For most amateur photographers, taking memorable portraits of their family is one of the greatest benefits of their hobby. It’s also really handy – after all, you’re around your family more often than most other subjects and know their characters inside out.
They’ll also feel more relaxed and easy in your presence than another photographer, so you’ve got everything working in your favour if you follow our advice. In this tutorial we share some of our best family portrait ideas for babies, children and a range of different events when you might want to pull out your camera.
Family Portrait Ideas for Babies
The arrival of a new baby always brings out the cameras, and the small children make great subjects all the way through the early years of childhood (right up until the age when they realise they can bargain for chocolate or video games).
But while babies and toddlers might be supremely photogenic, they usually have their own agenda. They’re not much interested in cameras, sitting still or smiling on demand a dozen times in a row.
You can usually persuade adult subjects to perform when required, but children represent a special challenge for the family portrait photographer.
Babies are often not in the mood to be put down, so you may get better results if you photograph both parent and baby together.
Indeed, the relationship between the two can produce a more rewarding picture than a baby on its own.
Babies get bored, too, and you may have to find something more interesting to do than simply pointing a camera.
Peek-a-boo games can prompt a spontaneous smile, while brightly-coloured toys dangled just above the camera lens are good for generating expressions of concentration or wide-eyed wonder.
Toddlers may be easier to deal with in some ways but harder in others. By this age they will have developed their own personality and may not be at all interested in what you’re trying to do.
You may have to abandon any attempt at formal, static portraits and find an absorbing activity instead and just try to fit in with it. Why not ask them to show you their favourite toy, or find out what they like doing and ask if you can photograph them doing it?
You may have to abandon any attempts at posed shots and just grab pictures as and when you can.
This is the advantage of digital cameras, of course – you can afford to take dozens of shots and simply discard those which don’t work out.
Toddlers have a habit of darting around unpredictably, which means you’ll need to use faster shutter speeds – and this in turn may mean higher ISOs when shooting indoors.
Focusing will be quite a headache, and it’s usually pretty pointless trying to get your subjects sharp while you’re chasing them around the house.
Instead, try to predict moments of stillness – maybe find an activity they have to stand still for.
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