a traveling Wife: How To Take Family Portraits For Free

How To Take Family Portraits For Free

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I absolutely love to receive snail mail. Every day around 4 pm, I head out the door towards the mailbox. Nine times out of ten my mailbox is filled with brochures, sales ads, junk, and more junk. But occasionally I will receive something good.

During the month of December, we receive more snail mail than usual due to holiday cards. I love them, but I think fewer families are sending them. I mean, we have our cell phones to send greetings to family and friends without having to go out of our way, we have the use of email which you can send multiple people the same email with just the click of a button, and stamps are pretty damn expensive.

One of my favorite types of holiday cards are those with family portraits on them. We already talked about the expense of stamps, why would families want the extra cost of hiring a photographer and paying for the prints? I am here to tell you that you can take those family portraits for FREE. Of course, there is still the expense of printing the cards and purchasing the stamps. But, you can always take the free route and email them to family and friends.

There are just a few items needed to get good quality photos and to make it easier to have the entire family in the frame. I suggest a good camera (I used a Nikon D3300), a tripod, and a remote for your camera. Now is the fun part - gather your family and smile!
Click to tweet: How to take family portraits for FREE.
Consider your backdrop. You can decide to take photos in your house, yard, park, or anywhere that would make an aesthetic backdrop. If you choose to take photos indoors, you might want to take into consideration that natural lighting makes for the best photos. Some of my favorite locations to take photos are at a park. Usually, you can find lots of trees, benches, trails, fields, etc. that make for really nice backgrounds. Also, select multiple locations. One location might work better for you family, so it's best to try a few.

Use props. This is especially great when taking family portraits for holiday cards. Don't be afraid to include Santa hats, blankets, pillows, food, etc. Go crazy and have fun!

Use a compatible remote. We've all been there - setting your camera on self timer only to run and strike a pose. This would need to be done over and over again to hopefully get that perfect shot with everyone smiling. By using a compatible remote, you can click, click, click and get multiple chances of a perfect shot without having to run around. The trick then become, how do you hide the remote so it's not visible in photos? I set my remote settings to include a 2-second delay on the shutter. This allowed me to press the button then hide the remote.
Click to tweet: Easy and FREE ways to take family portraits.
Research poses. Sometimes when the camera gets pulled out, we tend to get stiff with our movements. Especially when you are in public with a camera and tripod taking photos of yourself. By having a few ideas of what you might want your family portrait to look like, you can recreate that or you might be able to come up with something better.

Have fun. Forced smiles can be seen in photos. Tell jokes, be candid and have fun. By involving your entire family, you are spending quality time so make it fun. Also, take lots of photos. Keep that remote clicking because for every good photo, there are at least 10+ bad ones.

Tiny Prints Holiday Card Collection

Let the entire family participate. Not only does a forced smile show in pictures, but it becomes blatantly obvious when people aren't having a good time. Allow the kids, or dogs, to choose some poses or maybe even some new locations. This is also when you might get some great candid shots that really show your family dynamic.

Lastly, embrace the bloopers. Remember that I said there are at least 10+ bad photos for every good one. Yeah, they happen but just keep taking photos. By taking family portraits on your own, you are on the opposite end of the camera and don't have the luxury of seeing what little tweaks could be made. Just roll with the punches.
Click to tweet: Why you should embrace the bloopers.
Who wants to see more bloopers, because I have plenty of them?!

Have you ever taken family portraits on your own?
Do you love snail mail?
Do you send out holiday cards in the mail to family and friends?