How to Take your Own Family Pictures

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Set up the Camera, and Have a friend Take Them

I mentioned that I swap with photographers now, but I didn’t always have photographer friends.  I used to ask my non photographer friends to come snap away after I’d set up the camera. After a 60 second demonstration, we were good to go! My 4 year old can even do it, I just tell her to not move her feet, and just keep snapping keeping my entire head in the frame.

One year, I got a Santa costume, and my husband dressed up with my kids in their jammies. I took a series of  pictures with them together, but I wanted to be in some, too. I LOVE these pictures, but they were before I had honed my shooting and editing skills. It doesn’t make me love them less though, you don’t have to be a fabulous photographer to enjoy fun pictures of your family, right? So, I asked my friend to come over and just snap away. My white backdrop was set up in the backyard, it was windy and it kept blowing over, but we still got some fun pictures of Mommy kissing Santa Clause;) (This is a similar backdrop stand to what I have)

I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause

{More Santa pictures HERE}

MY LATEST VIDEOS

Just 2 years ago, my sweet photographer friends Heather and Tricia took our family pictures, and I love them, but my son was sick, and we didn’t get a smiley shot. I didn’t want to bug them again, so I asked my friend Caroline to just come snap ONE pose for me.  She took this after I set it up and I love it!  It was the main image on our card that year.

family pictures on a bike

{More of these family pictures (both times) HERE}

 I traveled to Utah, and really wanted some pictures in the snow. I had the most fun and colorful outfits for my family!  My sweet friend Kelsey just snapped away after I set up the camera. Though it’s hard to tell we are in the snow!

pictures snow

{More Snow family pictures HERE}

 

Say NO to Auto

I’m not sure what type of camera you are shooting with, so this needs to be said. You can get decent pictures from phones. Some of you may even be satisfied with pictures taken on Auto from your fancy cameras and that’s great too. Just capture the moments. If you’d like to take better pictures, and you do have an SLR, I’ve got a treat for you today. A little cheat recipe, if you will.

I wrote a book called Say NO to Auto that teaches you to shoot in manual in 3 simple steps. If you haven’t heard of it, check out all the details HERE.

Say NO to Auto Beginner Photography Book

{Secret Recipe} Grab your gear as soon as your family is dressed and ready to go. If it’s a sunny day, and you’re in the outside shade, then set your camera to these settings:

ISO 200 * f stop 4.0 * shutter speed 1/250

Set your focus on the center of the group, making sure you have a good border of background.  (You aren’t zoomed in too close to the group).  Take a test shot. If it’s an over exposed image (too bright) crank your shutter speed up to 1/300 or so. Still too bright, keep cranking it up until you get an even exposure. If it’s a cloudy day, start at ISO 400. This is a very basic place to start on your journey towards shooting in full manual mod. I’ve got that recipe plus lots more tips in my book, enter to win below!

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Shooting in Manual

Other Great tips for Family Pictures (click on image or link below to go there)

Taking family pictures

13 Family Picture Outfit Ideas for 1 Family Over the Years

What-to-Wear-in-Family-Pictures

How to Decide and Plan What to Wear in Family Pictures
How to plan creative family pictures

13 Creative Family Picture Ideas

Taking Family Photos

How to Get Kids to Cooperate in Family Pictures

How to decide what color to wear in Family Pictures

What to Wear in Family Pictures by COLOR

If you’d to join the Capturing Joy Photo Club on Facebook, where we have photo challenges, Q&A’s, and image sharing, request to join HERE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CapturingJoyPhotoClub/

Capturing Joy Photo Club

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