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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
I also like to do pictures of the boys and the girls. I take their picture.
Then I have my husband take a picture of us. I make sure the settings are all correct when he takes the picture.
We even have our son take pictures for us sometimes.
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.
I would love it if you followed along.