How to Take Better Family Photos

Summer is coming! Soon we’ll be going on vacations, doing outdoor activities and sports, going on picnics, and spending plenty of quality time with family. Capturing these memories is important, but most people don’t have the luxury of having a professional photographer following them and their family around (that would be nice!). Taking consistently high quality photographs on your family vacations or outings may seem a little daunting but I promise (with a little practice), it’s easier than you think.

Take better photos

Invest in a decent camera

By a decent camera, I don’t necessarily mean a five thousand dollar professional-grade camera. Most basic digital cameras on the market right now are great in different lighting situations and provide quality photos at a reasonable price. An example of this is the Canon Rebel. There are many different models, and they all allow for enough control over the settings for different lighting situations without being too confusing.


Pay Attention to the Lighting Situation

Lighting, lighting, LIGHTING. With ANY photography-related post you’ll hear me mention lighting. Being aware of what kind of light you’re shooting in is very important. A cloudy day/the shade can be the easiest lighting to shoot in. As a photographer, I often have people express disappointment at the prospect of having a session on a cloudy day, but the diffused light is beautiful, trust me.

I wouldn’t use the flash unless you’re shooting in direct sunlight. It may seem strange to use your flash in the sun but especially around midday, the sun can create harsh shadows around the eyes/under the nose. Using a flash can help fill in those shadows. If the light hurts your subjects eyes too much, have them close them, and tell them to open them when you count to three. Snap the photo quickly when they open their eyes.

Shoot At a Variety of Angles 

Don’t always shoot from one angle. Get a variety of shots including ones that are further away to feature the landscape (especially if you’re on vacation), and close up shots that showcase personality. When it comes to photographing children, don’t just shoot down at them. Kneeling down to get eye level with them creates beautiful shots.


When Photographing a Group, Close the Space

We’ve all had spontaneous group family photos taken at events. Have you ever gotten one back and wondered, “Why the heck is Aunt Beth standing all the way over there?!”? It can be uncomfortable for people to stand super close in a group photo whether it’s hot outside or they just aren’t touchy. Don’t be afraid to tell people to move closer to each other!

Rule of Thirds

While it’s not wrong to have your subject right in the middle of the frame, using the rule of thirds can help you easily compose shots that are more interesting and dynamic. Believe it or not, placing your subject off center can help draw more attention to them.

I hope these tips encourage you to get out there and capture great memories this summer! What’s your favorite vacation spot?