Guest Post by
Don’t you just love the Christmas Season? I certainly look forward to the holidays as much as any of my 4 children. After our brutal Texas summers that bleed into fall we eagerly await the cold air, jolly tunes, fires blazing with stockings above, sparkling lights, and family to love. Among those traditions for many families is the family photo. I think, in general, moms are the ones who truly get the immediate importance of the family portrait. Dads and children will, no doubt appreciate it later which brings me to my first family photo tip, rewards.
Chances are your children and husband may not be thrilled about putting on dress clothes and having to sit still for pictures. This situation can lead to bad attitudes and pouty expressions. I’m all for discipline but that approach often lends itself to watery eyes and red, swollen faces. So what’s a momma to do?
- Plan to go out for dinner or ice cream afterward, go see Grandma, give them a sucker, or a book if you’re a sugar Nazi. If your family has something to look forward to, rewards can really change their mood. Really small children between the ages of 1 and 4 usually don’t have long attention spans. I usually give kids this age a Smartie after a few shots. They are small enough to give a few and not overly messy.
- Once you have buttered up your brood you’ll want to head to your desired location. If you will be using natural light (no flash or artificial light) you’ll want to schedule your pictures at the right time of day. There is a time of day that almost never disappoints: the Golden Hour. In the last 2 hours of the day, unless it is overcast, the earth possesses a warm glow that is very flattering in portraiture. The sun sits low on the horizon just before sunset. This is my favorite time because almost any location can work. Even a novice photographer should get good, even exposure this time of day if you make sure your subjects are in the shade.
- Now that everyone is jovial and you have the storybook backdrop it’s time to pose. When posing families I like for mom and dad to be centered together with the children surrounding. Maybe this is symbolic of the way I view families. Mom and Dad’s love is the cornerstone of the family.
- I most often pose men with their shoulders squared up with me, and women at an angle. Women typically prefer to appear smaller and men more brawny.I love for everyone in the arrangement to be connected in some way, holding hands, hooking arms, or an arm around the shoulder.
- Another tip in posing is to think of all of your heads as being flowers in a flower arrangement. You don’t want any heads lining up. Try and keep them at different levels. If you have children in that younger age group, between 1 and 4, you can buy some time with your Smarties but don’t expect them to pose too long. It is best to follow the smaller ones around to acquire the individual shots.
I’m wishing you a very Merry Christmas this year and some fabulous family photos!
Chelsea Yankie is a natural light photographer specializing in family and senior photography. She graduated from Tarleton in 1999 and shortly after married her husband, Chance, who is a youth and college pastor. They have four children and make their home in Stephenville, TX.