Our Tips for Family Photos

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Before we begin, let's be clear that none of us are photographers, and I can't say that any of us have ever even played one on TV.  However, we do all share a common appreciation for the art of photography, and perhaps more importantly, for capturing family moments that we can share and cherish for years to come. 

It is in that spirit that we decided whenever we are all together as a family, we should try to take a few minutes out for an updated family photo, whenever possible.  And as it happens, I spent a long weekend with the Harris family for Daddy's birthday a few weeks ago.  And then last weekend, we were with my husband's family for the weekend.  So just like that, in the matter of a couple weeks, we now proudly have updated family photos for both of my families.  :)

And without further ado, here they are:

(Left to Right): Aidyn, Ryan, Jaxon, Donna, Deanna, John, Daddy (second row), Howard, Misty, Charlotte, and Emma



(Left to Right): Row 1: Ryan, Abby, Jan (with Maggie), Larry, Lindsay, and Ben
Row 2: John (with Izzie, the Wonder Pup) and Deanna

Now, as I mentioned, professional photographers we are not.  But I have to brag on these photos for a bit.  Because heaven knows, we have fallen into every photography mistake in the book in attempts at family photos in the past.  But thankfully, we have learned a thing or two from these mistakes.  And what little I know, I am happy to pass along to you.

1.  Natural light is always best.  Notice how both of these photos were taken outside.  Nothing beats natural sunlight for photographs.  Most (real) photographers will tell you the same. 

2.  Outside photos often lack the "clutter" shall we say of photos taken inside.  There is just usually less distracting stuff in the background to compete with.  You want the attention on your subjects (i.e., your smiley family) not the junk in the room. 

3.  When photographing larger groups, it is visually more interesting if your subjects are at slightly different heights.  A good way to judge this is where everyone's head lines up.  If they are all in a straight row, chances are your picture could stand to use a little shaking up.  Have some people stand, some sit, some kneel.  Make more than one row of people.  You get the idea.  Some of our worst family photos ever were ones where everyone was all lined up sitting on the couch side by side.  Ugh- direct violation of all 3 of my little tips so far!

4.  Include your pets, when possible and if practical.  They are part of the family after all.  In our Harris family photo, we didn't have them there with us.  But for my husband's family pic, you will see my mother-in-law has her sweet Maggie Moo front and center and Izzie the Wonder Pup makes yet another appearance in one of our family photos.

5.  Speaking of pets, I have heard it said that dogs and kids make the best subjects because they are naturally unencumbered about "how they look".  Sadly for the rest of us, let's just say we could take a page out of that book.  So for this tip, I say sprinkle your photo liberally with dogs and kids.  And if your photo is lacking them, you might consider borrowing some.  :)

And to prove my point about tip number 5, I give you this photo- not a family photo, per se, but proof that we all want to make sure we looked just a certain way in a photograph.  


Even we Harris Sisters fall prey to some of these pitfalls still.  That's ok.  Like I said, we aren't professionals here, but we do have some pretty decent family photos of recent to prove these tips are starting to pay off!  Happy photog-ing, friends!!


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