I will do my best to answer them!
©Rachel Amelio Photography
Lehigh Valley, PA