Words and Photos by Faithful Witness Photography
Are you dreaming of a beautiful family portrait worthy of gracing the focal point in your home? Well, if you’re like most people, many of your images turn out, well, a little lackluster. You might be surprised to know that those gorgeous images don’t require fancy or expensive equipment to be created. Find out here what the top five ways you can make your pictures the beautiful works of art you intended.
Make Sure Your Subjects Stand Out
First, shoot where there are no distracting elements to compete with your subjects. Next, shoot with a wide aperture. This is commonly called “portrait mode” in cameras and smartphones. This will keep only your subjects in focus and blur the background into a creamy “bokeh.” Only the subjects in focus with no distractions in sight.
Expose for the Light Reflected from Your Subjects’ Faces
How many times have you taken photos where the sky looks great but your subjects’ faces are way too dark? You can avoid this by telling your camera to meter only on your subjects’ faces. Unless you selectively do this by placing the metering point on a face, your camera will expose for the light in the entire scene. Tip: If you want to keep the deep colors of the sky and background and not wash them out, use fill-in lighting on your subjects.
Coordinate Your Clothes, But Don’t Match
Choose a pleasing palate such as pastels or earth tones. Then have everyone build their outfits around this. Only one person would wear prints. Tip: Accessorize whenever possible. This family coordinated in deep jewel tones that went well together.
Shoot at one of the “Golden Hours”
About 30 minutes after sunrise and an hour before sunset, the landscape is filled with a pleasing, soft, golden light. If you aren’t able to take your pictures during one of these times, which you should, look for well-shaded areas to avoid the harsh, unflattering sunlight. Even though this image was shot in full sun, the soft, golden light before sunset cast no unflattering shadows and deepened the colors.
Some of the best images are surprisingly tight. Try mixing some of these in with your full-body shots. Even photos of just a baby’s feet can be compelling. Get in close for intimate family moments.