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Shooting Tips

5 More Simple Tips For Taking Great Family Portraits

By Michelle Ford on February 20th 2014

In the last episode on family portraits, we covered 5 simple tips on getting natural looking shots. Check out the article and video here.

The last video produced some great questions, so we’ve answered a few of them in this second article. Here are 5 more tips to help you take great family portraits.

Watch the Video

5 More Simple Tips For Taking Great Family Portraits

1. Creating Levels

Bring along a chair, ladder, box, crate, or anything that allows people to sit or stand on it to create a variation in levels and poses. It gives you an anchor for your compositions. It also allows you to get creative with levels without compromising posing. If you want to have fun with it, try doing a musical chair game to get some off-the-cuff shots.

creating levels

2. Bring Some Props

When children are involved, try to coordinate with the parents to bring props or toys to help the shoot go smoothly. A favorite blankie or toy will go a long way to ensure that children are comfortable in front of the camera. These items are part of their story. Instruments or items that children are interested in can help to expand the collection of images and creates natural photos when the subject is engaged in an activity.

props for children

Toys to keep children engaged

3. Portraits With Grandparents

Be aware of your subject’s limitations. Some of our elderly clients might be fragile or less mobile. It helps to position them first and integrate the rest of the family around them to complete the composition. Having a chair or stool also comes in handy in this situation.

granparents in portraits grandparents in portraits

4. Portraits with Infants

Infants in this case are defined as children that are not old enough to sit up on their own. Make the baby the anchor of the photo. First step is to select who will hold the baby. Then, spend time to position the baby and the person carrying the baby since this is the toughest piece of the puzzle. Add your other subjects around them to complete your composition.

[PRODUCT HIGHLIGHT: Learn more posing techniques and more in our Newborn Photography Workshop Collection and LR Presets]

Infants in Portraits Infants in Portraits5. Monitor Your Time

There is a definite time limit when shooting families. Be aware that children have a finite energy window and parents have an even shorter one. Parents are constantly worrying that their children will stop cooperating, so know that they are on high alert and stressing. Try to keep family shoots (of 6 people or less) under 45 minutes. Spend the first 5 minutes on warm up shots. Safe shots and must-have images should be completed in the first 20 minutes and everything after that is gravy. As a professional photographer, you need to know when to stop. An efficient shooter gets bonus points from the parents if the shoot is done before everyone’s time limit is up.

family portrait tips

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed these 5 tips. Keep the questions and comments coming. And for more video tutorials, check out SLR Lounge’s YouTube page.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Michelle is a Southern California Portrait and Wedding Photographer. When she’s not geeking out with a camera she’s nerding out in her IT world. All other moments in the day are spent with her two wonderful children.

See her work on The COCO Gallery
check out her blog at frexNgrin

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Great tips.

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  2. Kayode Olorunfemi

    Great tips… will be using them on m shoot today!

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  3. Rafael Steffen

    Love this article because there are so many different and fun ways to pose family! Thanks for reming us!

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  4. Hanssie

    Great simple tips. I always forget the prop though. Ugh

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