When summer wanes, the season for family portraits bursts to life. The landscape slips into autumnal attire and presents the perfect backdrop for future Christmas cards or living room decor.
Megan Fetters, one of our staff photographers and owner of Fetters Photography, shares her insight on achieving a successful family photo session.
For outdoor photo shoots, understanding light is vital.
“Some tips I keep in my back pocket, from years of successes and failures with different sources of light, is to position the client with their back to the sun if it’s at a high point,” Megan says. “Even though you can get glare into the lens of the camera, it helps the client look more relaxed and avoid squinting.”
The timing of the shoot is equally important. Ideally, right after sunrise or one hour before sunset.
“This hour is called the ‘golden hour.’ It is radiating low sunlight without any sense of high contrast or highlights and shadows,” continues Megan. “The photos come out warmer, richer and almost seem to glow.”
“Posing is very simple for family pictures,” says Megan. “There are certain poses that are my go-to for those more serious family photos, but untraditional photos as well. … While taking untraditional photos, I also like to let the family be natural while not posing them so much towards the end of the photoshoot, to capture that ‘raw’ family feeling. Kids can be goofy; kids are kids. I want to pose people to flatter them, using their hips, shoulders and hands to create angles help the photo turn out the best.”
What to Bring
“This is the most fun part!” Megan says. “I always let the family know to coordinate within their closet.” While all-black is a popular choice among clients, she encourages them to add a pop of flair.
“Myself, being a colorful person, I strive to match their personalities as a family. If they have matching shirts, PJs, hats with their name on them, I push for them to bring that. Also, kids should have clothing they feel best in, that matches the family attire, too.”
Other creative, simple props include signs and blankets.
“Signs definitely add some fun to the photos,” she says. “And I always ask the client to bring a quilt or blanket to get comfy while taking more relaxed photos, which are my favorite.”
—Coordinate within your closet.
—Add a pop of color.
—Wear clothing you feel your best in.
—Position the client with their back to the sun if it’s at a high point.
—Ideally, shoot right after sunrise or one hour before sunset.
—Let kids be natural and goofy.