Family Photo Tips

April 6, 2009 1. Choose your camera wisely.
(Image: boy with cameras)

Bigger doesn't always mean better. Find a camera that works for you. Make sure it feels good in your hands, has the settings you prefer and are comfortable using. These days most cameras are more like mini computers.

Ask yourself what you intend on shooting and if you're interested in purchasing a Point and Shoot camera or a Digital SLR. A Digital SLR is a camera with an interchangeable lens. If you're shooting candid portraits, you should be fine with anything over 6 megapixels. The good news is that most Point and Shoots are now 8 megapixels and over. Things to consider in deciding between Point and Shoot and a Digital SLR would be desired Megapixel, focal length and style.

2. Check the weather.
(Image: girl standing on couch storm coming in)

Sunrise and sunset can provide beautiful lighting. Clouds and rain make for another effect. If you're having a family get-together, plan ahead. Check the weather. If you're shooting a group, aim for early morning or late afternoon. Bright sun can cause glaring and too bright a white in your images.

3. Use a tripod.
(Image: boy with tripod)

Great for keeping the camera steady and still, a tripod can guard against camera shake and blur. Tripods are perfect for use when photographing groups and still subject matter.

4. Get close.
(Image: girl close up)

Don't be afraid to focus in on your subject. People often feel they need to capture it all in one frame. Close ups can provide a more intimate look and feel.

5. Use a timer.
(Image: family of 4 generations)

Most cameras today have a built in self timer. Easy to use, this feature is great for family gatherings- where EVERY family member should be in the photograph. People often overlook this option and one family member is always missing from the family treasure.

6. Try a different view.
(Image: girl twirling in grass)

Get low or high. If you're shooting a child, get on their level. Kids love it when they can look you in the eyes.

7. Don't forget the details.
(Image: prom flower, shoes and jewelry)

Prom season is approaching. It's easy to overlook photographing these details, but these are the things that add detail to the memories later on. It's easy to include lots of details- corsage, jewelry, shoes etc.

Pile everything together for an interesting look. Images like these are great for use in albums as they tell part of the story.

8. Catch them when they're not looking.
(Image: girl with wand in front of window

Sometimes an image can mean more if the subject matter is focused on something other than the camera. Whether you're focused on one subject or a group, sometimes it just better to allow them to focus on something other than the camera; you'll get a more "candid" and often intimate look.

9. Take it outdoors.
(Image: two trees with mom and daughter on bench)

Working outdoors can provide the ultimate backdrop. Move some furniture around. Take shelter under some trees. Create your own setting and snap away.

10. Don't always make them say cheese
(Image: little boy looking up)

Sometimes moments like this are just as fun to capture as the smiling ones. Kids are never 100% smiles and giggles. Love the ups and the downs and capture them all.

11. Most importantly, have fun.
(Image: family in grass)

If you're having fun, chances are the people on the other side of the camera are too! Make it fun!


Ann Latinovich received her BFA from Tyler School of Art and her MFA in Drawing and Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also studied art while living in Rome, Italy. Her artwork has been featured in many Chicago-area galleries, including The Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago.

Some of her recent photography includes photographing President Barack Obama.


Ann Latinovich Photography
phone: 219-629-2794
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