One of my favorite things about family photography is capturing real connections. The real smiles, the real laughs and overall their real lives. Some families warm up easier than others in front of the camera, but by allowing families to have fun in their session and not take it too seriously you will usually come out with some great results.
As a family photographer in an oversaturated market, capturing photos that show off your talent and allow families to see the love in your photos will set you apart. Often times families come to sessions expecting stress and are hoping for just one good photo. Do everything you can to deliver a gallery full of great photos.
Read more: Family Photography Posing Workflow
By allowing yourself and encouraging your families to let loose and have some fun during your time together you will have the opportunity to capture beautiful photos they will cherish. Everyone loves a great photo of everyone looking at the camera and smiling, but, the photos they will remember the most in years to come are the ones where the real connections, love and laughter is shining through.
Whether you’re looking to better your family photography and get clients that come back year after year because they love the photos you capture, or if you just want some ideas on ways to capture real interactions in your own family and kids. Here are some tips that might help you capture photos you (and your clients) will love.
No.01Be ready at any given moment
Some of my favorite photos I have captured are the in between shots. The ones where no one is expecting it, and they probably don’t even realize I have taken the photo. Give up on the perfect pose, the perfect photo, and just let the real moments happen.
Nine times out of ten I’ll capture the “perfect” family photo where everyone is looking at me with big smiles, right after I have captured a real moment of the family just before.
No.02Add movement to your photos
Get the families moving. Whether you ask them to dance, twirl, run, etc. Creating movement usually comes with not only big smiles, but it creates beautiful depth in your photos.
Families often crave direction during their photo shoots, instead of directing them to stand still in one spot, offer up ideas to get them laughing and moving.
No.03Get on their level
If you’re working with a family with kids, make sure to get on their level. Not only physically get down to their level, but connect with them at their level. Talk to them about their favorite subject, cartoon, toy, etc. Kids love sharing things about them.
If you refer back to number 1 and are ready at any given moment, they often light up and give great smiles as they start sharing some of their favorite things. If they mention a favorite cartoon and you happen to know the song that goes with it, start singing it wrong on purpose and see if it gets them laughing.
Parents love the classic “look at me and smile photos” of their kids, strive to deliver photos capturing their real smiles.
No.04Encourage families to interact as if you weren’t there
Tell them to pretend this is just a typical weekend afternoon at the park with the family. Ask them what they would be doing. Maybe its playing “airplane” with their toddlers, swinging their child in between them while walking, sitting down laughing and ticking.
Whatever it is, ask them to pretend you aren’t there and capture them having fun. While doing so, ask them to really think about their facial expressions and try to encourage them to really show their emotions.
No.05Secret telling can lead to lots of laughter
When photographing a pair, I always get them in a pose so they are close together. Whether it be mom and dad, mom and child, siblings, etc. Encourage one to tell the other person a secret. The key is telling them both that after the secret is told neither person can pull away.
Often times, there is no secret told, they both start laughing before someone can think of what to say. There is something silly about being put on the spot and trying to whisper something to the other person.
When families see the wonderful memories you have captured for them they will be so thankful and love that you captured them and their personalities beautifully.
Discover more about photography:
– Family Photography Posing Workflow
– 7 Tips for Capturing Genuine Emotion in Children
– 5 Topics to Discuss Prior to a Family Photography Session
–How to Find Your Photography Style
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I loved reading this! I’m a family photographer and we know it can sometimes be tricky to create genuine expressions. I loved your idea about creating movement. I love telling the families to play games as well as tell secrets to one another. The young children especially really love that! :-)