One of the most interesting and challenging shoots you can do is when the whole family is together to do a photoshoot. Just imagine the craziness of the whole family in one place. You might be thinking perhaps it’s just a mom and her baby or perhaps a couple with their child. That is not always the case. A family shoot can involve the sisters, cousins, grandparents, dogs, cats and racoons all rolled into one. How can you work with that? Especially the racoon that refuses to smile! What’s a photographer to do? Well… there’s some simple things you can do to ensure a good fun shoot.
1. A Whole new world.
When you have a family shoot in mind, especially with children, you need to start with a location that is safe and quite for children to set themselves be natural and free without the hustle and bustle coming in the way. It can be quite unnerving for some children and a busy place could overwhelm them. This is ideal especially if the kids are introverted. So try a park, a quite street and if you can, somewhere familiar like a playground that the kids love.
2. Let it go.
Family photos can be done professionally but you can’t expect families to pose like professional models. That doesn’t make sense at all. The best photos only happen if you allow the family members to be themselves. I remember taking photos of some children and every time I asked them to look at the camera, they would not look or simply hide away. If you don’t ask, that’s when they pose… with their tongues sticking out! The best images are when they get to be themselves. You never know what you’re going to get and that’s half the fun. If you’re still trying to get good photos of them, here’s a tip: Let them run around and see what happens.
3. Colours of the wind.
As we said previously, a quite place is a great conservative start but if you know the family you’re working with, try a place with lots of colour. It gets their senses pumping, you might just get some amazing dynamic images with colours all around you. Again, the emphasis should be… no posing! In the image the mom picked up her child and simply decided to do that in the moment. Your job is to be ready for this when it happens.
4. Friend like me.
Family is all about the people you know and love. Do something familiar with them to get them into the groove of things. Start a conversation, play games, routines they love doing and giving them comfort away from home. You don’t have to tell them to smile or look in the camera. Simply do it like you’re at home and it’s like the photographer is not there. You may want to do it differently if the entire family is comfortable in front of the camera assuming you know that already.
5. Hakuna Matata.
Lastly and certainly not the least, don’t worry about the schedule so much. Things won’t go according to plan when kids are involved. Start as soon as people are ready and be prepared to go over time to ensure you get the shots that the parents are looking for. So have fun, no worries and take it all in as the moments happen!