Recently, we wrote an article "How to Take Good Photos of Kids at Tourist Attractions" for Marcie in Mommyland - a travel blog for parents managed by Marcie Cheung - one of our wonderful regular clients at the Happy Film Company. Sydnie (one of our photographers) met Marcie and family at Pike Place Market, ready to take on the crowds and capture some Seattlesque family portraits to accompany the blog post. Here is a screen recording of my (Chamonix) giving Sydnie feedback on her photography work from this shoot.
In this video you'll see that I'm hammering in the concept of shooting for variety. When taking pictures of families, especially when there is so much going on the in background as well as adorable close-up details, it's important to MOVE YOUR FEET!
To zoom in for details, walk up close to your clients - shove the camera right in their faces. When I get super close to families I make sure I'm talking & engaging with them the whole time so they don't feel awkward that I'm in their personal bubble. Getting up so close is great for storytelling and creating a powerful photo collection because it draws attention to details that a viewer might easily overlook if looking at a scene from a middle or far away distance.
Then run far away and take pictures that show off the scenery. Before running away though I always tell clients what to do - so they aren't left wondering. I'll say something like "I'm going to run all the way over there to take pictures that show off the scenery. While I'm over there, you guys just keep cuddling and kissing until I get back." This is super important because you never want them to feel confused or awkward about what they should be doing.
When you take all three kinds of photos (super close up, medium/standard portrait, and super far away) you can place them side by side to create a powerful diptych - two picture collage. Diptychs (and larger collages) tell stories - showing off the location, the personalities, the cute details etc... So as a photographer, we need to be moving around a lot and thinking about how we will display our work as a finished project (in a photo album or a wall collage).
At the Happy Film Company we are constantly studying our pictures to figure out how we can do better next time. We appreciate that our clients trust us to take their family photos and we are excited to share the behind-the-scenes look into how we are pushing ourselves to improve. Our photographers regularly receive creative and technical feedback on their work from Chamonix, the Happy Film Company's owner & lead photographer. Sometimes we publish the photographer's critique videos on our blog as a way to share photography knowledge with other photographers and parents who are excited to learn more about family portrait photography.
Check out our last blog post: How to Survive Family Photo Shoots with Crying Kids