Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Family Portrait Tips and How to Take Your Own

Christmas is still a couple months away, but it is time to get your family pictures done.  You want plenty of time for editing and also printing holiday cards.  I also think it is best to get them done before the weather turns too cold and you have to deal with red noses.  So I put together some tips on how to dress and even how to take your own family photos.

1. No more matchy matchy. Think coordinating colors and not matching or the same color.  I like to pick about three colors that look nice together and then go through our clothes and see what I can come up with.  For example, don't all wear a blue shirt and dark pants, that can look ok, but it gets boring.  Instead one person can wear a blue shirt and maybe another wears blue jeans and the next person has a blue scarf on.

Patterns and layers also look good.  Layers look nice and they can keep everyone warm outdoors without having to wear coats.  But beware of putting your kids in new clothes that are too big.  I always buy my kids clothes a little big so they can grow into them.  For pictures you want the clothes to fit just right.

Don't be afraid of over accessorizing.  Even if you want your family pictures to be casual a bow on a little girl or a necklace can really add a lot.  On the same note women often ask about make up.  I recommend wearing a little more than you normally would.  Lipstick, mascara, and blush are so important because they define and ad shape to your face.  It makes a big difference in pictures.
Last year we did black, white, yellow and gray.

2. Get close. Family pictures look nice when everyone squishes together.  Sometimes it seems awkward but it creates the happy family feel.  I'm always telling people to get close and then to get closer.

3. Simple background. This next picture shows a very simple background.  With family pictures the family should always be the focus and you don't want to distract with the background.  A simple brick wall can work wonders.

4. Bribery I totally bribe my kids during and after pictures.  It makes a huge difference when the kids are prepped and know what will be happening.  I tell my kids that we are going to sit and take pictures for a long time and if they listen and do a good job then we can go out for ice cream after.  Sometimes they need a reminder during the pictures but it usually does the trick.  I even give out treats during the pictures, this is especially helpful for younger kids.  Smarties are great because they are fast to eat and they don't make a mess.

5. Be Creative One year I knew we weren't going to be able to get everyone looking at the same time so we had some fun and did them one at a time.  They are your family pictures and not all families are the sit and smile type.
6. Zoom In. This is especially important for Christmas cards.  People want to see you and not much else.  Fill up the picture with faces.  Anything waist down is usually not needed.
7. Do it yourself. Get out the tripod and do take your own.  I took the above picture with a tripod and remote (self timer works too).  The most important thing when taking your own pictures is to turn the flash off.  You need lots of natural light so find a shady spot outside and start clicking away.

Now that your pictures are taken you just have to upload them to Tiny Prints to make your own holiday cards.  It is so fun and easy to pick out your prints.  Stop by tomorrow for more info and Christmas card examples.


Rachel said...

My family hasn't all been at the same place at once in three years, so last year we did do the individual headshots strategy for a family picture. I definitely agree with using coordinated outfits instead of matching ones!

KCO said...

These are great tips!! Thanks for including photos to illustrate.