You can never have too many family portraits. No matter how many you take, as the years go by, you will always wish that you had more.

If you don't remember to do it more often, there's no better time of the year than Mother's Day to get in the habit of capturing your family together on film. The weather is warm, the skies are blue, the flowers are blooming, and mom definitely deserves it after the quarantine.

Read on to learn some great tips for taking family portraits and you will take photos that you'll treasure for years to come.

1. Use a Tripod

When attempting to take photos, a tripod can be a big help.

Sure, fun and loose photos or photos taken with a selfie stick are enjoyable and often result in memorable shots you wouldn't get any other way. But, when it comes to family portrait photography, you'll often be glad that you used a tripod.

There is a wide variety of tripods available today and many are of very high quality at a quite affordable cost. 

Using a tripod will help you to slow down and really think about the best location for your portrait because you will have to move and reset it every time you change your chosen spot.

It also gives you the opportunity to look through the lens and see the shot before you start shooting. These are both things that will help you immensely when it comes to taking these types of photos.

2. Lighting is Everything

As you know, light has a tremendous influence on the image you capture. 

The most important light-related tip when taking photos of people is to make sure that the main light source is not behind them. Instead, it should be shining in their eyes for the best results. Of course, you don't want the light to be so strong that your subjects are forced to squint, but you do want to be able to see their faces clearly.

Second, if you are shooting outdoors, the time of day is a crucial factor to consider when shooting family portraits. Most photographers find that they get the best results during "The Golden Hour." This is the nickname for the hour just prior to sunset; the light is best for photos at that particular time of day. Definitely, my favorite time of the day to shoot.

3. Encourage Expression

The go-to expression for portraits is a great big smile, but don't be afraid to try different expressions. A serious portrait is lovely, and everyone enjoys an exciting photo with a look of immense surprise at viewing something off-camera. If you can make your subjects laugh, even better.

It may be hard to get people to do anything but smile in the portraits you take, but if you can figure out how to evoke another fun emotion, go for it. You'll be amazed at how great the photos turn out. 

Girls dressed in lace for family portraits
Little girl kissing her mother
Mother and daughter laughing
Mother and daughters laughing
Older sister playing with little sister
Little sister laughing
Older sister hugging little sister
Mother and older sister playing with little sister
Mother kissing little daughter

4. Highlight People's Strengths

When it comes to taking photos, flattery is the key to photos that everyone will love. Highlight the strengths of the subjects.

If one of your little ones has beautiful eyes and curls, put them in the spotlight with some close-ups. If dad is super strong, consider taking a photo of him holding one of the kids on his shoulders or even over his head.

Put the people with the biggest and best smiles front and center. If someone gives great hugs, have him or her embrace someone else.

5. Capture the Candids

Posed photographs are great, but candid photos can offer extra magic. Be sure to catch some of the unplanned moments during your photo session with your family. Some of the most memorable and heartwarming images often happen in between the poses when people aren't even thinking about the camera. Some of the best photos you will get will occur in these smaller, closer moments. 

Older sister playing with little sister in a candid portrait

6. Have Fun

Most importantly, don't stress and have a good time. Have fun with your family while taking photos. Laugh a lot. Stay loose and relaxed, and enjoy the session. Remember, family portraits exist to capture a pleasant memory and a moment in time. You will enjoy these photos for years to come, so you want your smiles to be genuine. Let the kids fool around and have fun with them.

Because of these photos, this will be a day that you will remember forever and always. 

Family Portrait Photography Is So Rewarding

Family photos are one of the top ten things that people say they would save if their house were on fire, and with good reason. Family portrait photography is so meaningful to us and our personal histories because it captures a moment in time that can never be relived.

These tips will help you on your journey. However, if you don't want to do it yourself, Odette Photo+Art would love to do it for you. Contact me today, and let's set a date for your Mother's Day portrait session.