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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

How to Take Fabulous Family Photos

Family beachAround any holiday, our family likes to take photos.  It might be us around the holiday table, or engaged in a certain activity, or on a special day excursion.  This week, we took some absolutely lovely photos at the beach.

Our family always has some general things that we do that make our pictures pop with personality.  We never use professional photographers, although that could be helpful.  (They generally don’t seem to “get” our family, and we feel more relaxed on our own.)

So, how do we do it?

Here’s your guide on how to take fabulous family photos, the secret tips from the conoscenti.img_40711

1.  Wear similarly-colored clothes, and avoid any type of print.  One person in polkadots, and another in stripes, or a slogan on a t-shirt will detract from the family being the center of attention.  We wore denim shirts, jackets, or blazers with jeans skirts or khaki pants on the beach.  And it happened to be quite cold that afternoon!  I’ve seen other beautiful beach photos with everyone in white shirts of various types, the blue water in the background.  We avoided white, since none of us has a tan, lol.

3750552570_e1f215ac692.  Bright colors also work well if you’re going to have a monochromatic background,  Our blues looked beautiful on the beige beach sand.  If you’re taking pictures on a sailboat, surrounded by blue, have your subjects wear red polo shirts, or orange windbreakers.  When it comes to photos, bright is usually better.

3.  Take photos early in the morning, or late in the afternoon.  Or, even better, aim for a cloudy day!  Sunlight in the eyes and casting shadows is too much, causing under-eye and under-chin shadows.  Or, Uncle Joshua is standing in front of Aunt Sarah in terms of light.  As they say, “Let there be light.”  Just not bright light.

Repeat after me:  Bright clothing, and dull, diffused sunlight.

4.  Be ready to pose for several photos:  standing, walking, sitting.  We were walking toward the camera, walking lefevre-avalon-beach-family-photographyaway from the camera, linking arms, holding hands.  If the folks in your crowd are not so coordinated to walk and smile at the same time, sit.  It worked for us:  a peaceful tableau seated on the sand.  We used a timer on the camera, so someone has to be quick, run and set it, and run back to get into place.  I’m sure they have remote controls, but not in our house.  We like to make things difficult.

5.  Pay attention to arms and legs.  If you’re seated, plan for half the legs to curl behind them to the left, and the other half to curl behind them to the right.  Give a little guidance to where hands might be placed, as well, without looking too staged, as in everyone’s hands overlapped on their knees.  (That’s what a professional in a studio may ask you to do, and it just looks weird to me.)  Be natural.  Well, maybe not.  Be staged-natural, similar to how wearing “natural makeup” does not mean going without.

IMG_4120SBweb6.  If the smiles appear too “stiff”, somebody tell a joke.  Please.  Lighten up.  Laugh.  It just looks genuine.  Because it is.

7.  Find an interesting background that’s different, but not too much so.  We mentioned a beach, whether sand, sea, or marsh.  Maybe an old building with peeling paint.  Could be a bright mural of a wall.  Take a few test shots and see if the lines are dramatic enough for you, like a white Bauhaus building full of curvy lines and glamour.  A textured wall may add interest, while trying to avoid any spiky plants “growing” out of your head.  What’s great about digital cameras is that you can instantly delete and try, try, again.

That’s it.  Happy do-it-yourself picture-taking for about 10 cents a print.  Read a book together on the couch.  Pose with croquet mallets on the south lawn.  Bake some bread in chefs’ hats in the kitchen.

This is your family.  Make some photo memories today!




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