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How to Take Your Own Family Photos

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It has been such an exciting time around here as of late.  I hit the halfway point in my pregnancy with our second little girl a few weeks ago, woohoo!  I'm 25 weeks now and can't believe that in three short months we will be a family of four!  It was also Henley's third birthday this past week...where does the time go?! Feeling slightly emotional about our growing family and my little girl growing up, I knew I wanted to take some family pictures to document this special time in or lives.  In addition, the rains this past winter have brought us some gorgeous greenery and wildflowers, particularly at the location where my husband and I had our engagement pictures taken six years ago at this time...so, score!

I love pictures and photography is an amateur hobby of mine, especially when it involves my family. In the last few years, the pricing for a photographer seems to be going way up, when the amount of pictures you get back is going way down.  I don't want to pay a few hundred dollars for a few pictures, and I know you don't either.  If you have the time and want to put in a little effort, taking your family's pictures is totally do-able.  Here are some tips to take your own family photos:



Outfits, Props, and Poses:
Before our shoot, I searched Pinterest for photo ideas and poses that I wanted to recreate for each type of photo (myself/maternity, my daughter, me and my daughter, my husband and daughter, my husband and I, and all three of us).  I saved the ones I liked most in an album in my phone so I could quickly and easily find them and reference them while we were taking pictures.  I also looked at outfit ideas and put together each of our ensembles for the photos.  I brought along a white blanket that I had (lighter color blankets work best for light and bright photos).  I also planned on using some of the wildflowers from the field for props and picked some when we got there.





Camera
I have a Canon DSLR type of camera but it isn't top of the line by any means (Rebel T4i).  If you have a DSLR, use that!  If you have another type of digital camera, you could use that too.  Either way, get to know your camera, and look online for how to take photos with the look you are going for.  I love natural light photography with no flash, so that is what I aim for.   There are TONS of tutorials out there and that is how I have learned to use my camera (and I still have a LOT to learn).

Here is a link full of helpful cheat sheets for photograhy: http://www.u-createcrafts.com/cheat-sheets-photographer/

Location and Time:
Figure out where you want to take your photos.  I usually opt for places outdoors, especially where you won't have a lot of people around to worry about being in the background of your pictures.  Think of large parks, state/county parks, open fields, or beaches.  Next, figure out a time that you would like to take your pictures.  I aim for late afternoon because the sun is not super harsh in the sky and the lighting before sunset or "golden hour" produces some beautiful pictures.  If you can, try to go on a weekday when there will be less people out and about.  For these pictures, we got to the park around 3:45 on a Wednesday and there were only a couple of people around, which was perfect!


A Helper/Tripod
If you have a family member or friend to help take group photos...bring them!!!  For this shoot, my mom came along and took pictures of all three of us or the ones of myself while my husband entertained our daughter for a bit.  For the photos of me and my daughter, my mom and husband switched off taking pictures.  Out of the three of us, I am the one who knows how to use my camera and take the best photos, so in between some of the shots, I would check the lighting and make any changes to the settings on my camera.  I also told them where to stand when taking the pictures for the most part.  If you do not have a young child to watch, I'm sure you could enlist your husband to take pictures of you while you are not behind the camera.  We have used a tripod on other occasions, which works too, but it is a lot easier to bring someone to take pictures for you.  I have also traded services with a friend, where she took my family pictures and I took hers, so if you have a friend who likes to take photos, then I would suggest something like this!



Editing
I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos.  It isn't cheap, but they do have options where you can pay monthly (around $10 a month).  If you take a lot of pictures, it is worth it!  I also have Photoshop but I prefer Lightroom because it is streamlined to photos only, easier to use, and has so many editing options that are awesome.  I looked for lots of different tutorials on how to edit photos in Lightroom and how to edit to the style that I was looking for (light, bright, and natural looking).  Pretty Presets for Lightroom has some great tutorials to offer here. There are other free options for editing, and one that I like to use is Picmonkey, and a tutorial for editing photos can be found here.











I was so happy with how our photos turned out.  I think that they are comparable to many that I have seen that were taken by photographers in my area.  So, I do believe that it is absolutely possible to take your own family photos!   If you have any questions, feel free to ask!


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