How to take better photos of your family

How to take better photos of your family

Sometimes it rains just enough to dirty your car.  Inevitably the rain arrives right after you’ve washed it.  Sometimes there just isn’t time or energy to get it cleaned and more often than not the serenity and cleanliness of your car seems to be a holy grail that is perfectly impossible since your kids arrived on the scene.  Let’s be honest keeping your car clean all the time is impossible. 

And so is stopping your kiddies from growing up.

I don’t often spend much time in traffic given that I work from home but recently I’ve been doing a lot of driving and it occurred to me, while inching forward in a long line of Gauteng rain dirtied cars, that keeping your car clean is kind of like trying to stop your children from getting older.  Every time you think you’ve caught up and have finally come to terms with their last stage they develop some more.  You can’t believe they’re so grown up and you are left wondering where the time has gone.

So do you stop to appreciate and record each passing phase?  

Many of us want to but don’t get around to it and some of us are looking for the perfect opportunity to do so.  We tell ourselves we’ll wait for the warmer/cooler weather to take some family photos, or WHEN little one gets rid of the dummy or we’ll schedule a photo shoot WHEN I’ve lost 5kilos.  Sound familiar? It doesn’t take a lot of effort to come up with a long list of excuses why we are not ready.  The truth is that there is never the perfect time.  The best time is right now.  We need to be taking photos of our family right now.

So here are a few tips on how to take better photos of your family….

Light is key.  What’s happening with the LIGHT?  Is there enough light?  Or maybe too much?  Is the light coming from the direction that’s going to make the best photo?  Don’t be afraid to move your subject to increase or decrease the amount and direction of light.  Light is a make or break element so embrace it and use it to enhance your photos.

Take a look at what’s going to be in other parts of your photo.  Sometimes we are so focused on our subject that we don’t even notice something that might be distracting in the photo, like a T-Rex in a bright red T-shirt eating an ice cream on the other side of the tree that your son is leaning against.   We usually only notice it when it’s too late to take the photo again – face palm moment.  If you find something that bothers you wait for it to pass or move away or change your angle so that you don’t have the distraction in the background.

Is my photo telling the full story?  When you look back on the moment through the photo YOU may remember that your daughter was putting the doll’s tea set in the dishwasher but if the dishwasher isn’t part of the photo then the full story is not being told to someone who wasn’t there.  Take close ups for sure but remember to tell the story with your photos.

You are a part of the family too.  YOU should also be in the photos.  I know I’m a little (ok alot) self-conscious when it comes to being in photos.  A professional photographer will be able to use posing and positioning to make you look at your best.  That’s our job.  But you can apply some of our tricks with no effort at all.  First thing for the ladies to remember is to never face your body directly on to the camera.  Turn a little so that your body is angled slightly towards the camera and then turn your head so that you are looking at the camera.  Then push your weight onto your hip that’s furthest from the camera.  And voila!  You look thinner already.  And be careful not to lift your chin to try and avoid that double chin.  It results in a very unflattering angle for your face.  Rather push your chin forwards, away from your neck, and then a little down.  No double chin, just a great chin line.  With a little practice in front of the mirror you’ll see just what a difference this makes.

Schedule a session with a professional photographer every now and then so that you have some really special photos that you are all present in.  It’s really good for self-esteem, especially in kids, to regularly see photos of everyone together.  Choose the right photographer for you and have fun. 

Above all don’t delay in taking photos of your family …because our kids keep growing and changing…just like our cars always need washing!

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