I LOVE taking photos of my family – they mean the world to me, so I want to capture those moments that we spend together! I thought I’d share some of the things I do to take great family photos, ones that I can treasure for always.
I don’t have a DSLR camera, so I won’t be going into different settings, instead I’m sharing tips that you can do, not matter what type of camera you have.
1. Get down to their level!
When it comes to photographing small children, get down to their level – us adults tower over young children, so crouching down (or even lying down!) will ensure you get a good perspective. It can also make for some fun shots, like when I was at the bottom of the slide, waiting for my niece to come down it!
2. Make use of natural light!
I rarely use flash – unless I really, really am forced to. I make use of the natural light to take the best photos that I can of my family. This means, more often than not, I’m outside taking photographs, as our house is pretty dark. But as long as it’s not pouring down with rain, get outside and make use of the light that is out there!
However, sometimes, we just can’t get outside, and so, make use of the light coming into the room – find the brightest room in your house -and get your subject near to the window. Net curtains, if you have them, help to diffuse really bright sunlight, but if it’s a dull day, pull them back to let more light in.
I usually take photographs in one room – our living room, as it has the best light in the whole house (although, even that isn’t great, not compared with our old house!) To combat this darker light, I’ve learned how to increase the exposure on my camera – it’s just a couple of presses of a button on my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200, a bridge camera. It can make or break a photo for me! Once it is set, it stays that way until I change it or until I turn the camera off. Check your camera to see if you have this function too. If it doesn’t, always remember that light is your friend!
3. It’s not all about the face!
Of course, we like taking photographs of faces – they show emotion! But sometimes, I don’t worry about the face and capture a moment in time.
4. Capture details!
Children grow up fast, so as well as the usual photographs, why not take photographs of the little details? Baby feet, for example…
5. Burst mode!
Check to see if your camera has a burst mode – and then give it a try! I love using burst mode in certain situations, like when I captured Sephy blowing bubbles! Or when Liam decided to jumped on the sand. It means that I can create a moving image with all of the little shots when they are put together.
6. Get them used to the camera!
As a family, we’re not camera shy at all, so it’s quite easy to take photographs of my lot! They also know that I am always taking photos! By taking lots of photos, everyone will get used to a camera being around. There is nothing worse than a really bad staged photograph, that looks forced and unnatural! So the ones that happen naturally are the best. You may find your littlest subjects, that were once little divas in front of the lens, will all of a sudden turn quite shy – like my little miss Sephy! Although you can see her being cheeky, she’s peeking out from behind her hands!
My family pretty much know, if there is a camera in my hand, they’ll have a photo taken of them at some point!
7. Timing is everything and nothing!
When it comes to taking photos of people – especially children, who often can’t stay still for very long, timing is pretty much everything! Sometimes I’ll take 3 or 4 shots in a row, just in case I do miss the shot, but then, sometimes, it doesn’t matter because the little turn, or facial expression is even better…perfect timing, or not?!
A perfect example was this photo of my dad and my niece. I was waiting for ages to get one of them both looking at the camera, but nope – I love this one so much more!
Similarly, with this one of Sephy and her mum – we tried for ages to get one of them together smiling, then this happened, and it was such a sweet moment.
And then the timing was spot on, with Sephy just looking up and over into the light. Not staged at all, just a perfect moment in time.
8. Let it go!
An action shot makes a great photo, so get ’em moving and doing stuff! Just having the kids running around, or playing can produce some fun photographs!
Actually, a pretty sweet feature that some cameras have is “slow sync flash” I experimented with it years ago, and took this photo of my brother dealing cards at our poker night! Check your camera manual to see if you have it – it will probably be accessed from the flash menu.
9. Get in the shot
If you’re always the one behind the lens, take some time out to be in front of it too – just so you know you were there!
Learn how to use the timer function on your camera – it’s worth taking the time out to frame the shot and take a few practice ones before you jump in! If it’s not as you want, give it a crop, like I did of this one where I jumped in. Don’t have a camera with a timer? Take a selfie of the group! It is possible!
10. The best camera is the one in your hand
It doesn’t matter what camera you have – a bridge, a DSLR, a compact, or a camera phone, the best one is the one that YOU have. There are times when I’ve forgotten to take my beloved Panasonic Lumix with me (although, that doesn’t happen too often!), so I turn to the camera on my phone, and I can take photographs that I can cherish, just as much as the ones on my Lumix. Of course, with a DSLR you’re going to have more options and control with techy things like aperture and shutter speed, but that’s not to say you can’t take amazing photographs, which you will treasure and LOVE!
Disclosure: Collaborative post in association with Panasonic.