Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Take Your Own Family Pictures With Young Kids

It’s the time of year for family pictures.  The colors are changing and outside it is just beautiful.  But I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the money to pay for a professional photographer every year plus getting new matching clothes for everyone.  Someday I will hire someone to take our pictures but right now I just can’t.  For the past few years we have been taking our own family pictures and I feel like they turn out pretty good.  We just use a tripod and the timer on my camera and it seems to work out pretty well.  I set my camera to take 3 pictures at a time.  I like to use the tripod because I have control of the settings of my camera.  I set it up, then push the button and then run to get into the picture.  Then I check the pictures afterwards to see if they turned out and if I need to adjust anything.  

I’m not professional photographer, heck I don’t even think that I’m that good at taking pictures, so anyone can do their own family pictures.  Here are a couple tips that I have learned over the years.  All these pictures are completely unedited (well I did crop a few). 
family pictures 10-22
Finding a good place to take pictures is key.  It helps a lot to have a nice background.  We went with a windmill because it is something that represents where we are leaving right now.  Also having matches outfits is great.  You don’t have to match perfectly but having a color scheme is a good idea.  I like to dress the boys in one color and the girls in another.
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Every once in awhile you need to have a crazy photo for the kids to just be crazy!  Get some energy out of the kids.
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I take the individual pictures and sometimes you just have to go with what they are doing at the time.  My little girl was obsessed with throwing dirt and would not stop doing it.  So instead of starting a fight, I just took pictures of her doing it.  The background isn’t pretty but she sure has a super cute smile on her face.
family pictures individuals
One of the hardest pictures to take (after the whole family picture) is the one of all of the kids.  You know what we do?  My husband stands behind me and does CRAZY things.  Like pretends to fall down.  Or makes my hair stand up.  Or pokes me with a stick.  Anything to make the kids laugh and look in our general direction.  How many times have you told them to look at you and say “cheese”?   And then you get weird smiles and half the time they aren’t looking.  

He would also do weird things during our whole family pictures, like yell out crazy things.  Or pretend to trip as he was running back from the camera.
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I also like to do pictures of the boys and the girls.  I take their picture.
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Then I have my husband take a picture of us.  I make sure the settings are all correct when he takes the picture.
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We even have our son take pictures for us sometimes. 
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There are a few other things that we did to get the kids to cooperate:
We bribe them.  We told them that if they all smiled for us that they could have root beer floats afterwards and that we would pay them all $5.  Money well spent! I was serious  about it too, my 8 year old liked to make silly faces in the pictures and had we not gotten a good picture because of it, he would have not gotten the treat and money.

Patience is key.  The kids are going to be crazy.  They aren’t going to want to hold still.  I still struggle with this but I am getting better at it. 

Don’t expect to get that “perfect” picture.  Honestly I just want everyone to be looking in the general direction of the camera and not to have a weird look on their face.  And with a big family getting 5 out of 7  people smiling is really good! 

Have a plan of what kind of pictures you want to do before you go.  What poses, where angles, what locations.  Because once the chaos starts, it’s hard to think straight and see what will be good.

The kids attention spans are really short, so you have to do things quickly.  I think we took about an hour to do these and by the end they had had enough!  They were were getting cold, starting to play in the mud and getting grumpy.  Trying to get a grumpy toddler to smile is not an easy task.
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I would love it if you followed along.


Melissa said...

These photos are WONDERFUL! Wow! My DH does the same goofy things to get our kids to smile and stay in one place too! LOL! We're overdue for a family photo, so thanks for this reminder and the tips! :)

Amy (naptimecrafters) said...

I need to get out my tri-pod and try this! Thanks for the inspiration :)

Victoria Osborn said...

Great family pictures! I'm amazed that all of your kids are actually looking at the camera, I can't even get my two to do that at the same time! :) These are some great tips and I will need to remember them. Thanks for the inspiration! Visiting from D.B.B.

Christine Bell said...

Your photos turned out great! And those are some great tips. Patience is hardest for me when taking pictures, even when not taking them on my own. :)

Natalie said...

What kind of camera do you use??

Emily Thompson said...

you guys are SOO cute! I don't know how you get all the kids to look at the camera when you AND you husband are in the photos. If one of us isn't shouting "look here" my two can't look straight... and I only have two :o) Pinned to my photo ideas board... ! Emily

Brandi M said...

This are great tips! I have an SLR and remote but have yet to take good photos of my fiance and our pets.... it's been 4 years!!! I better get on that... although, I'm not sure I can quite bribe my dogs! (treats, maybe?)

Brandi - Nest of Bliss

Britni Vigil said...

I can't even get one kid to look at the camera let alone five, you seriously amaze me.

M&Ms said...

Awesome post!!!