How to make a success of your family photo at Christmas?

Christmas is fast approaching! It’s time for many of us to take a joyful and gourmet family interlude to end the year on a high note. And who says holidays, parties, meals, family… says photos! So many opportunities to take advantage of to take beautiful family photos. So how can you take great family photos and still enjoy the moment? Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of the holidays and get the most out of your camera!

Prerequisite: it’s Christmas, so have fun!

First of all: no pressure, the festive season is a time for everyone to enjoy! Do you want to capture the good times and then immortalise them in a beautiful family photo album or in a few decorative frames? To do so, relax, enjoy the moment and shoot. Your photos will be all the more successful if they capture the heart of the party and if you enjoy it!

Let yourself be carried away by the festive atmosphere of the moment and above all: be organized, that’s the key! If everything is ready before the party, everything should go well. An empty memory card, a loaded camera at hand and you’re ready to go.

To help you prepare for your family photo shoots, follow the guide :

  •     Technical tips for successful family photos
  •         Think about the decor
  •         Take care of the composition of your family photos
  •         Manage light
  •         Manage distance and alternate frames
  •     Making a success of posed family photos and natural photos
  •         The grouped family photo
  •         The other family photos posed
  •         Family photos taken on the spot

Technical advice for successful family photos

Hardware-wise, not too many questions to ask, whether you are Reflex, hybrid or compact you can make a great photo shoot of your family. The majority of cameras today offer good image quality. The idea is above all to be prepared, attentive and reactive. Whatever your camera is, you need to know it well, know how to adjust it if necessary and above all be comfortable with it. The goal is that you are a family photographer who enjoys shooting and who participates fully in the party!

Think about the decor

Christmas is a special time to capture your loved ones. Between smile, complicity, surprise… expressions will not be lacking. The particularity of Christmas is its very special and warm atmosphere. You are in love with this atmosphere, so immortalize it!

Remember to take family photos in the “off” moments, before the hustle and bustle of the champagne glasses and gift wrap. A beautifully decorated Christmas tree, a fireplace, giant, colourful socks, slippers tucked away under the tree, a beautifully decorated table, gifts waiting quietly under the tree, a view out the window in the quiet early morning of December 25th, etc. These shots will allow you to play with colours, light, deep field effects, they are a good playground in the quiet, before the Christmas madness. Moreover, they will bring an aesthetic touch to your future family photo albums.

Take care of the composition of your family photos

As with all photography, one must always keep in mind the basic rules of composition.

A successful photo is above all a well composed photo! For that, here are some advices:

  •     Be rigorous on your framing: do not cut the feet or arms of your subjects by going too fast!
  •     Always be attentive to your environment and try to integrate it into your photos. Everything that goes into your frame must be interesting and must bring something to your photo.
  •     Respect the rule of thirds: in your mind, cut your image to thirds (2 lines cutting the photo into 3 equal horizontal stripes, 2 lines cutting the photo into 3 equal vertical stripes), then try to place the important elements on these imaginary lines or at their crossings which are the strong points of your image.
  •     Fill the frame: your subjects must occupy enough space in your photo, they must not get lost in the middle of a scene or drown among other elements.
  •     Pay attention to elements that could distract attention from the heart of your photo (large objects, bright colours, scenes in the background, etc.).
  •     Take care of the shooting angle, it is essential! Get up to the level of your subjects, don’t take them from a backdrop, for example, this distorts faces, etc.

Manage light

Make maximum use of the natural or existing lights around you. Avoid the use of flash as much as possible, although it is sometimes very useful, its light is aggressive and the rendering very unnatural. If you have a hybrid or a reflex camera, this is the time to play with your lenses and especially with the aperture setting to capture a maximum of natural light. On most cameras, you can also increase the ISO sensitivity.

Think about the exposure of your family photos, so that they are neither too dark nor too light. In a brightly lit room or outside, if possible, stand with your back to the light source to avoid backlighting. However, if you want to capture your loved ones in front of a sunset for example, use the flash to prevent them from being in the shade.

For your outdoor photos, prefer the middle or late afternoon which will give you a softer light.

Finally, if necessary, take the flash out anyway! Indoors, when the light is low and your subjects are agitated, the flash becomes indispensable, it will allow you to avoid blurred family photos.

Manage the distance and alternate frames

Family portraits, group photos, posed or live photos… don’t hesitate to juggle between distances and shots. The goal is to make your pictures come alive, to make your future family photo album dynamic and to make you feel like you’ve captured all those moments from the inside.

As a general rule, be careful not to get too far away from your loved ones, the idea is not to have as many people in each photo as possible, but rather to multiply the shots that really capture the emotions and expressions of each face. Don’t forget that faces will bring intensity and authenticity to your family photos. To do this, be close to your subjects, favour small groups and multiply the shots.

Successful family photos posed and natural photos

Successful family photos posed and natural photos

A question arises: should people be asked or not? The answer is simple: yes and no! To make a success of your family photos, we advise you to alternate posed photos and photos taken on the spot, which are more natural. These two types of photos are indeed complementary. The rule is: it all depends on the moment and your inspiration.

Posing often rhymes with a tense look… Your weapons to counter it: humour and relaxation! Talk to your subjects and put them at ease, after all, let’s not forget that “we’re family”.

The grouped family photo

For group photos, an essential part of family reunions, posing is essential. A piece of advice, do a location scouting beforehand in order to choose the ideal location and time for the shot. As mentioned above, think about the light, the exposure, the frame and the composition of your photo.

Always be in control. Make sure everyone is present and that you have everyone’s attention. Don’t hesitate to place people, to avoid the “onion row” effect. Positioning people at different heights, sitting, standing, staggered, will allow you to compose a more dynamic image. You can also play with the decor, by having your family pose on a staircase for example, this will bring originality and depth to your photo.

If you have a tripod, now is the time to use it! And don’t forget to use the self-timer function, so you can join the family photo in a few steps.

The other family photos posed

Naturally, your loved ones will pose alone or with others. In this case, jump at the opportunity and play the posed photo thoroughly, asking them to move around to ensure a good composition, to change position or to put themselves in a situation with each other to obtain the effect you want.

In general, for your family photo shoots, opt for mini-groups (3 to 4 people): these allow everyone to be more comfortable and offer more natural, even complicit faces.

Family reunions are also the perfect time to take beautiful family portraits of each of your loved ones. Here again, do a location scouting to find a nice corner and prepare it beforehand (composition, light). Then, wait for the right moment to take turns isolating yourself with your family members.

Family photos taken on the spot

To take nice family photos: steal them! Indeed, it is not enough to just take posed photos. On the contrary, you must multiply the more natural shots, capturing images in the heart of the moments you share. Natural family photos are the most difficult to take, but they are also the most beautiful, the most authentic and they faithfully reflect memories.

To achieve this, be prepared, discreet and attentive. It is your reactivity that will help you capture the most beautiful images.

The challenge for the family photographer is this: to live the moment while capturing it spontaneously. Do not hesitate to multiply the shots during laughter or animated discussions, you will discover beautiful surprises during the development of your images.

A piece of advice: make children your accomplices! Sing, play and laugh with them! They will forget the camera’s clickety-clack and will naturally look good on your pictures, and who knows, they might help you to relax the general atmosphere during family photo shoots.

Finally, take a break and don’t hesitate to turn the camera around, after all you too should be part of these family memories!

You’re all set for the festive season, so it’s up to you! And to prolong these family moments, remember to sort and develop your future photos before printing them out in a beautiful family photo album, in a Photo Box, pretty decorative photo frames, or even on a photo collage.