Glare on glasses, red eye, blurry photos: problems like these can ruin your family photos. You could take shot after shot and hope to finally take a good family photo. Or, you could remedy problems later with software. But why not can fix photo problems before they happen? Most of the following family photo tips are meant for casual photographers using point-and-shoot cameras or more advanced cameras in “auto” mode.
Using indirect lighting help reduce glasses glare. Avoid using flash, but shoot photos in natural light. Block an overhead light or window from streaming light directly on the subject. Try positioning the glasses on the person’s face to a slightly different angle. Or, have the subject turn and tip his head a little until the glare disappears.
Using a flash that shines directly into the subject’s eyes creates this photography faux pas. Indirect lighting creates more flattering photos anyway. Many current digital cameras provide a red eye reduction mode. Try that setting.
Most current digital cameras help compensate for the user’s minor hand vibrations to reduce blur. Make sure your camera in on the correct setting. If your camera doesn’t compensate for user movement, try holding your breath as you press the shutter button. Use a tripod for posed photos. No tripod? Rest your elbows on a stable surface such as a chair or counter top. A “sport” mode can help reduce blurring if your photo subject is a baby who can’t remain perfectly still.
Some professional photographers use shadows and color variations for dramatic effect. If you simply want a nice family photo, stick with indirect lighting. Shooting photos in direct sunlight makes children squint. A slightly overcast day, shade, or when a cloud blocks the sun a few minutes make a better family portrait. But shooting with the sun at your back will produce better shots than when the camera faces the sun. Many photographers like to shoot outdoors during the first hour of sunlight after sunrise and the last hour of sunlight before sunset. Sunlight around noon creates harsh shadows.
When your digital camera searches for its focal point, choose the eyes, since that will augment the most important feature of your portrait, as well as soften flaws on the subject’s face. That’s a great way to fix photo problems plaguing many amateur photographers trying to create a good family photo.
Instead of settling an “okay” photo, take numerous shots using these various means to fix photo problems. Then select what you like the best. If you’ve ever had professional family photos taken, you realize that photographers take far more than one or two photos.
Of course, you can always reach out to a professional photographer to help you create family portraits. But for those more spontaneous moments where you want a family photo without red eye, glare, distorted color or blurry photos, you can take a good family photo.