We had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday and I want to pinch myself that I get to be the mom to these sweet boys of mine. While it looked different, in a way it was the best Mother’s Day ever. I think all of our expectations have been reset and we really are appreciating the little things these days. For me, the little thing was the gift of a successful family photo shoot. As we discussed our Mother’s Day plans on Saturday, I let the family know I really only had one “wish” for the day- to get a family photo. These photos have become true treasures of mine, so today I am sharing my best Family Photo Shoot Tips for you to do at home!
As you mamas know, getting a family photo is sometimes a stressful event and can end with frustration. Hiring a professional can be expensive and sometimes disappointing. So while I am no professional, I have been “torturing” my family snapping our own family photos for some time now so I figured I would share a few tips I have found helpful for a successful at home family photo shoot.
Family Photo Shoot Tips
EQUIPMENT || Family Photo Shoot Tips
For our photo shoots, I use my big-girl camera, a tripod and a remote clicker on the timer so I will break down below what I used to get this family photo. However, if you don’t have a real camera, your iphone can be a great option- I use my phone camera for blog photos all the time and get great results!
- Tripod – I have this exact tripod that I use with my Canon Rebel. When I am using my Canon to take pictures, I turn the viewing screen around so I can see the picture from where we are sitting.
- Camera – I have a Canon Rebel that we bought before the boys were born. While it was a big investment, I use it all the time for the blog and family pictures! But if you don’t have a camera, your iphone is a great option! Don’t let not having a camera be your excuse.
- Camera Remote – I have this exact remote to use with my Canon.
- Iphone Tripod & Remote Set – if you are using your phone camera, you can always use the timer, but that can get real tricky real fast. This is a small investment and makes a HUGE difference in being able to get situated and not have to run back and forth to take the picture.
- Lightroom App- This is a free app on your phone that can do some pretty amazing things with editing photos. I always like to brighten my pictures when I edit them by increasing exposure and brightness.
PREPARE || Family Photo Shoot Tips
If you want to avoid being super annoyed the day of your photo shoot- it’s all about being prepared and setting your family’s expectations. Here is what I do to prepare, and it always helps things go more smoothly.
- Make sure your equipment is 100 percent ready to go the day before. Set up the tripod, charge the battery, make sure your memory card has room, etc.
- Make sure your family knows your expectations so there are no surprises the day of. I always get my husbands buy-in first, then we get the boys on board. I do all negotiating ahead of time too. (If you wear nice clothes for the picture, you can put your Under Amour back on ASAP)
- Get your outfits 10000000 percent ready the day before (more on that below)
- Think through where you are going to set everyone up, and if you have time- do a test shot before to get your angle ready. Anything you can do to make it swift the day-of is a win. Your entire goal of the actual photo shoot is to make it as fast as possible.
- Think about which shots you want to get. For example- I knew I wanted a picture of the four of us, one of them all kissing me on the cheek, and one of the two boys together. If I think it through before, it helps things move along while the photo shoot is happening.
OUTFITS || Family Photo Shoot Tips
This is such a big part of the pictures so having outfits figured out is a huge piece of the puzzle. I would recommend having everything laid out down to the shoes for your entire crew the night before. (Especially during this quarantine! Have you tried getting your entire family dressed lately- phew- we were out of practice!) I usually start with what I would like to wear and go from there. This was a super casual shoot but I have also been doing these pictures for our annual Christmas card- and those are a little more formal and it can be a lot of fun to get holiday outfits picked out.
TIMING || Family Photo Shoot Tips
Make sure you allow yourself enough time but plan to move super fast. I try to kill two birds with one stone when doing these shoots. So if I know we will already be dressed up to go somewhere, I try to carve out time before we have to leave to snap the photos. While this can add extra pressure to getting out the door, if you are prepared and plan ahead- I promise it can be done! For example- if you are heading to church- give yourself an extra 15 minutes and do the photo shoot then. One big tip on timing and placement of your shoot is to make sure you are not in direct sunlight. We snapped these at 8:45am on Sunday morning when the sun was still behind the house. Direct sunlight is a big NO.
RELAX!!! || Family Photo Shoot Tips
This is probably my number one tip. Take a deep breath and try to have fun. Oh, and LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. I always tell myself, remember “I just need one picture!” If I want an entire photo shoot with different angles and positions- I need to hire a professional. If I just want to capture a moment in time with the four of us- I just need ONE with everyone looking and smiling. And guess what? This is the most beautiful part of doing it yourself. If it doesn’t work- you can always try again next weekend. With practice, it gets easier for everyone and we can now have a photo shoot in less than 5 minutes.
I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions below! I really want these Family Photo Shoot Tips to be an encouragement to try this at home. It has been a very rewarding thing for me to be able to do for myself and I truly cherish these family photos. Just remember that old saying- “Fail to Plan- Plan to Fail” and you can pull this off- I promise!