How to Help your Family Love your Photography / by Michael Ryan

Every family has one enthusiastic photographer (I’m assuming it’s you if you are reading this) which as you know can result in eyes to heaven and heavy sighing on day trips, holidays or even just play time with your kids. So here’s a few tips on how to reverse that situation and make having their photos taken more enjoyable for them and allow you to shoot better photographs at the same time.

Listening to hear if there’s a dinosaur inside. 

Listening to hear if there’s a dinosaur inside. 

Be Quick.

This is mostly aimed at the dads as they are usually far more guilty than the moms. Don’t bring a dozen lenses with you for that perfect shot armed with a dozen excuses as to why you need to switch lenses for each situation. Bring one lens with you, whether a 24-70mm zoom if you like versatility or a 50mm for portraits (my favourite for quick snaps of my daughter and wife). The camera should not be in your bag, have it on a strap over your shoulder with the lens cap off, switched on and the settings already chosen so when you come across that beautiful view or that fun family moment you just lift the camera and click. Don’t be ashamed to use automatic or semi automatic setting for speed and don’t even consider a tripod unless you really want to test their patience to the limit. And if your camera has memory settings (usually in the form of C1 or C2 on a dial) then set those for the moments you need the most urgently, I have C1 set at 100/s, f/1.8 and auto ISO. I turn the dial to C1 and click.

A moment of discovery. “I’m upside down.” 

A moment of discovery. “I’m upside down.” 

“Daddy I’m going to splash you!” Epic fail. – Two classic examples above of miss the moment and it’s gone forever. Always have your camera ready.

“Daddy I’m going to splash you!” Epic fail. – Two classic examples above of miss the moment and it’s gone forever. Always have your camera ready.

 Plan Ahead.

If you see a nice vista or temple for a background do some test shots first without your family to see the best position for them to stand, frame the perfect background and choose the right camera setting. Then when you’re ready ask them to pose where you want them and take the shot as quickly as possible and you can spend a few moments working on this pose which can be fun rather than asking them to ‘hold it’ while you’re searching for the right settings. It’s more interactive and fun for everyone. This will require you to think ahead of where you are all going but that’s half the fun as if you are a photographer as you’re also a bit of an explorer.

The bright sunlight and the concrete wall made me think of fashion so I asked my wife to pose and of course our daughter copied her. 

The bright sunlight and the concrete wall made me think of fashion so I asked my wife to pose and of course our daughter copied her. 

 Sharing is Caring.

Don’t forget you can share your photos from your ‘real’ camera and not just your phone. Many camera brands have WiFi/NFC etc. and you can quickly get your best shots onto your phone where you can edit them and post them quickly. But don’t forget to include your family in the process. Here’s a few dos and don’ts: Don’t post twenty photos that are almost identical just because you like al the different expressions. We know you love them but not everyone else is that interested in the between a slight smile and a slightly wider smile on your child. Take a minute to edit them down to the best few different photos and post only those one. Editing makes all the difference. Show the choices to your family first and see which ones they like best. They may be quite different from your choices so let them be a part of the process and they will be much happier when they actually like the way they look when they’re posted, especially if you have teenagers. Also don’t forge to pass them around so others can post them too. This will definitely make them more enthusiastic about posing in future if they like what they see and they see them in the right places. They probably care much more about the way they look than the fabulous waterfall in the background.

 

In the age of social media most people forget that it’s even possible to print a photo. If there’s a photo your family really likes then consider printing it out and hanging it on the wall. Think of it as a real world version of social media. These methods of sharing will make your family appreciate the effort you make taking their photos when they can see the results.

If she weren’t looking up and to the right this photo wouldn’t work as well. 

If she weren’t looking up and to the right this photo wouldn’t work as well. 

 Teach the Art.

Don’t be afraid to involve your family, even your young kids, in your photography. They may want to learn a little themselves and even take a few photos which will make the whole process more interesting to them. But don’t bore them with f stops and shutter speeds, let them start of with automatic settings. Instead help them frame a photos well and show them how to take a nice picture. We know you love your gear but keep it about the photos and not the tech.

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Photograph What They Love.

If you partner or kids like doing certain activities, even if they’re outside your wheelhouse, try photographing them while they are doing it. Perhaps your daughter likes ballet but you’ve never been a fan of dance, it’s still a chance to practice the art of photography and your family will be very keen to see the photos of them doing their favourite thing.

 

It’s important to think of it as your privilege to photograph them and not the other way round. This philosophy will make family snaps a lot more fun and interactive and in return they will be a lot more supportive of your hobby in the future. As your holiday snaps improve and you make them look better they will actually become more involved in the process and look forward to being photographed. This will greatly improve your photography and doesn’t cost as much as a new camera or lens.

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