I get asked all the time by the Mamarazzi out there how I do it….
How do I take great family pictures?
As with anything, it takes practice, persistence, and patience…. THEN more practice and a whole lot more patience. Honestly, the hardest subjects for me to photograph are my own kids! They never want their pictures taken when I want to take them and I’ll be honest, we aren’t super formal so rarely are they dressed for a “photo shoot”. So I just go with it…. uncombed hair, messes on their faces, and whatever clothes they decided to put on that morning. Because in the end the battle with not wanting to have their pictures is really about me trying to make them look “perfect” (and let’s all admit to it here, that’s not how life is!). In 20 years I’ll hopefully look back and remember my kids for who they were, not who I wanted them to be.
These pictures were taken the morning of Easter Sunday. It’s our family tradition to take large white paper, draw a huge oval on it along with some “cracks” and for the kids to paint it in. We use vibrant spring colors and once the paint is dry, we cut out the oval and hang on the window for decor. It’s a simple project with items we always have in the house. It’s tradition so therefore it’s always anticipated.
We did other things that day… an egg hunt in the morning, a scavenger hunt in the afternoon, opened gifts and had a nice formal family meal (I even busted out the linen napkins!). However, I didn’t document any of that. Not even one snap shot. The reason I didn’t was because I wanted to be fully in the moment with them during those times and not playing with my equipment trying to get that perfect shot. I wanted to interact with them and NOT my camera.
Instead I chose an activity where I had more control over the light, their ability to stay put for 10 minutes, and chose an activity that they enjoy. I didn’t make them comb their hair or wash their faces. We had fun and I documented that.
I used my Nikon D600 camera with my 50 mm lens set to f/1.4. I moved my kitchen table away from the sliding glass door that goes out to our backyard so I had this huge, natural light source and had my kids paint there. I literally laid on the floor with them, moving my camera in different angles as well as my focal point so that at times the kids were in focus and at other times the materials were the focus.
These pictures are straight out of the camera (SOOC) with absolutely no editing.
So, this is it. These are my kids. This is my house. Perfectly im-perfect. And that’s what I document when I take my family pix.