How to take great family photos

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Whether you have a new baby, toddlers, or older children, family photos are a great way to capture precious moments that you can look back on for years to come. Most phones and devices have high-quality cameras, making it easier than ever to snap a memory at the click of a button. 

Sharing photos is also a brilliant way to stay connected with loved ones. And right now, keeping in contact digitally is more important than ever. As social distancing measures continue, it can be tricky to see friends and family in person. 

Children grow up so quickly! Sending grandparents photo updates can be a lovely way of making sure they don’t miss out on your little one’s progress. 

In this post, we’re looking at 8 great photography tips and tricks to help you get perfect family snaps every time!

Photography principles

There are a few main factors to consider when you’re embarking on any sort of photography, whether you’re putting together a dedicated photoshoot or capturing spontaneous moments.

Consider the lighting

Photography itself is effectively capturing light! Therefore, the light available is a crucial factor in taking photos and can massively alter the results. Well placed lighting can add depth to your photo, making it more interesting to look at. The position of the light source can completely change the way the subjects interact with the background.

Start off by using natural light sources. Natural sunlight outdoors is easiest to work with as it surrounds the entire area you wish to photograph. If indoors, try taking photos by a large window.

Think about your composition

Composition is the layout of your photograph — how the elements within it are arranged. A good basic principle is to stick with is the Rule of Thirds. This rule essentially asks you to imagine your photo is divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, so you end up with a grid of 9 even squares. 

The idea is to keep your image’s points of interest at the intersections of the lines for a more balanced and engaging shot. The eye naturally travels to those parts of the ‘grid’ rather than the centre of the image.

Get to know your camera settings

Whether you’re using a professional camera, your phone, or another device, take a bit of time to explore which settings are available to you. This may be as basic as knowing how to turn the flash on and off on your phone camera, or adjusting the shutter speed if you’re using an SLR camera.

Knowing what your camera can and can’t do allows you to make the most of the available features. Practice using different settings at different times of day to see how varied lighting affects the results.

Take a look at these 12 photography tips for beginners from Digital Camera World for a more in-depth look at camera basics.

8 tips for taking great photos of your baby or toddler

1. Choose an interesting location

If you’re setting up a more traditional photo shoot dedicated to taking pictures of your little ones, choose a location that the family feels comfortable in and that adds an interesting background. Although your children are the main focal points of the image, the surroundings play a significant role too.

2. Let your children play

It can be frustrating when you’ve unexpectedly got a great photo set up — the lighting is excellent, your toddler is looking like a cherub — and then they run off! But taking family photos is about capturing the moment as it is, rather than manipulating it into the perfect portrait. Enjoy the time together and work with what you’ve got. You might get some unplanned gems!

3. Give your little one somewhere to sit

If you do want a more traditional portrait, try offering your child somewhere to sit. This allows you to get the composition you want, as the subject is static rather than moving around. It can also be a good solution if your little one is getting tired.

4. Encourage interaction

Children are likely to get bored just standing and posing. Encouraging them to play with siblings or a parent not only captures a beautiful relationship but can also prevent them from losing interest and getting grumpy. 

Similarly, interacting with the environment around them adds an interesting dynamic. If you’re taking a photograph outside, see what happens when your child leans down to look at a flower or tries to jump in puddles! Indoors, a photo of them looking out the window can provide an opportunity for some interesting reflections.

5. Give them a prop 

Another way of utilising interaction is to provide your baby or toddler with a toy or something to play with. Again this gives them something to focus on and might just keep them still long enough for you to get that winning image!

6. Get down on their level

Exploring different perspectives can provide an interesting visual aesthetic within your photos. Kneeling down to be at the same height of your child also allows you to capture the world as they see it.

7. Focus on the eyes

When looking at a portrait, our attention is naturally drawn to the eyes. Adjusting the camera’s lens to focus on your child’s eyes, rather than any other surrounding features, can make them stand out and lead to a more captivating image.

8. Don’t go overboard with editing

It can be tempting to add a filter to your photo or adjust the contrast and exposure to the extreme. However, while editing can help you make the most of your image, too much adjusting can distract the viewer from the picture’s real focus: your family. 

Filters can also date your photos. Looking back in years to come, you might be able to pinpoint the exact year of your image just from the ‘Instagram Gingham’ effect! 

Photo sharing 

Photography is a fascinating and fulfilling hobby. Learning just a few fundamental principles can really elevate your pictures and change the way you capture family memories.

Once you’ve got your beautiful images, there are lots of ways you can share them with your loved ones. If printing physical copies or photo books, check the file size of your image first. Higher quality images work best as they’re less likely to be pixelated. 

You can also organise and share your lovely images with friends and family on your MySunshine timeline! If you have the app on an Android device, you can upload photos directly from Google photos. 

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