Photography Tips For Better Family Albums


By Jessica D Festa

Remember the days of family albums and thoughtful photos? It wasn’t that people were chock-full of photography tips, but before digital deletion and unlimited camera rolls, shutterbugs had to be careful of what pictures they took, treasuring each print.

In an effort to get back to the days of cherished family pictures, use the following photography tips to help them look polished and professional:

When You Want to Capture a Holiday Family Photo

During the holidays, you’ll likely have some bright props like Christmas trees and menorahs in the background. The issue: these objects photograph much brighter than your subject. However, if you adjust the exposure for the brightness, your photo will be dark; if you expose for your subject, your photo will be too bright.

Using a flash—ideally an external flash like the External Portable Flash Light by Godox—is your best solution. Move your subject away from any bright lights and point your flash upward to bounce off the ceiling and illuminate your subject. If you want more ambient light from the room, slow your camera’s shutter speed.

When You’re Shipping One Off

Sending your child to college is a big step in both of your lives. Shutterfly is an impressive option for capturing the beautiful memories. Nowadays, it’s common to take a bunch of photos and then let them sit on your SD card, or upload them to Facebook, unlikely to ever scroll through them again.

Remember the good ol’ days of albums you actually flipped through? Shutterfly takes the hassle out of album-making, as you can upload your portraits to the site, choose your theme, personalize the look, and have their team create gorgeous photo books you’ll treasure forever.

When Your Child Heads to Prom

What’s great about prom photos is that everyone already looks their best. If possible, shoot these photos in natural light (preferably on a cloudy day, to avoid harsh shadows).

To enhance the photos even further, use the Portable 5-in-1 Collapsible Round Multi Disc Light Reflector by Neewer to bounce light onto the areas of your subject that need it. The silver reflector is great for beginners, though for outdoor prom photos, the gold reflector gives a warm glow to the shoot. Simply have your subjects (or a helpful assistant) hold the reflector so that sunlight bounces off of it and onto them.

When Kids Are Being Kids

Shooting little ones for family albums comes with its own (fixable) challenges. First off, get a “fast lens” (a lens with a large maximum aperture) so you can take clear photos even when the kids are running around. And don’t forget props, as you may want to have the subjects doing an activity, like throwing a colorful Inflatable Beach Ball or playing their favorite game.

Looking for more photography tips for working with kids? If you’re up for a challenge, reposition yourself and re-angle your camera to get a variety of shots. Getting down to their level can produce gorgeous pictures. For an added touch, attaching a LED camera light can really add a sparkle to their eyes, illuminating your subject without causing them to blink. Bonus: you can adjust the light intensity and warmth depending on the desired effect.

When You Go on a Family Vacation

Asking random people to take your picture can be awkward . . . not to mention the possibility of your head getting cropped out if you ask an inexperienced photographer.

Two gadgets that come to the rescue are the flexible Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Mini Tripod by Joby paired with a camera remote. Using these accessories together, you can set up your own shots—and easily take candids as you act naturally in front of the lens, using the remote to snap away when everyone least expects. Remember, not all your photos should be staged. You can set up the tripod with a wide lens to capture a big hunk of scene so nobody walks out of frame.

Turn your family pictures into gorgeous photo albums and treasures with Shutterfly!


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