8 Tips for Christmas Family Portraits

At the Christmas family get together at some point the Family Photo happens. Here are a few tips that might help to make this year's family photos a little better.

  1. Preparation - think about when and where you want to take the photos before someone says 'lets do some photos'!
  2. Use a tripod - really? Yes! You can then use the camera timer to be in some photos with them. It will also help to get your eye away from the camera, view your family dynamic and interact. 
  3. Avoid a boring row of heads - arrange people with heads staggered at different levels.
  4. Lighting – use natural light when possible, but probably not direct sunlight, and beware of a bright background.
  5. Let the kids be kids - don't pressure them to 'stand up straight and smile'.
  6. Encourage 'the Bends' – people tend to stand a bit rigid in front of a camera so encourage then bend an elbow, knee or hip a little to look more natural. Props can help.
  7. Pose to flatter - if your family don't think they look good they won't like the photos nomatter how well lit or technically perfect they are.
  8. Expression - get them laughing or making a funny face. Ask them to pull a 'surprised' face or a scowl. Sometimes just after this when they all relax you can get your best shots.
  9. Have fun and let go - try to keep the mood light, don't be too rigid in your approach. They'll then be more positive about the family photo shoot next Christmas.

OK I know it's nine, but the last point needed a mention.