Family Photography is an important genre of photography as families are one of the most significant elements of human lives. A career as a family photographer has a lot of opportunities as there is a continuous and regular demand for capturing families.
It could be either an occasion such as a wedding, a baby shower, or families simply want to document their regular lives for memories.
However, family photography is not as easy as it looks. There is a lot of investment, knowledge, and trial & error involved in this business. As a family photographer, you will need a good balance of both- the technique and the art, which sets you apart from other family photographers.
We have created this Ultimate Guide for family photographers to help you get all the knowledge and tips you need to achieve success as a family photographer!
What is family photography?
Family photography is a broad genre of photography that involves photographing anyone that can be considered family. It involves capturing individuals and groups of family members, also including newborns, extended families, and even pets.
Delivering a good experience to your clients is obviously very important. You don’t want to ignore the fact that most of the family members are not professional models that are comfortable in front of cameras and making them feel comfortable should be your first priority.
If they liked the experience of working with you, they are going to contact you again in the future and most importantly- spread the good word about you to their friends, which is very important for your business.
Family Photography essentials:
While starting and growing your family photography business, investing your money in the right equipment is not an easy task.
Considering the cost of photography gear is very high, you need to do thorough research on it or you will be stuck with bad or unsupported gear.
Buying a camera will require you to buy the lenses that support that model. The right gear will help your photos have a professional look to them while making sure there are no limitations to the quality. As a lot of families print such photos, you need to have gear that gives print-worthy quality to the photos.
Check out our blog on the Best equipment for family photographers to make sure you are all loaded with the right gear for your shoots.
From generating leads for your photography business to delivering their galleries and keeping backup, the workflow can be either too costly or time-consuming.
Moreover, this directly impacts the productivity of the photographer and delivers a lousy client experience. Making use of the best of the class tools in the market will help you have a more streamlined workflow.
Check out our blog for the 7 best tools for efficient photography workflow to know what makes these tools special and why should you use them in your workflow.
By creating some guidelines for the shoot, you will realize your sessions are going smooth and comfortable for everyone.
A lot of experienced photographers have a few simple rules such as having a coffee with their clients before shooting them, as it helps them to get to know their clients better. This goes a long way as the photographer can capture their chemistry better in the photos.
We have also covered some rules in our blog of dos and don’ts of family photography which you can read and follow with your clients during the family sessions!
The location where you are capturing the family is an important element to decide in the shoots. Photographers ought to look out for places with good surroundings and light where they can do shoots comfortably without worrying much about the light conditions.
Not only you as a photographer, but the clients should also feel comfortable with the selected place. Photographers often run out of ideas for such locations or it can become too repetitive for their gallery.
If you are facing the same problem, you would want to check out our blog on best location ideas for family photography to gain some fresh perspective.
Taking posed pictures of your clients can be stressful for them as a lot of them are inexperienced in front of the camera.
Especially for kids, the young ones can be difficult to manage and it can mess up the whole vibe of your sessions.
Keeping the family photography session fun, light, and natural is important to make the family members stay comfortable in their shoots. Check out our full blog on “How to take fun and natural family photos?” for more tips.
What clothes should the family wear during the photo session is another doubt that comes to the mind of the photographer. You wouldn’t want to have a lot of distractions coming in the photo so better consult them before the shoot.
Some clothes look great in real life but not so much in the photos. There are also a lot of questions regarding, what fabric to avoid? What color should we wear? Which color complements the surrounding the best?
Find all the answers to these questions in our blog “best clothing ideas for family photography”.
How to photograph family photos?
Shooting family photos with the right camera settings is as important as getting the right equipment. To use your gear to its best potential, you need to learn how to set up your camera according to the subject and the lighting conditions present.
Capturing parents in the golden hour will require different settings than they would when capturing small kids inside the house. Getting used to these settings requires you to understand their purpose first and then some practice so as to not to make the images under or overexposed.
For example: If the subjects include young kids, you would want to increase the shutter speed as they move a lot.
Family photographers can learn this in detail with our blog on “what should be the camera settings for family photography?”
Trying out and experimenting with new compositions can result in some interesting results in your photos. A well-composed image can really level up your photography game and set you apart from other photographers.
Photo credits: Source: Nicole Kristin from http://nicolekristinphotography.com/
Although the definition of “well-composed” can be subjective, in family photography, there are dozens of different composition rules you can try with your clients starting with the basics such as the rule of thirds or frame within a frame.
As you get comfortable with these you can move on to some challenging ones such as Juxtapositions that are hard to execute.
To know more about such compositions along with their examples. Check out our blog on “14 compositions for family photography”
Golden hour is undoubtedly the best time of the day to get pretty visuals, bokeh, and creamy skin tones. Perhaps, that is why golden hour family photography sessions are in great demand among family photographers.
Capturing in golden hour requires a lot of planning, Family Photographers can use a golden hour calculator app like The Photographer’s Ephemeris or try other apps like Helios Golden Hour (for iOS) and Blue Hour Calculator (for Android) or PhotoPills for tracking it.
Such apps can make it easy for planning sessions for families in advance. There are dozens of other things to keep in mind while shooting in golden hours as well.
