Going back in the history of photography, you will notice that back when cameras started to become popular, people would not use them to photograph artsy abstract subjects or sculptures, but rather pictures of the people they knew. Taking photographs at the turn of the century was a very expensive and time consuming affair which is the reason why most people could only afford to get one good photograph of their families, and thus the family portrait was born.
Family portraits are popular amongst consumers because they are used to capture a specific time period when the family was experiencing an important event or occasion. This is why people will usually wear very fancy clothes and get their hair and make-up done. Even though photographic technology has come a long ways and a camera is available pretty much anywhere, a family portrait still signifies an important occasion for any families.
In order to get the best results possible it is important to take some considerations prior, during and after your portrait session in order to get the best results possible.
When doing a family portrait it is important to crowd people together, this will portray an image of closeness between family members and will ensure that the photo irradiates a sense of warmth and trustiness. Most photographers will take a person’s age into consideration when placing people around the studio so make sure to discuss this with your client beforehand. Another thing to watch out for is blinking, which is very common when taking photographs and the more people you have on the picture, the greater the chances are of someone accidentally blinking. Your customer won’t be too happy if it looks like someone’s not smiling or falling asleep. Finally, it might be a good idea to blur the background in order to focus our attention on the subjects once the pictures are ready to be printed.
Some of the things to avoid or to watch out for when doing family portraits should be common sense for most photographers but are still worth mentioning. Don’t forget that illumination conditions and camera settings will need to change depending on your surroundings and subjects, check your camera settings and make sure to match the image type you’re trying to capture. Never allow subjects to move or tilt their heads looking right into each other, it will look awkward and unnatural. Instead, ask your subjects to look in the same direction or to avoid tilting their heads in order to get a more natural posture.
Finally, remember to talk to your customer in order to make sure you know exactly what they’re trying to get out of their shoot, make sure you can meet their expectations and give them enough information so that they can make an educated decision on what their want for their shoot. Don’t assume that you will always inequitably know what the customer wants. Make sure to discuss all the possibilities and to prepare for a worst case scenario.