There are millions of things that can be done to make your photos look great. If you are a family man like I am, you want to have pictures of your family looking awesome in order to chronicle all the good times. My own father, the grandfather of my children, counts his lucky stars when he opens the photo album and flips through it to look at pictures of his family. I am lucky that I have been as adamant as him at storing photos of every single great moment in the life of my family, from birthdays to graduations to proms, to consult and look at when I myself will be an old man. A picture can make old memories come fresh, and make you happy. In order to spread this happiness to others as well, I’ve written this article with tips and guidance to tell you how to take family photos, store them, and a whole lot of other interesting things.
Imagine this: it’s a birthday of one of your children. They are smiling as the cake is cut. It’s an outdoor birthday party. The wind is blowing, and the grass is greener than anything. Wouldn’t you want a picture of this moment in order to make it eternal? In order to look at it and smile when your child grows up and leaves for college? Who wouldn’t want such a thing?
How to pose
The most important thing in a photo, and in fact, one of the most neglected ones, is how to pose. You often see that people gather around, and they are all dressed up, with their hair looking amazing and their shoes shining and their teeth white. The camera man gets ready to click; instead, what happens? An hour is wasted just telling everybody how to stand, or where to look, or how to hold their arms. In a family, this problem is magnified immensely. Children are naturally energetic and restless; they are very hard to get hold of, and even if one does, the picture is ruined is if it looks obvious that the children have been forced to stand and pose. How do you overcome this problem? From my own experience, there are several things to do. The greatest and most effective of these is to simply promise the children a great reward—my personal advice is to take some candies and place them behind the camera man and promise the children that as soon as the camera man is done, they can run and get the candies. There are many others which I will list:
- Take a photo of the children in their natural state: let them run, play with them, and have the camera man follow you around and snap away. The best photos might turn out by just letting yourself look like an ordinary family. Dispel with all formality, that’s my advice.
- Family photos often look like they have been pre-planned. Everyone looks somber and serious. It is best if you have the children hold their toys and play with them, or lean down with the children and play with them. This creates for a happier and memorable surrounding. The family photos turn out greater that way as well!
- Try to be funny. Everyone is tired of those old classic looks of stiffness. Pose in a humorous way with your children. Make finger guns. Dance around. This will get your children smiling and laughing, and the family photos that way becomes natural and the outlook is something that reflects a happy and successful family.
What to wear
A family has to make sure that what it is wearing at the times of family photos is not odd. When the family is a big one, it is possible and in fact, very likely, that children will come wearing clothes that are mismatched, out of fashion, or plain dirty. Some even like to wear shoes the wrong way. But this is a very easy problem to resolve. If there are elder children, then they should be brought into the mix. The elders can be made to help wash the littler kids, and then their best dresses should be laid out for them. Kids have a tendency to get dirty very easily, which is why it is recommended to feed them BEFORE they put on their best clothes. They should also be prevented from going outside to play. Most important thing to do is to care after the hair. Children manage to mess up their hair very quickly, and it can also be hard to determine what sort of style to set for them. Here are some tips:
- A few hours before the family photoshoot, it is best to take the children to some parlor or some hair saloon and get their hair done up.
- Clips, headbands, ponies are your best friends. For family photos, these are great, since these kinds of accessories make children look adorable and cute, while at the same time making them look cute.
- For boys, hair gel can be used to give them a fresh hairstyle, like a flick, and if one feels daring enough, spikes.
I’d only recommend to not force the children to wear something they vehemently dislike, since it might make them displeased, and ruin the photos.
How to take the photos
It is very important to have a skilled person behind the camera. Some families like to take a camera and use the timer. I do not recommend this. Often, the camera snaps a photo quicker than the other person has time enough to go back and join those being photographed. Furthermore, the surfaces on which these cameras are placed are often unstable and do not allow for good photos; they turn out to be tilted in an odd way, or blurred because there was no one there to help the camera focus. Other tips on how to take good photos include:
- Never use an old or malfunctioning camera. This is a serious risk. Not only do the pictures turn out ruined, the memory of the camera can be compromised, causing the pictures to be lost.
- Do not have a layman take your photos. If you ask your friend to take photos, or a family member, and they aren’t very skilled at it, then it is better to not involve them since they will inevitably end up taking pictures they think are good, which really aren’t. Cameramen like those don’t have an eye for what makes a photo look good.
- Hire a professional cameraman, or a family photo capturing company. Yes, these sort of services do exist, and are highly recommended, because not only are they high in quality, they are also amazing in how cheap and inexpensive they are. One thinks that taking family photos would be a costly service, but if one does not allow themselves to be cheated, they are incredibly cheap: mostly it’s just college students trying to make a few bucks. They can be incredibly cooperative since they are looking for future jobs through you and your contacts, and are also helpful in giving tips on how to stand, where to stand, what sort of pose to make, what to avoid and so on. Even if it goes a little above the money you would spend, we recommend this, because when you are old and looking back at these photos, you’ll be happy to see them and be glad you spent the money.
