Props. Not the fist-bump kind. The kind for using in a photo shoot.
Of course, “photo shoot” is possibly an elaborate term for trying to get the family to co-operate for a current family picture for the Christmas card. However…in real life this scenario can be an unnecessary stress, and a few props will make your life easier and your photo better. So here we go.
First of all, outdoor overcast light in an open space is the easiest to photograph in. No weird shadows, no squinting.
Secondly, if your backdrop is NOT something fabulous like the Rocky Mountains or a Caribbean beach, then try to make it as simple as possible…fence, brick wall, hedge, etc.
Third, props. Two things…something on which people can sit, perch or lean…and something simple that lends purpose or timeliness to the photo. In this case the bench from the deck and a little fir tree borrowed out of the indoor decor.
Set up. Even a little bit of thought and prep will help this go a lot more smoothly. One co-operative assistant is also useful. Warn everyone ahead of time so all the groaning and eye-rolling is out of the way. Pick through their closets (or floors) and find what you want them to wear. Set up your camera. Explain to each one where and how they will sit. Then let them chill while you figure out the last details of focus, exposure, timer/remote. And you’re ready to go.
Not perfect. It was –3C and it did actually start precipitating some frozen substance. Husband forgot to fix the boot/pantleg situation. Two other shots were maybe better but The Dog wasn’t looking. And see how happy everyone looks!?! It’s worthy of being sent out to the family and friends who love you. Some may even keep it on their fridge for an entire year. All for zero expense and a little time and effort on your part.
We wish you a Merry Christmas.