Family photos are a priceless treasure that capture some of our favourite moments together. Now that smartphone and digital camera ownership is widespread, taking lots of pictures together is easier than ever – but sometimes we sacrifice quality for quantity. Do you need help managing the logistics of capturing a special moment with your loved ones? Read on for lots of photography tips and tricks that will make your family look and feel great.
Don't be shy
Orchestrating a successful group shot requires confidence and the ability to give directions. With large groups that might include grandparents, aunts and uncles, teenagers, and children, herding everyone into the same place presents enough of a challenge – let alone getting them to pose and smile for the camera at the same time. Don't be afraid to speak loudly, get up close to adjust people's postures and poses, and give a clear count-down to get the most successful shot.
One frustrating thing about being the person that initiates group photos is that you're often behind the lens, so you end up being conspicuously missing from most pictures of family events. Make sure that you're in a few of the shots with a convenient wireless remote shutter device. These remotes not only reduce shutter vibration for tripod shots for a clearer picture, but also allow you to slip into the frame and take a photo from far away with the press of a button.
Give yourself lots of options
Burst mode is a helpful tool for photographing families, especially fidgeting kids and pets.The feature allows you to press or hold the shutter button to capture rapid-fire photos in a very short period of time. Modern cameras like the Samsung NX1 Smart Camera can shoot up to 30 frames per second, allowing you to browse through a wide selection of frames to find a photo where no one is blinking, yawning or caught mid-sentence.
Samsung NX1's Auto Shot mode and Wide Phase Detection also helps track moving subjects to deliver clearer photos.
For years, photographers have carefully arranged family members into tiers, with tall people standing in the back and centre, surrounded by those shorter than them. This takes time to arrange and doesn't always produce the best photos – inevitably, someone is partially obscured by a shoulder or is shifting uncomfortably at the front of the crowd. Instead, take to higher ground. Find something tall to stand on, like a sturdy chair or ledge, and let people arrange themselves naturally. The results? You can capture more of your family's smiling faces, and shots look slimming and more organic.
Try a little tenderness
For wow-worthy family photos, don't be afraid to ask everyone to squeeze in. Begin with positioning everyone closer together, which logistically helps by allowing you to focus on your loved ones' faces. That's not all – asking everyone to pose while in contact with each other produces more intimate and heart-warming photos. Try suggesting subtly leaning into the crook of someone's neck, posing cheek-to-cheek, or resting a hand on a loved one's shoulder.
Remember the pyramid
When families arrange themselves, they tend to pose in a straight line, with everyone sitting or standing side-by-side. This often results in stiff and slightly uneven compositions where everyone looks acceptable, but not great. For sweeter shots, arrange family members' faces into a pyramid shape in your mind. For example, a loving father could form the top of the pyramid, perhaps with his wife at his shoulder level, and their children forming the outer corners of the triangle, making for a more dynamic and visually-appealing shot than the typical row of faces.
Use a top-down approach
Photos of the whole family are a special treasure, but require a lot of manoeuvring. Because some family members tire easily – particularly the elderly or very young – make sure you get casual or formal group shots out of the way first, while everyone is looking fresh and feeling energetic. Then, gradually subtract subjects from your shot for a series of smaller portraits or carefree candid shots. It's interesting to see the way different friendships and dynamics between family members produce a diverse array of striking photos.
Keep them smiling
Portraits can look uncomfortable if they're not organised correctly. We see "My face hurts from smiling," and "Did he get the shot?" through the blank-eyed, stiff expression of many photography subjects. The best family pictures are ones that capture a moment of genuine happiness, so try to coax a genuine smile out of your photography subjects by telling them a funny joke, asking them to do a silly pose for the first shot, or complimenting them on what an attractive bunch they are.
Share with your loved ones
How often has a family member said, "Send that to me!" after you snap some photos? Now that you know how to take the perfect group shot, share these precious moments with everyone quickly and easily with a Bluetooth and WiFi-enabled camera. Samsung NX1 Smart Camera allows instant transfer of even high-res photos to mobile phones and other devices, so your family can print and frame their special memories and enjoy them for years to come.