To know more about such tips, check out our blog for “12 best tips for golden hour photography”.
We all know that not all families are the same, but not all the members of the family are human either. They can come in different shapes and sizes. A lot of families have really close relationships with their pets and hence, want to have them included in their family portraits for obvious reasons.
Family photographers have to be ready for dealing with pets eventually and it’s not an easy task either. And not just dogs, but cats, horses, and birds will be your clients as well.
We have already got you covered though, just head over to our blog on “12 best tips for pet photography” to learn more about how to capture pets effortlessly.
Black and white portraits of families are special for a lot of reasons. They are timeless and are of great sentimental value. For families, these portraits can be the medium for them to live back to their special memories.
Source: Mark Nixon Photography
As a family photographer, you should definitely try capturing your clients in black and white for a change if you haven’t already. Adding a few black and white photos to your photography packages can also bring a nice change in the galleries for your clients.
There are a few things you can do to make your black and white photos look drastically better and timeless such as focusing more on the lighting and shadow, watching the attire, etc.
Check out our blog on “how to capture timeless black and white family portraits?” to learn more.
Keeping everyone sharp while clicking a group portrait is something every photographer struggles with at some point. In family photography, (especially during weddings), you will come across many such scenarios that will require you to capture 5+ people in one frame.
The aperture setting and the distance between the photographer and the group play a big role to keep everyone in focus.
Another trick is to keep everyone aligned with their toes. A lot of people in the group form a curve and this can blur out the people on the edges.
Check out our guide on “How to get sharp focus on big family portraits?” to learn everything you need to know about group portraits.
Poses for family photography:
Guiding and posing your clients in the shoot is one of the most important elements that decide how good your photo will turn out.
Although every posing rule is relative and depends on the specific family and surroundings. It can be hard to find new inspiration that goes along with everyone’s personality.
For family photography, we have a list of simple yet creative poses that will work for a smaller as well as a larger family. Head over to our blog on “11 best family photography poses” to learn about them with examples.
Be it a valentines day session or an event such as a wedding or anniversary, family photographers have to capture a lot of couples in their career. While photographing couples, capturing their intimacy and chemistry properly should be the top priority.
Romantic poses go a long way to show the chemistry of couples in the photos. Guiding people with such poses is, without a doubt, a career-boosting skill that’s well worth acquiring.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide, which will provide you with a wealth of advice and ideas for couple photoshoots, ensuring that your next couple portrait session is a huge success!
Posing men can be hard especially if it is their first photography session.
As a photographer, you need to highlight your male subject’s masculinity and sometimes you just need to capture them more in their natural-looking poses.
Few guys get nervous and a lot of them don’t know what to do with their hands.
There are four places to remember (mixed in any combination utilizing both hands).
- By the side, loosely.
- On one’s hips.
- In your pockets.
- Cross both hands across the chest.
To learn more about different poses for men, head over to our blog “15 best poses for men”.
From “Hands at the front”, “flip the hair” and “hands behind the neck”, photographers can guide their models in a lot of creative poses depending on how confident their model is.
Poses for women come in a variety of ranges.
Photographers can practice such poses themselves first, by looking at the mirror. This will make it easier for them to understand the correct posture and guide their clients.
To get more ideas on poses for women, check out our blog on “10 best poses for women”.
Parents are often crazy about newborn babies and a lot of them want to capture the memory of their young ones when they are still little.
For family photographers, the best timeline for photographing babies would be within the first two weeks. As that is the time when the child is more likely to fall asleep in their baskets, making it way easier to capture them than the time when they are awake and crying.
Source: Louisa Peacock, North London Photographer
Since your subject is now very vulnerable and delicate, you will need to be extra careful with everything. With your surroundings, equipment, lighting, etc so as not to disturb the baby in any way.
To learn more about newborn baby photography, check out our blog on “13 tips for newborn baby photography.”
Editing family portraits:
Using presets to edit your photos has a lot of benefits for family photographers. There are a lot of presets available online which are designed by professional studios, photographers, and editors to give a certain mood to the pictures.
Source: Marshall Hawkins From Sundance Photography
Moreover, using presets has a lot of advantages. It keeps your portfolio looking more consistent and makes your editing a whole lot faster. As a family photographer, you should invest in some good preset collections.
Check out our blog on “Why should you use presets as a family photographer?” to learn more about buying and using presets for family photos.
Editing your photos is a big and very important part of your workflow. A great edit can turn a mediocre photo into a masterpiece. Having said that, the time taken to edit photos should not be very time-consuming either.
Taking forever to deliver the photos can make the experience bad for your clients.
Being familiar with the basic settings, using presets, and knowing shortcuts to fasten up the editing process, goes a long way for helping photographers in delivering their photos faster.
Find the best editing tips in our blog that family photographers can follow in their editing process to make their workflow more efficient.
Family Photography is a broad genre of photography involving a lot of emotions and challenging subjects such as pets, newborns, and big groups. Capturing their chemistry and special moments in a creative way can be challenging.
Use our Ultimate Guide to learn about different ways to improve your family photography so you can deliver the best experience to your clients with their photos.