Portraits for Young Families
When shooting portraits for families with smaller children, the first and definitely most important rule for organically capturing that youthful glow, is also a simple one: have fun! The best way to get that genuine, goofy laugh or toothy grin from kids is to let them enjoy the shoot! Child-friendly environments like parks and beaches, which are generally open, scenic areas with plenty space to bounce around, along with a high-energy and interactive photographer, can make all the difference between a pouty portrait and a smiling snapshot.
Try a more relaxed style shoot! Accepting a more candid, or casual and natural, outlook on family shoots and really taking a secondary role with directing the session allows not only the kids, but the parents as well, to get in their comfort zone, which makes for a more authentic look and enjoyable experience.
Although location, time of day, and the length of the session are all variables that factor into every shoot and how often you’ll have to adjust, when taking pictures with little ones, a high shutter speed is essential for catching those in-the-moment smiles and giggles that truly bring out the look parents want. Setting a relatively higher speed to your camera’s shutter allows it to capture the light information faster, but will also result in a darker photo, so you’ll want to keep an eye on your ISO and and aperture.
Timing is key when working with a high shutter speed and rambunctious subjects, so make an effort to highlight any sentimental interactions, unique details, and all the laughs and goofiness. Also, be sure to consider all your light sources and take advantage of softer light for a less sharp contrast.
As for any specific gear that we recommend for a family shoot, a 24-70mm or 24-105mm lens will definitely be the first choice. Since they both give such a wide range, letting you zoom in and out from a further distance, they help save time switching lenses since the session will be much more active.
Get the parents involved! Especially when you need a more cooperative shot, including mom or dad to help direct can not only result in that perfect picture you wanted, but improves the overall experience, allowing everyone to contribute in a fun way.
Last but not least, and this goes for any photo session, try and get some behind the scenes! If you have the equipment, a little video of the shoot can make the experience all the more memorable.