5 Tips on How to Take Stunning Family Portraits

Happy family, outdoor photography, family of five

Family photos are meaningful photos for every client. Usually, as long as a photo is taken with good lighting, and everyone is looking great and smiling, then your clients will be grateful and satisfied.

However, what if you go an extra mile and get a little bit creative? We have 6 tips for you so that you can capture stunning family portraits that will leave a “wow factor” on every family member.

Creative Positioning

Happy Family in Field circle with the kids

Nikon D800, f3.5, 1/320

You need to be creative in how you position people in a family portrait. Of course, this depends on the number of people in a family and the space you have.

However, with an average family of 4 people, you can have head to head circle, whereby you get everyone lying on the ground (face up), and holding hands. Take the shot using a wide-angle or standard lens- from 177mm-50mm.

Use a ladder to take the photo and ensure that you focus on the center of the image using a medium depth of field (f/9-f16).

Show Closeness and Emotions

Happy family in the garden with the kids

Nikon D800, f4, 1/1000

A family is all about love and closeness, and you can showcase these two emotions in family portraits. Let your subjects hug and hold each other.

You can also showcase generational differences by positioning a grandmother, followed by parents, then granddaughter- this will make the age difference seem clear.

These kinds of photos should be taken with faster shutter speeds to ensure that you capture any big smiles that happen. Asking people to maintain a smile during photo sessions makes them look unnatural. In addition to using fast shutter speed, ensure to take the shots in a well-lit area- preferably one with natural light.

Group Photos

If you are shooting a large family, get them to stand in groups. Make sure the tall, younger people are at the back, older people at the center, and kids in the front. Also, keep taller people at the far ends of the group photographs.

Family Photography Tip: Use an external flash to light up any frozen faces and shadows. Also, use a wider depth of field to keep everyone in sharp focus.

Have Close-ups Photos

Close-ups help to convey emotions. You can have two people who are close - wife and husband, sibling and parent, etc., lock up their foreheads.

Use a standard or macro lens to take the shot. Wait for the right moment to capture the shot - this can be when they are smiling or when they are looking at each other deep into their eyes.

Ensure to use a shallow depth of field to keep the background blurred and use flash to freeze the ideal moment.

Have Them Wear Clothes With Shades of the Same Color

Happy family in the field with the kids, outdoor photography

Nikon D800, f3.5, 1/800

Of course, every member wants to look their best during family photography sessions. However, you can try to get them to wear shades of the same color or even a similar type of clothes.

Request everyone in the family to dress in clothes that blend together, or you can have them mix and match if you want a portrait with varied effects.

What Camera Settings Work With Family Portraits?

Exposure settings can vary in different situations, but there are a few common settings family photo sessions share.

Use flash whenever necessary, and have a reasonable shutter speed of at least 1/125s. Also, if you are dealing with a group, use a larger depth of field- f/11-f/22) to ensure everyone is in focus.

However, for a small family of three people or less, a shallow depth of field will be ideal to keep the background blurred.

Bottom Line

Although, in most cases, you don't have to think outside the box to take good family portraits, getting creative will help you take stunning shots. Avoid a lot of instructions, such as overdressing the family.

Remember, a key consideration is to know the ideal number of people to include in a photograph. If you are photographing a large group, you can consider pairing them in reasonable groups then have the photos presented together in a mosaic.

Posted in: Photography for beginners