So, you want to make a beautiful family photo book? Well, you’ve come to the right place. The first essential step is to create photos you’re truly happy with. Then you need to figure out how to assemble the photos into one place. Without further ado, let’s get started – gather your family, grab your camera, and prepare to snap!
1. Act Natural
Taking great photos of your family is as much about creating the right conditions to engage your subjects as it is about technical camera skills. You know your spouse and kids better than anyone else, so use this knowledge to help them to relax into the photo shoot. For example, if you know your children hate sitting still because it makes them anxious and stressed out, take photos of them running around and playing instead.
This same concept can be applied to the composition of your family photos in general; allow your family to be themselves, and encourage whatever conditions make them feel comfortable. Even if your whole family is dressed up in their smartest clothing, if they feel uncomfortable, or the kids are bored, you’re not going to get satisfying shots. On the other hand, encouraging banter, playfulness, and spontaneity can result in more naturalistic and authentic photographs that capture the individual character of each family member.
2. See the Light
When taking photos of your family (or any subject), it’s essential to consider the lighting. Nothing beats natural lighting, but varying outdoor conditions have a big impact on the quality of your photos. On very sunny days, particularly in the middle of the day, strong overhead sunshine can create unflattering facial shadows on your subject’s faces. If you do end up shooting on a sunny day, experts at ShootProof recommend that you position your family in the shade or you turn their backs against the sun so no one is squinting. Cloudy days can actually be advantageous because the clouds diffuse sunlight and create softer lighting. Therefore, it’s useful to check the weather forecast in advance before shooting outside.
There’s also the time of day to consider. The golden hour is generally favored by photographers and considered to be the best time to take pictures. This time, also known as the magic hour, is the hour when the sun first rises in the morning and the hour when the sun sets in the evening. Light has a spectrum of colors that correspond to different temperatures, and during the golden hour, light spectrum is in the yellow range, giving photographs a beautiful golden glow. As the sun is close to the horizon the light from it is diffused, adding a soft, dreamlike quality to photographs taken at this time.
To get the most out of the golden hour, make sure you leave plenty of time before the sun sets or rises to get as many photos as you want.
3. Look the Part
As the pictures in your family photo album are going to be enjoyed for years to come, it’s only right that you all look great. Think about the composition of your backdrop and choose clothes to complement it (or vice versa). Avoid matching outfits! Instead, decide on a few colors and have every family member dress in them. This can be tricky, so starting with just one person’s outfit and then figure out everyone else’s wardrobe can be helpful. Say no to garishly bright and fluorescent colors.
You should consider the patterns on everyone’s clothing; having just one or two members with patterned clothing, contrasted with the other members dressed in plainer, block color outfits can add a degree of dynamism to the photos. If you’re shooting outdoors, the time of year will influence what you wear, both practically (for example, coats for winter, shorts for summer) and in terms of color (more subdued, earthy tones for autumn, and brighter, warmer colors for spring.) If your photo shoot will take place indoors, your clothes should complement the color of your walls, furniture, and other interior features.
Pick clothes that are appropriate to the vibe you want to create in your photoshoot. Younger kids love to wear clothing with their favorite cartoon characters on, but do you really want Pokémon staring back at you every time you open your photo album? It’s advisable to figure out everyone’s outfit in advance of the photo shoot, especially if you’re hiring a professional photographer; you don’t want to waste time you’re paying for with last minute wardrobe changes because mum and dad’s outfits clash.
4. Location, Location, Location
When considering where to have your family photo shoot, think about places your family enjoys going to. Where can you all be free to be yourselves, have fun, and positively engage with your surroundings? A local park, beach or forest that you’ve been taking the kids to since they were little will evoke memories of all the good times – a great atmosphere for taking photos.
If you’re shooting in public spaces you’ll need to consider how busy they’ll be – you probably don’t want crowds of random bystanders making cameos in your photos. Furthermore, other people might not want to be in your photos either, so it’s always a good idea (and good manners) to ask other people first before taking pictures of them.
Holidays are an excellent photo opportunity, offering the space for bonding and reinventing family dynamics, as well as plenty of exotic locations for backdrops. Theses once-in-a-lifetime experiences are begging to be captured on camera and you might even want to create personalized travel photo album of your shared adventures.
5. One for the Book
When you’ve compiled a collection of family photographs you’re happy with, it’s time to figure out how to put them all together. Possibly the hardest part of the whole process of making a family photo book is organizing and then choosing which photos are going to make it into the final artefact.
Put all of your photos into one folder on your computer, and then sort through them. You may wish to have several folders for organizing; one for definite yeses; one for maybes; and one for no’s. Choose photos that delight you and evoke positive memories – ones that you’ll enjoy returning to year after year.
Then you’ll need to assemble the photos into a meaningful and aesthetically pleasing arrangement. Some attentive companies, like Rosemood, offer online photo editors and design assistance from in-house graphic designers, supporting you every step of the way in creating your perfect family photo book. You might also want to have your photo book printed on premium paper or bound in luxury Italian leather, in a color of your choice. There are so many possibilities, so it’s worth taking the time to find the ideal photo book style to house your family’s precious memories.