Photoshoots are great, but unless you plan one on a monthly basis you’ll need to find a way to incorporate everyday family photography into your life. Fortunately, lifestyle or everyday family photography is fairly easy to incorporate into your day, if you have a few tools to work with.
Tip #1: Phone or Camera?
Yes, Smartphone cameras are improving dramatically, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to use a good camera when you have the opportunity. Camera photos, particularly DSLR or mirrorless images, are crisper, clearer, and will give you a consistently better final product.
So, if you don’t already, it might be time to invest in an entry-level camera and a few lenses, as well as a bag so you can keep it handy.
Extra Tip: If you do plan to use your smartphone (perhaps when it’s too cumbersome to carry your camera all the time), check out the options it can offer. Some higher-end phone cameras have similar capabilities to a more advanced camera – such as adjusting ISO, exposure, shutter speed, etc.
Tip #2: Preparation is Key
You can’t expect to take great everyday photos if your camera is not always ready for you! It might mean swapping out batteries on a daily basis so there’s always a fresh one in your camera waiting for use. Always have your camera bag packed as well, so you have no excuse not to grab it on your way out the door.
Tip #3: Not just Faces
If you’re accustomed to portraiture, then everyday photography might present a new challenge – stepping back and taking in the details. This strategy can take some getting used to, but initially, you’re just looking to capture images of your family doing what they do – cooking, cleaning, playing, reading, running, etc.
You can also choose to focus on details: little hands holding a cookie, a smile, paint on the paper, making a message with Cheerios, anything that you think would make a great photo.
Tip #4: Find the Light
Natural light is a photographer’s best friend and means you’ll have one less thing to worry about when it comes to composing your family lifestyle portrait or choosing settings. If you find yourself with blurry images, you might need more light to compensate. Ideally, try to find more ways to let light in the room (whether through windows or with lamps) before you think about using flash.
Tip #5: All the Angles
Eye-level is a typical (and good) way to approach a photo, but it’s not the only way to take a family portrait or lifestyles photo. Photos from below or above will provide a different perspective. By being different than typical family photos, you’ll bring more attention to what’s in the frame.
You can start by looking for opportunities for a different perspective: a hill your family can climb, a playground, the top of some stairs, even the second floor of your home, looking up or down.
Tip #6: Family Fun
Typically the best family photo moments happen candidly and organically, but this might not always coincide with you having a camera on hand. So you might have to stage the image just a little, while still creating a natural (not posed) image. Some suggestions include:
- Making family dinner
- Game night
- Playing soccer
- Playing with friends/siblings/cousins
- Going to the park
- Exploring the woods
- Visiting another town
- Going to the beach
Remember, all you need for a great family lifestyle photo is for everyone to be having a good time, although sometimes the photos when they do not have fun turn out to be the most memorable!
Tip #7: Practice Makes Perfect!
Don’t be discouraged if your first few everyday family photos aren’t perfect. Keep in mind that you are a) learning a new skill and b) still capturing the fun and memorable moments of your family’s life. Continue to practice and you’ll see an immediate improvement in your craft, guaranteed. Of course, we can help you find the skills you need with a kids photography workshop if you’re looking for quick improvement!