Tania called me to say that her brother who lives in Qatar in the Middle-East was home for a couple of days with his family and she’d love to have some photos taken for their mother.
Such a great idea! Family photos are such a great gift but we so seldom get around to actually getting things organised. Make the effort and you will be well rewarded!
We had a very small window of opportunity with Tania’s family but fortunately I had a space in my schedule to fit in an hour’s shoot at my house and then be able to turn the job around and have the images ready on a disc for her to collect 2 days later. This is not usually the time frame but for this family portrait shoot we made it work so that Tania and her brother could present their Mum with a gorgeous family photograph before Lee left again for Qatar.
Photographing young children is always challenging and especially when you throw them into an unfamiliar environment with photographic lights. You can never really be sure how things will go. In this case the Mums and Dads were in most of the photos too so it went well.
Tip for a family photo shoot with little ones – bring snacks and favourite toys along to the shoot.
The “kid sandwich” pose is one that I find always works well. Mum and Dad are the “slices of bread” and the children are the “filling” in the middle. You can call them “jam” or “peanut butter”, whatever takes their fancy. Place everyone’s heads at about the same level – you may need to stand the little ones and kneel the bigger ones and sit Mum and Dad. ‘Heads nice and close’ is a great golden rule for family photography. These shots were taken with the family sitting on a bench (piano stool!).
With a larger group like the last shot, stagger the heights of the heads and vary the positions of the subjects. If you have the space to sit people on the floor, it’s great to have the little ones sitting on the adults – if they will sit still!
Tania and her family had put some thought into their outfits and co-ordinated what they were wearing which makes a pleasing composition. You don’t necessarily all have to wear the same colour – similar colours or tones work well: all pastels, all denim, all blue or white tops etc. Be careful with beige as a colour choice – it “washes out” a lot of complexions.
In summary – get your family together when you next have an opportunity and bring the camera out. You don’t need a studio – you can sit outside under a tree. It might seem like a lot of work but you’ll never regret it. And if it’s for someone special like Grandma – she will love you forever for it!