Family Photo Ideas:
Read on for some great family photo ideas and tips for taking great family portraits and candids.
How to Take Family Portraits
When putting together photos for a family photo book, you'll probably have a ton of photos already set aside. But if you plan to take new photos for to make a digital family photo album online, the family photo ideas and tips below will help you take great ones... without having to be a pro.
When you're done, also visit our photobook primer to learn about taking family photos and making digital photo books.
Your Photo's Composition and FrameArranging a photo beautifully is one of the most important parts of learning how to take a family portrait. Before snapping that photo of your daughter or grandmother, or that full photo of the whole family, decide how you'd like the photo to be framed and composed. Some of your options are:
Centered Portrait: One of the most common family photo ideas is a simple centered shot. This is formal and simple.
Off-Center Portrait: This kind of photo is a bit more artistic, and requires a sharper eye for composition. So play around with it and practice!
Whether you choose on- or off-center, be sure to frame the subject's face well. Leave several inches of their shoulder showing, as well as some room above his or her head.
A Digital Portrait-Taking Rule of Thumb
One of the best things about having a digital camera is that you can edit! When in doubt, opt to leave more space around your subject rather than less. You can always go in and trim your photo down later! One of those simple family photo ideas that many people don't consider... and regret later, when a too-close portrait can't be fixed.
Your Photo's Lighting and FocusLighting. Now that you've got your (very patient) subject framed and arranged how you like, the next step in knowing how to take family portraits is to get the lighting right. Want a great and simple tip for lighting a portrait?
Don't use the flash!
If you can, take the time to set up more pleasing lighting for your portrait taking. A desk-lamp arranged just-so, or --even better-- natural sunlight from a window (or take the photo outdoors). The light from a flash is harsh and not-so-nice looking.
Focusing Your Camera. While many fancier digital cameras have a manual focus (which takes an experienced hand to use), for simpler family photo ideas, your camera's auto-focus should be fine.
Most cameras' auto-focuses work like this: Get it to focus on your subject's face by pressing the trigger slightly. A box will often appear around the area to be focused upon, and the camera will focus. Don't take the photo until this is done! Otherwise, your hard-earned photo will be likely to come out blurry.
Taking Full-Body Shots. Taking a full-length shot rather than a face one? You'll still want to focus the camera on the face, and let the background stay in the background. And as with portraits, err on the side of too much background rather than too little... it can always be cropped later.
4 Tips for Taking Candids for a Family Photo BookLearning how to take family portraits for a photo album is a great skill. But most of the best photographs are candids! Read on to learn how to take great candid photos for your family's digital photo book.
1. Avoid BacklightingOne of the most common problems when taking candid photos is poor lighting. Sure, you have natural sunlight... but when the light is behind the subject, it will cast the subject in shadow. Also avoid too much direct light in the subject's face. Even for candid photos, squinting isn't that attractive!
2. Avoid Getting too CloseLike the idea of lots of close-in action photos? Avoid zooming in too much, as close-up photos have a much greater tendency to go blurry with most digital cameras. Remember, all your shots can be cropped and edited later on.
3. Go Off-CenterFor most amateur photographers, your first instinct is to put your subject front and center. But for some photos, placing the subject in a corner or framing him or her differently makes for a more eye-catching, dramatic shot. Digital "film" is free... so play around with your frames!
4. Focus FirstPhotographing your daughter's soccer game, and want a great action shot? Focus your camera first on the area where she will be playing. Then as soon as she enters the frame, you can snap your photo. One of those simple family photo ideas that gets great results.
Making a Family Photo Album with Digital PhotosAllright, so you've learned about framing, lighting and every other element of how to take family portraits and candid photos. Now what to do with them? You can, of course, have them printed, or make a CD, etc. But these days, having a family photo book printed is probably the smartest way to go-- and one of my favorite family photo ideas.
Photo Book Printers: There are lots of companies out there that will allow you to create, lay-out, and have printed a book of your family's digital photos. It's a good option when you want to have a family memory book (rather than gathering in front of the computer whenever you want to see your photos), and it doesn't cost any more than the price of a photo album and printed photos.
Types of Family Photo Books
Photo Book Pricing. Family photo books range from inexpensive to quite, quite pricey... from about $15 all the way up to something like $400. There are even some nice leather family photo albums in the mid-range. So you have quite a lot to choose from.
Which Printer to Choose?Visit this page to read about the different photo book printers and publishers out there and what they have to offer. I rate all the major publishers by the quality of their service, their photo book softaware, etc.
My Favorite: You'll see on my photo book ratings page that my favorite photo book printer is Picaboo. Picboo offers online editing and cropping of photos (very handy), custom layouts, all kinds of festive backgrounds, and lots of different sizes and colors. You can download their photo software for free right here. Play around with it to see what it can do.
And most of all... have fun with the whole process! From photo-taking to book-making, these family photo ideas are supposed to be a celebration, not a chore.
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