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Taking a family portrait is a recording moment of a family harmonious photo. Many families want to show their happy moments by this way, but how to make family portrait look more beautiful and eye-catching? Here are some tips for family portrait photography.

Know the Family You Are Photographing
No matter what kind of photography work is performed, communication beforehand is very important, and the same is true for family portrait photography. As a photographer, you must take the initiative to understand the needs of clients, such as the aim to take a family portrait, is there any style they want to present, are there any special uses for the photos taken, what scenes they want to shoot in? Maybe your clients will have no idea at the beginning, but photographers can guide them through communication, and good shooting ideas may be born in the process. The style and purpose of the family portrait needs to be communicated with the client in advance.



Choose the Right Outfits
Perhaps some clients will ask their family members to wear so-called family uniforms. Sometimes in order to show a certain style or the relationship between the color of the photo, the photographer also hopes that the client will not have too much difference in the costume, which is also a part of communication. Sometimes if the regulations are too strict, it may cause disputes within the family, such as someone unwilling to match the clothes, etc., and may affect the mood of the clients. You can try to give them clothing arrangement suggestions based on color, so that different family members can have more choices of clothing, while creating harmonious photos, they can also wear their own style.



Equipment for Family Portraits
If you are shooting in a studio, all the standard portrait rules apply. You'll want a sturdy tripod, strobes, softboxes or beauty dishes, reflectors, and backgrounds. When there are a lot of people to be photographed, you can divide the people into several rows. Pay attention to the number of people in each row. You can use the triangle composition commonly used in composition to lay out the shooting structure. You can lay out the characters into triangles or inverted triangles, which makes the picture more tidy and comfortable. Among family members, there must be tall and short people. At this time, a height arrangement should be made.



Use ISO to Your Advantage
If you take a group photo indoors, it is easy to cause red eyes for the subject, especially in a dark environment with flash photography. Using flash will make the originally dim scene even darker, so the effect of shooting will not be good. So we should turn off the flash, switch to a bright scene and increase the ISO sensitivity. You can also use a large aperture and a slower shutter to shoot. When the background is dark, even the background light is darker than the subject, if you want to use the camera's global metering mode to shoot, you will lose a large part of the details because of the over-brightness. Therefore, we'd better choose spot metering mode for shooting, and place the metering spot on the face of the person to get the accuracy of the exposure of the whole subject.



Camera's White Balance Setting
Although the automatic white balance is very useful, it needs to be adjusted to manual white balance to shoot in many scenes. For example, when some lights are yellowish, the color of the lights will affect the white balance. This is no longer sufficient for automatic white balance, so we need to adjust to manual white balance for shooting. The angle of view also has a great influence on the effect of shooting. The regular group photo and family portrait can no longer satisfy people's appreciation level. So it's best to change a perspective and use a new perspective and way to layout and shoot. For example, you can use looking up or looking down to shoot, so that you can clearly portray the expression of people.



Find a Perfect Background
As Helene McGuire mentioned i her Blog, “You will be asked to shoot at the park or the family home 75% of the time, but throwing in a fun/gritty wall adds interesting textures. An old wood fence, a graffiti wall, even a plain concrete or brick wall will create an urban grit, framing the family without taking anything away from them. Letting them decide a few shots has many benefits. Make it personal to them, giving them a feeling of owning the shoot, turning their mood around.” If you are bothered by finding the perfect background for shooting, it is better to try the backdrops. Dbackdrop provides many types of photography backdrops, no matter your are looking for solid color backdrop, pattern backdrop, vintage backdrop or themed backdrop.



Family portrait shooting can be fully refined from the costumes, shooting angles and skills, and you can also use props to make the picture more interesting. Such creative shooting will add more fun to the family photography.

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Helene McGuire

a portrait, street and landscape photographer. Originally from Paris (France), she now lives in the NY-NJ area with her husband and three children. Born and raised in a family of artists and intellectuals, she went to Law School, traveled the world, worked for NGOs and Public Health before going back to her artistic roots. Her style blends in her life story, with a fascination for people and a love of old school black and white.

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