When a family hires me to take their pictures, I’m always asked where their photos should be taken. Before helping to choose a spot, I always ask a few questions: What represents your family? Are you outdoor or indoor people? Do you like the country, big cities or small towns? Do you want a studio shoot or a location shoot?
When the location has been chosen and the family gathers for the photos, I next watch the background in the pictures. Is a tree branch coming out of their head? Are there other people in the background? Is there something behind them that may not be wanted? In one of my favorite photos, I call it the Sound of Music, the bride was at a golf course. I laid on the ground until I could not see the parking lot. As the photographer, my job is to put the subject in the forefront and erase as much of the background as possible.
Watch for the never-ending hands. People tend to put their arms around the back of their loved ones. In the photos, the hands look like they don’t end. Where did it come from? Ask them to put their hands in the small of the persons back. Looks good and still gets the same results.
Most important, dress for the picture. I recommend three changes, one really nice one, one casual and one of their choice. Let them have fun. If you have someone who dresses weird, let them dress weird. Remember, how one dresses can make the mood of the shoot.
Lastly, let them have fun. I recommend doing some funny non posed pictures. Enjoy the moment. If you can get them to laugh do it. Those are the ones to make everyone happy. One of the ways I try to make it happen is by barking at my subject. Do you know how many smiles I have gotten from that? I also do voices, Scooby Doo is my favorite. Anything I can do to make their smiles bigger.
If you don’t hire a professional photography for your family photos or if you do, take your time and find the right place. Think about what you want out of the photographs. Look up local locations. One thing about good photos, you would be surprised how little room you need to take a great photo.