Professional Photographer to the Rescue: family portrait ideas you’ll treasure forever

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: family portrait ideas you'll treasure forever

In our latest Professional Photographer to the Rescue post, our pro suggests some simple family portrait ideas and portrait photography tips that can liven up your group photos to give you more dynamic images, whether it’s your own family portrait photography or a client’s.

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: family portrait ideas you'll treasure forever

Meet our professional photographer

Neill Menneer runs Spirit Contemporary Photography, a photo studio in Bath that specialises in family portraits. Neill also runs photography courses in the studio, and on location around the picturesque city. See more of his work.

Meet our apprentice

Paul Furniss runs an ink cartridge recycling and refilling business in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. In the evenings he often converts his shop into a makeshift studio, where he’s undertaken several shoots of family and friends with his Elincrom lighting kit and backdrop set. He’d like to go pro, and wanted our help in taking his portrait photography to the next level.

Technique assessment

After an initial round of shots, Neill suggested that Paul changed his camera settings for capturing perfect portraits

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: technique assessment


“Paul had been shooting in RAW mode, which is great for rescuing shots that have been under- or overexposed, or taken on the wrong white balance setting and the like, but in a studio there’s no reason not to get everything spot-on in-camera in the first place. I’ll take around 150 shots in a one-hour session, so having them as JPEGs means editing is faster, file sizes are smaller, and by selecting the Portrait Picture Style you have a head start when it comes to processing.”

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: technique assessment

Exposure settings
“Paul had set the maximum flash sync speed of 1/250 sec – but while this is fine with Speedlites, it isn’t so good with studio flash in my experience. I got him to shoot in Manual at 1/160 sec and f/10, with ISO125 – it’s the speed of the burst of flash and generous depth of field that combine to freeze movement and capture sharp shots. With the exposure locked, we then adjusted the power on my studio lights to brighten and darken the setup, until the exposure was good.”

PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer & apprentice
PAGE 2: During the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear


19 stellar posing tips and camera tricks for flattering pictures of older people
Male Poses: 17 tips to make him confident and comfortable for your camera
Maternity photography ideas: 17 tips for pregnancy photos she’ll cherish forever
Our most popular portrait photography tutorials of 2012