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The holiday season is here and it’s time for family photos. This tutorial offers a few hints and tips for composing group shots so that you can take better photos of your family as you share this special time together.

Take several shots

The bigger the group you photograph, the more likely some people will have their eyes close. To avoid awkward faces, take several shots for every photo. This is a basic rule of thumb for any group photo shoots: you will increase the chances of having a flawless picture. Feel free to gesture to your subjects as you are about to press the shutter release or do a countdown so they can focus on the shot and keep their eyes open at the right time.

Use a tripod

The tripod is a useful accessory that will help you take better family photos. It will come in handy if you want to be in the picture or if the group is particularly large: you can make sure your uncle does not fall outside the frame and you can set up the shot in advance. Don’t be afraid to pose the your subjects to streamline the photo process. If you want to be in the shot, use the self-timer function and select the longest delay available (min. 10 seconds) to give yourself enough time to pose. Finally, if you have remote shutter release, take your place first and then use the remote trigger. 


© Paige Cody on Unsplash

Forget about the built-in flash

Red eyes were never in vogue. Try not to start a new trend and best forget about the built-in flash, especially if you’re using a small point-and-shoot camera. If you really need more light, test the flash beforehand to avoid ruining all your photos. Remember to activate red-eye reduction available in most cameras. If you still end up with some red eyes, use photo software to retouch the images.

Opt for natural light

If you are with your family, don’t wait until the last moment to take a picture of yourself. Instead, choose a time of day when it is bright and you can use natural light. Go outside to avoid artificial indoor lighting, and your photos will come out beautifully. 

Further reading: Portraits in natural light


© Ashwini Chaudhary on Unsplash

Adjust the aperture

If you have a professional camera, manually set the aperture to make the opening as wide as possible. You will thus let in more light and reduce the depth of field, to make your subjects stand out. This technique is widely used in portraiture and it is well suited to photographing small groups. If there are many of you, choose a lower aperture so that the image is uniformly in focus. 

Allow for spontaneity 

A beautiful family photo does not necessarily mean a rigidly posed photo, prepared in advance, with forced smiles. Instead, try to bring your family together and let them interact to capture more spontaneous moments. However, make sure your shutter speed is sufficient to capture the moment and produce sharp pictures. 

Further reading: Seizing motion

Family photography is an art, but it is also a time to share that should be enjoyable. What really matters is that you have fun! Practice these simple tricks of trade to effortlessly create beautiful images.


© Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 


© Anna Pritchard on Unsplash

 

By Céline Nebor

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