Do not forget to focus on the timing
It is very important to keep an eye on the timing of the family photo. It has to accommodate the entire family, and not conflict with their schedules. It is best to do such things either on weekends, or after school hours, since before that all are working. When the children come home, you can have them cleaned up and well fed until the husband comes home, and then you can all go and take the photo. The environment is very important too; if the picture is being taken outside, then be sure to keep an eye on the sun and when it sets. You will want to get done before it gets dark. However, it the picture is in your home, then there is no worry, since you can use artificial lights. Despite that, I recommend taking pictures at the time of day, since pictures appear better in natural lighting and it is easier to hire a cameraman at that time, instead of when it gets dark. Here is some more guidance on photo-taking in relation to the timing:
- Keep the photo taking after lunch. Everyone is well fed and won’t complain, even if they are made to stand in the sun.
- Keep an eye on the weather: family photos are impossible to take when it is windy or rainy. Your dress might get ruined or your hairstyle might be messed up. It is best to check the weather forecast before calling your professional cameraman or friend/relative who is going to take the photo. I recommend days that are sunny, allowing for good natural lighting, and where it is just slightly breezy, which allows for a cool surrounding and everyone does not feel the heat too much.
- How to accommodate the weather: let’s say, you do end up having the family photos taken at a time when the weather does not suit. For example, it is winter, about Christmas time, and you are out with your family and want the photos to be taken next to your decorated home and your snowman. What do you do? First thing is first, you get your kids bundled up in some warm but comfy clothing. But at the same time, you have to make sure that what you make them wear clothes of their own liking. There is nothing worse than a child being forced to wear something they don’t want to wear when you are taking a photo, trust me. The whole picture is ruined. Secondly, you have to find some place to stand that isn’t too out of the ordinary. It is best to choose somewhere which is not too far from your home; often, families tend to go too far from their home in order to showcase their house and what happens is that they appear to be small figures in the family photos and the house behind them is the only prominent thing; the picture is oddly proportioned. This problem needs to be avoided at all costs. Avoid, with all your efforts, photos being taken when it is snowing. Not only does it hinder the cameraman, and possibly ruin his equipment, costing you more money, it also can have grievous consequences, such as your children slipping and getting hurt. Keep those things in mind when trying to have a family photo taken successfully.
Family pictures: what should you do with them?
Most families tend to take disc-versions of their photographs, or have them put into a USB. They then transfer everything into their computers and that is where they stay. Nobody goes through them at all. I am vehemently opposed to that. It is better if we take these photos and make a physical gallery out of them. What I personally believe is that these photos should be showcased all over your home so as to remind your family of the happy moments you shared. They also serve as good decoration when guests come over and look at them; sometimes, they even help move the conversation along when you run out of things to say.
Making wall galleries
It is usually a good idea to call some company to provide you with canvases. You can tell them your required size in proportion with your photos, and even take advice from them in this regard. Most of the time, you can find great offers, such as a fifty percent off deal, from these canvas-providing companies. Ultimately, when these canvases arrive, you can use them and pin them all over the wall and spread your photos over them. This is a great way to be able to show off your photos. They also become unavoidable, so when you are going to and fro, you can find yourself looking at those happy moments, and reminisce about them, and generally remain in a cheery mood. There is a strong variety in these canvases; you can choose to have pictures of yourself, or pictures with your significant other, or pictures with your entire family. What I have done is that in my own room, there is a picture of my wife and I, while in the living room, we have a picture with the kids. Similarly, in the room of the kids, they have only their own pictures. This allows a sense of ownership as well, which helps children feel independent.
Making albums out of your photos
It is all well and good to go through your computer when you feel like looking at your old family photos. However, it is far more convenient and trustworthy to have a physical collection of your family photos around, since computers have a tendency to lose their memories entirely. There are some families that like to make their own photo albums, but such homemade photo albums very rarely turn out to be successful; ultimately, what happens is that you store your photos in them, and since the albums are so poorly made, the photos keep slipping out and falling everywhere. Most get lost, or the quality of the picture is lost. What I do is that I drive to the local bookshop, and buy a photo album. These are especially suited to my needs and do not cost much. With special transparent flaps, they allow for easy and efficient storage of photos over a long period of time. Later on, if you want to make copies of these photos, you can do it easily since they have been so well stored. Also, you can mark dates and enter titles in these photo albums, which is a great advantage, since it reminds you at what time the photo was taken, and the accuracy this offers will allow for a better recollection of the good old family times, and make you happy.
How to use your family photos creatively
It is very easy nowadays to have your photos converted into anything. I have a picture of my wife on my favorite coffee mug, and she has a picture of me on hers. But that is not all. We have several china sets adorned with pictures of the family, which is ultra-cute and fashionable. You are not restricted to cups, mugs, and other china either. You can have your photos converted into small frames, and give them as gifts to relatives. If not that, then you can also have these photos converted into phone covers.
I hope that these tips and guidelines help you with your family photos!