Authored by Robert Pfromm in Photography
Published on 10-04-2010
Although it may seem cliché, “They grow up so fast!” is definitely true when it comes to children. It is no wonder that family portraits have been so popular since the dawn of photography. What are some options for memorable family photographs?
The first thing to do is to determine what sort of family portrait is desired. Some still opt for a formal photo with everyone dressed up and arranged just so. Other families would rather have a less formal picture that captures their personality. Check with friends or with family to see what they have done. Visit photography shops to get an idea of what local photographers are doing. Local magazines can often be a great source since many photographers advertise here.
Another way to get ideas is to keep track of where the family spends their time. What are their interests? If there is a favorite spot in a local park or at some other location, that can often be a good setting to capture a permanent memory. Keep an open mind and an open eye.
Take Pictures Yourself
Although not taken by a professional photographer, many of the best family pictures are taken by the family themselves. Digital cameras have been a godsend to the amateur photographer. Take as many pictures as possible. The bad ones can simply be deleted later. The more prolific the photographer, the less temptation there is to keep marginal photos. There’s no telling when that perfect composition might turn up.
Vacations, events, even trips to a local park can become opportunities for family photos. Having a smaller, more manageable digital camera means not being loaded down with equipment, and more likelihood that the camera will be out and available when the opportunity arises.
Posed Shots or Informal?
Posing a subject is a science in and of itself. Actually, it is more of an art form, and one that many people never master. If family photos look stiff and unnatural, practice taking pictures when they aren’t posing for the camera. Getting the family involved in some activity or other will draw attention away from the camera and allow for more natural looking photos that capture the subject’s true personality.
Think About What Should Be Documented
The unfortunate truth is that many moments and memories will never be captured on film. But by thinking ahead and trying to imagine what will be important years from now, some wonderful photos can be recorded. Babies sleeping, young children playing and older children graduating are all moments that can bring back fond remembrances. Some are major events and some are just part of the day to day business of life, but all can be important as the years pass.
The main key is to keep taking photographs. Not so much that it becomes the be all and end all of existence, but enough that there options and opportunities for those special memories. And if something doesn’t turn out, delete it and try again. Just keep taking pictures and capture all the nuances of the family’s personality.