Family Time

I know first hand how difficult it can be to get a great photo of your whole family together. Since I am the photographer in my house, I have a tonne of photos of Maelle and my husband, but few of the three of us together.  So when a couple of my friends and family members asked me to take their family photos, I was happy to help out. How did my family photo shoots go? Let's start with the not-so-great part. I had rather dismal success getting a classic family portrait with everyone looking at the camera and with everyone smiling. After four family sessions,  I am batting 250 (not bad for baseball, but not what I am striving for in photography):
Thankfully I had better luck capturing other photos, including a mix of mom or dad with child, individual kid shots and candid family pics. I found it helpful to have in mind a couple ideas of photos that I wanted capture (e.g. child on dad's shoulders, everyone holding hands, etc. Pinterest is great for inspiration). I am also learning more and more about posing (check out some great tips here). Take a look at my favourite family photos so far:


Up high, down low

Over the past couple of months, I've come across quite a few good tips for photographing kids. Get in close. Use a fast shutter speed with  quick moving toddlers. Engage with older kids by asking them questions or telling jokes to avoid cliche "cheesy" smiles. And finally get down low.  This last piece of advice is a bit of a departure from the natural tendency to take a photo at your own level. By crouching down very low to take pictures at a child's eye level, you're able to capture the world through their eyes.  I've employed this tip quite a bit (with the unfortunate side effect of some grass stains from lying completely down).  Here are a couple of my favourite eye level pictures:

That said, I've also realized this perspective isn't the only way to snap a great photo. By varying the angle from which I shoot, I can capture a wide range of interesting pictures. Some of my favourite pictures of Maelle are taken from a bird's eye or "way up high" angle. These shots sometimes require me to hold my camera up above my head or hop up onto a chair. This unexpected vantage point can add a sense of vulnerability to the photo or draw your attention to a child's bright eyes.

I've also experimented with shooting pictures from a low-to-high angle, to less success. This perspective is a little more tricky to get right. For adults it often just flat out doesn't work: you end up with unflattering shots with double chins or close up views of nostrils, or you make the legs and lower part of their body look larger than the upper body. But for babies  it can sometimes work by making the subject appear a bit larger than life: