Picture Frames, Picture Framing and Picture Framers' Blog

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The Ten Steps to Doing Your Own family portraits

1st Step: Plan the photography location with your family.  Typically, the most common settings for family portraitures are photographers’ studios,  public parks,  gardens or outdoors. However you might like to consider a theme park, a playground or a children’s fun  factory as viable and un alternatives. Some parents prefer these. Both because it tends to put younger children at ease and also because they are generally in a happier mood. 2nd Step:  Check and recheck your camera, mobile phone or camera equipment. There’s little point in researching, choosing and travelling to the chosen location only to find that your camera or mobile phone batteries are flat. Also consider, can you use manual flash to ill in shadows?  Some mobile cameras suck as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A6  do not have this option by default and you need to download 3rd party apps for this...    What about understanding your camera functions and modes, manual, automatic, amateur, pro, shutter speed, light balance, etc. ?  Do you understand the capabilities and limitations for each of these? Do read up and research these before you get all the troops lined up and blast you if you can’t take the pictures or won’t look right as you take them!  3rd Step: Select the season, day and time. In Melbourne and indeed, in most of Victoria, we are blessed with distinct season colour and moods.  The Autumn months of April May and June are simply wonderful for the rendition of early morning sunshine and early evening dusk.  These times are suffused with  warm colours and fading light so rightly cherished by amateur photographers capturing family  memories.  Professional photographers know these times as the ‘Golden Hours, when the light isn’t so prepotent as to throw or cast dark, distracting  and unflattering shadows on face, 4th Step: Choose what to wear. The style and colour clothes you and your family will wear for your family portraits are often overlooked, yet have great visual impact. Rebel T-Shirts, bold colours, busy patterns and matching all fight for your visual attention and often detract from personal visages or a familial atmosphere.  A good suggestion is to dress a parents  to an outfit of his or her choice and then have complimentary colours or cuts for the children. Children however can be difficult and as they get older, will have their own definite ideas.  If little Johnnie is dead set on wearing on wearing is blue Superman or red Spiderman suit for the family portraiture,  a little persuasion or barter can often work wonders.  5th Step: Get the kids on side.   Now, thinking again of the little ones, should they become and uncooperative before or during your well-planned  photography session. One more, persuasion by bribery is far more likely to achieve the desired co-operation rather than yelling or being the big bad parent. McDonalds Chicken Nuggets have been known to sway cohorts of obstreperous children into obedience, albeit even if often temporary.  The pledge of ice cream at the end of the nuggets meal reward more often than not seals a non-belligerence truce from the stubbornest of children.  6th  Step: Stock- take and gather all your equipment You might want to be more adventurous than taking stills with a phone camera, no matter how god it might be. Perhaps you have fancied yourself as a budding Ansell Adams,  dreamt of f-stops, bracketing exposure, shutter speeds and other SLR techniques. If so then you may have bought, or will buy, a DSLR and if so you will need some telephoto lenses. Any good camera store will cheerfully entertain and cater for all your photographic aspirations. Naturally, you will take a tripod with you, as you can’t always find a handy post, fence or tree. And if your child or children are really young,  don’t forget to take along their favourite toys . Your children will be thrilled to a have their favourite teddy or doll included into the family pictures. 7th Step: Select your Background/Setting The local municipal park during the Autumn season often proffers a most photogenic background and suitable surroundings for your family portraits. Trees, both deciduous and evergreen are everywhere, often with carpets and small mounds of orange, red and yellow leaves for children to play and toss about. Other factors  to consider are the settings and compositions. Consider  for instance choosing a track or path which stretched behind the family group, it gives depth. Position your subject so that the there is no background directly behind the group and the father away  the better. A hazy, blurred background will contract nicely with the sharp focus of your subjects. And do keep the sun at your left or your right, never in front of you, it cast shadows on faces, or behind you, your subjects might squint. 8th  Step: Arranging or positioning your family Some pointers are obvious.  For instance, position the tallest person at the back and the smallest at the front. Adults go at the back, children at the front. You go in last, after clicking the self-timer. If you get sick of running to and fro the camera for the self-timing, consider getting a trigger or shutter switch. And consider setting up for multiple exposures rather  than one at a time, this often  results in more pleasant and pleasant composures.  9th Step: Enjoy yourself.  Your photo shoot session is also a family session, so try to have some fun,  as you and other family members will often look back at that special day. Also try for different family moods.  Crack joke or say something funny, laughing children can be beacons of delights beaming from your lounge room wall.  If there be autumnal, fallen leaves about do muck about them with your family,  play tag,  piggy backs, do different things, encourage others to be jovial, happy and different, you are likely to be pleasantly surprised at the results. And do also take lone stills as well as the groups stills.  10th Step: Print and frame your family photographs.  There’s little point in keeping your stills stored in your camera card or ship. Do give them  to a printer or print them yourself at inexpensive department stores. Mix up your print sizes. 20”x30” prints are great for main walls,  11”x14” ones for secondary walls, other 8”x10"s for relatives and small 4”x6” for collages. We have a "comprehensive range of pre-made, ready-made picture frames, photo frames and collage frames for you to display  your precious family photos!


Thank you for the tips. Most are common sense but likely to be overlooked on the day. I especially agree on the bit about getting the kids on side with jokes, fun and a MacDonalds' treat.
Sharon P. - 4 Jan 2018 08:22 pm
The latest phone cameras are really good and pack a lot of punch in so far that they take really big pictures with very good resolutions. I can print out some of my images to photos up to 16"x20" sixes really nice and sharp. I just practice a bit with the phone settings.
Vladislav K. - 9 Apr 2017 08:36 pm

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