How to Take Your Own Family Photo | Personally Andrea: How to Take Your Own Family Photo

How to Take Your Own Family Photo

Saturday, November 23, 2013 by
Besides vacations, isn’t Christmas the next most popular time to want a family photo?  To include in Christmas cards, to frame as gifts for parents and grandparents.  Kind of an end-of-the-year milestone, right?  OK well obviously it’s just me who wants the photo and sends the cards and figures out the gifts for the parents and grandparents.  And cares about milestones.  Not anyone else in the family.  Some years it works out to have a portrait professionally done.  But most years I’ve gotten into the practice of setting ourselves up to take a family photo at home, and with a bit of experience it’s gotten easier each time. 

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I’ll share a few tips and tricks with you, and you can figure out how to make them work for you and come up with a great photo too.  If you play your cards right, it can become relatively painless and everyone will get used to the drill.

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As with anything in life, a little bit of prep work goes a long way towards a happy ending.  Here’s what you need to do ahead of time.  Number One, find a location.  Scope out a spot around your home, or at least close by.  Outdoor natural light is the easiest to work in.  If it’s a super bright day then find a shady spot.  Around here most fall days are pretty overcast which makes for easy even lighting in any location.

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Two, research some poses.  Pinterest is a great resource.  Look for examples that resemble your family in terms of numbers and ages.  Here are a few to get you started, but search by the parameters that apply to your situation.  Also this smartphone app gives a lot of helpful examples and you can “favourite” the ones you want to try.

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Three,  outfits.  Again a little research is easy if you’re stuck for ideas.  Colour schemes abound on Pinterest to give you a starting point.  Spend a bit of time shopping your family’s closets so that everyone will know what to wear.  Consider the weather and add layers, mitts, hats and scarves if you need.  If you’re like us you’ll probably get some resistance on this one.  I don’t get it.  What’s the big deal?  Negotiate what you can and then go with it.  If you need to crop out everyone’s shoes after the fact because Someone wouldn’t co-operate then so be it.  If you persevere then after several family photos you may even have everyone asking…Where’s the stuff I have to wear?  Then you can smirk silently to yourself and answer cheerfully…They’re laid out on my bed.

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Then when you’re ready to roll, set up your camera.  Either on a tripod or some other sturdy surface like a table, retaining wall, trampoline, whatever you have.  Set it to release multiple exposures, either on a self-timer or by remote, whichever you have.  Take. Lots. Of. Pictures.  The more you take the more likely you are to have some that you like.  Might as well get as much mileage out of the situation as you can.

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If you have a dog that needs to be in the photo I feel your pain.  Does anyone know a dog command for Sit Facing The Other Way?  Seriously.  Help me.

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When you’re all set then get the camera shooting.  After a few exposures, check to make sure that everything looks good and that you are also properly posed if you’ve set the self-timer then run into the picture.  Relax and make sure you are smiling!  While photos of un-cooperative children can be humorous and maybe even adorable, photos of you shouting at them are never cool.

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Then keep taking pictures as long as everyone can bear it.  By the time we were done, this photo shoot cost me $15 in bribery money, after some serious negotiation, plus a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Oh well, I can live with that.  You can decide what your pictures would be worth to you.

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You might even humour someone by letting them have the camera.  I’ll say it again, taking lots of pictures will be your saving grace in the end.

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If you’re wishing for a family portrait this year but haven’t got one yet, this is your help and inspiration.  There are still four weekends left before Christmas…go for it and good luck!

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