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A Heart For Home: Tips for Taking Family Photos {TIPsters}

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tips for Taking Family Photos {TIPsters}

Make sure you visit Kristin & Christy for their thoughts on today’s topic.

I am by no means an expert photographer. In fact, although I dream of having a fancy DSLR, my only camera is a Canon point and shoot. 

But I don't think that has to stop me from taking pictures of my family. I love taking pictures of our daily lives. I love capturing the ways our children are growing and the interaction between family members.

So here are my Top Ten Tips for Taking Family Photos
Be sure to check out my Photography Inspiration Board for lots of great ideas.

1. Use natural light. Take pictures when and where you don't need to use the flash. Also, make your subject's eyes sparkle by having them look toward a natural source of light (like a window).

2. Take lots of candid shots, but sprinkle in a few posed ones, too. Candid photographs tend to capture personalities and emotions better, but it is nice to try to get a photo of everyone smiling at the camera every once in a while.

(Yes, Amelia was this pink when she was a newborn.)

3. Realize that with small children, having someone not looking at the camera is better than having someone crying :)

4. Take lots of pictures. This is the huge benefit of digital photography, you can take 50 pictures and only decide to pay for printing the very best one or two.

5. Capture the same event every month or year. Since Amelia was born last August, we've been taking a photo of her in the same location (and onesie) each month. I love seeing how she's growing! I had a friend growing up whose parents took a picture every year of their children's expressions when they first came down the stairs on Christmas morning.

6. Take pictures of the messy. Don't just fill your albums or scrapbooks with the beautiful, staged, cleaned-up-for-a-photo shots, but let your children remember life how it actually was. Pictures of laundry mountains and cookie-baking kitchen disasters could bring back wonderful memories for them. This also goes for simply taking pictures in general. Looking back, your kids won't care if you didn't have the best camera or didn't really know how to take good pictures.

7. Don't always be behind the camera. I'm actually really bad at this one, but find ways to get yourself into pictures with your family. Ask someone else to take a picture or use some of these creative ways to photograph yourself with your kids. And don't worry, they won't care if your shirt has a spot on it or if your hair is a mess, looking back, they'll just love seeing you involved in their childhood.

8. Edit your photos. Even with free online editing tools (my favorite is you can make a photo look much better than it did straight-out-of-the-camera.

9. For the posed family shots it helps to have a photographer's assistant. Recently our extended family got together for Father's Day and decided to take a new family photo. Unfortunately, the only time we could take one was after the older kids woke up from a much-too-short nap and before Amelia went down for a much needed nap. Having a family friend there to dance and act silly was so much better than just telling the kids to smile.

10. Your turn...What are some of your tips for taking family photos? Please, share your ideas in the comments section.

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A Heart for Home

Coming Soon:
August 7: Schooling Kids of Different Ages
August 21: Teaching Kids to Read

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Anonymous Anabelle said...

Thank you for the tips. You are right on having someone look away being better than a crying model. I'm definitely going to visit picmonkey. I use pixl-o-matic since I don't have instagram.

July 17, 2012 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great tips and I loved your examples. Thanks.

July 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

This is so unrelated, but did you delay cord clamping when Amelia was born? We did with Alaine and she was very red/pink for weeks. :-)

July 17, 2012 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Christina Morley said...

Hi Allyson! I found you through TrueAim and am now following you through Pinterest. I really like your tips and I'm glad to hear that your camera is as fancy as mine. Hahaha! I thought the tip about having the child look at a window to help the eyes sparkle is a really good idea. I find that it's not always easy to get the kids not to pose. The moment my 4-year-old sees the camera, she does a camera smile, but sometimes I just want her to be herself. I have a photography blog at

July 18, 2012 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Karie with Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market said...

stopping by via lil luna link party. Thanks for sharing the ideas!

July 19, 2012 at 1:29 AM  
Blogger Carole said...

Great tips. Glad I found this through It's a Keeper's linky party. I linked in a salad using leftover roast lamb. Have a super week.

July 19, 2012 at 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Judy @ Contented at Home said...

No DSLR for me, either--I've got a Canon point-and-shoot, and it works for me! These are excellent pointers. Thanks for sharing!

July 19, 2012 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

great tips, thanks so much for sharing!!!

July 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love the month by month thing. It would be really fun if you continued to take a picture every month in a similar shirt as she grows. Thanks for linking up at Mom's Library!

July 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM  

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