Thanksgiving is almost here and that means the holiday season is upon us again! Time to start planning all those family gatherings and creating new memories. And what is the best way to preserve your memories than with a photograph or video? Whether you hire a professional portrait artist at LarmonStudios.com to create a family heirloom, a family photo enthusiast with a sophisticated DSLR or you with your iPhone or other mobile device, photos and videos are always at the center preserving memories.
Before all the parties and gatherings begin, there is the “what to do for this year’s holiday card?” Do I use fun family photos from the current year or hire a professional portrait artist? Fun candid photos are great, but a family portrait is always a great idea! There are the obvious reasons to hire a professional, their skill for posing, understanding and manipulating light and for creativity; and, there are the reasons to try to take your own, such as it’s a family project and an amazing bonding experience, a memory within itself.
For those who choose to create their own family portrait this year here are some tips and suggestions to help make the process go smoothly.
Have A Plan
First and foremost make a plan. It’s probably a good idea to make a checklist.
- Equipment to bring
- Time of day when light is best
- Choose location(s)
Be prepared with a plan B and be prepared to call an audible and make a plan change! In addition to the actual portrait you should pre-plan on taking candid family images so you have a few of the family being their natural selves.
As in real estate it’s all about Location, Location, Location! This can make or break your family photos. Looking for a great setting that fits your family’s style is imperative. Find something that people will recognize as naturally you! Perhaps using your home, or a favorite family park or even an urban setting can work. It really doesn’t matter as long as it exemplifies your style.
Best Light and Time of Day for Outdoor Photographs
The first hour or so of light in the morning and the last hour of light before sunset produce a soft warm glow of directional light and is absolutely beautiful and are the best times of day to take photos. Scout your location prior to shooting so you are familiar with the light.
As long as you are happy with the image quality, the camera currently is producing; you probably don’t need a new camera. Maybe check it out, make sure it’s clean and ready to go. Now you can seriously use anything, from a smart phone, a point and shoot, a bridge camera or an elaborate DSLR, the important thing is to practice and learn how to use it before you do your family photos. Maybe consider taking a class at LarmonU so you can better learn the functions of your camera.
The general game plan is to place your camera on the tripod and to set the timer to 10 seconds and make the dash into the photo. You will probably do this several times so you have multiple images to choose from.
Clothing & Your Family
Clothing can seriously make or break your portrait. Be sure to select a similar color pallet for everyone. Select solids only, this means no stripes, polka dots or any other patterns. Avoid contrast (no dark pants and light shirts) at all cost; the focus in the portrait should be you not your clothing.
I’d only suggest props if you are trying to create more of a story. For instance sports equipment if your portrait is of a child who is an athlete, a blanket and picnic basket to depict a family picnic. Using props can be tricky, they have to naturally fit and most of the time helps make the photo look more staged.
Depending on the age range of your family you will want to begin with the most important photo, your whole family. If you have younger children you have to work within their attention span. So prioritizing is essential.
- Whole Family
- All the Kids
- Individuals of the Kids
- You and your better half.
If you need ideas for posing you might try researching Pinterest for ideas. I find casual poses work best outdoors. You can try to combine ideas and do some more traditional poses in addition to a few candid photos. Candid images tend to be a favorite of all!
Take Lots of Photos
You might as well increase your odds of getting a great photo by shooting images. Digital cameras make it is easy to shoot and delete what did not turn out well later. So snap away to hearts content and better your chances.
After you take all your photos it’s time to decide which you are going to use for your holiday card and photo gifts for family. You can do one of two things, Edit your photos at home and order your holiday cards and photo gifts at LarmonPhoto.com or bring you digital files to our Larmon Photo location in Abington and use our kiosks and get available help and expert advice from one of our associates. Feel free to call us with questions at (215) 887-1248.
Don’t want to create your own photos? Great, call Larmon Studios at (215) 642-0062 to schedule a family portrait in our studio or at a location of your choice.