Tips To get fam­ily pho­tos you want To keep for­ever

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Fam­ily por­traits — with your beloved pet thrown in to the frame — are the best gifts you can pass on

If you’re like most peo­ple, im­ages of your fam­ily are prob­a­bly lan­guish­ing on your smart­phone or tucked away in the closet on an old com­puter. If you take a break from the self­ies and in­vest in the time to hire a professional pho­tog­ra­pher, you’ll end up with beau­ti­ful fam­ily por­traits that cap­ture and pre­serve the love, af­fec­tion and ex­pres­sions that are unique to your fam­ily. Th­ese pho­to­graphs are your gift to your­self, your chil­dren and gen­er­a­tions to come.

Here are some tips from Professional Pho­tog­ra­phers of Amer­ica ( PPA) on how to get mem­o­rable fam­ily pho­tos that stand the test of time.

Choose a style that re­flects your fam­ily

Sounds ob­vi­ous? Not that sim­ple. Think about your fam­ily’s unique per­son­al­ity, then find a pho­tog­ra­pher who has ex­pe­ri­ence tak­ing pic­tures sim­i­lar to what you would like to dis­play in your home. What en­vi­ron­ment brings out your fam­ily’s unique per­son­al­ity? Is it a park, a beach, an ur­ban set­ting? Maybe it’s as sim­ple as your own liv­ing room or back­yard. ( Find your fam­ily’s photo style by tak­ing the quiz at PPA. com/ Quiz.)

Be­gin with the end in mind

Be­fore your photo ses­sion, think about and dis­cuss where and how your pho­tos will be dis­played in your home, and think about the story you want to tell. Do you have a tall, skinny spot some­where for a sin­gle, iconic im­age of your fam­ily? Or do you have a large wall where you want to start a fam­ily gallery? Per­haps you’d like a coffee ta­ble al­bum? Whether you want to dress up a large wall or you want a collection of im­ages, your pho­tog­ra­pher will know which type of ses­sion will give you the im­ages you’ll be proud to dis­play in your home.

dress for suc­cess

Th­ese printed pho­tos will be around for a long time. In 20 years, you’ll want your pho­tos to cre­ate warm feel­ings and happy mem­o­ries of your l oved ones — with­out the cring­ing and gig­gling over dated styles. The goal of any fine por­trait is to di­rect the viewer’s eye to the face in the por­trait. So when choos­ing out­fits, pick sim­ple, solid colours and classic, time­less styles rather than hot trends and busy pat­terns.

use props and pets

If you have an ac­ces­sory that helps ex­press your fam­ily’s unique per­son­al­ity, add it. If your pre- schooler won’t go any­where with­out his su­per­hero cape, let him wear it. Shared hob­bies and in­ter­ests can go in here too. If you’re a fam­ily of read­ers, hav­ing ev­ery­one pose with their favourite book can add a per­sonal touch. And, of course, in­clud­ing your fam­ily pet is a great way to show the spe­cial bond you have with your dog or cat and cap­ture the spirit and beauty of your furry pal for­ever.

re­lax and go with the flow

Part of hav­ing your por­traits cre­ated is the “ex­pe­ri­ence” of the ses­sion. Yet, all too of­ten, par­ents get worked up when their child isn’t look­ing at the pho­tog­ra­pher or smil­ing “right”. This causes anx­i­ety in the child and robs the pho­tog­ra­pher of good op­por­tu­ni­ties for can­did por­traits. So be­fore the shoot, rest well and come well fed. You’ll want to be in the best pos­si­ble mood as it helps set the tone for your fam­ily. Once on set, re­lax, smile, and have fun. Sea­soned fam­ily por­trait pho­tog­ra­phers know how to make you and your chil­dren feel com­fort­able so they can cap­ture the love, af­fec­tion and ex­pres­sions that are unique to your fam­ily.

hire a pro

Ev­ery­one is tak­ing pic­tures th­ese days, and just about any­one click­ing a shut­ter may be lucky enough to land a good shot once in a while. You will be much hap­pier with your pho­tos, though, if you choose a pho­tog­ra­pher who can con­sis­tently pro­duce great im­ages. A professional pho­tog­ra­pher will have the artis­tic skills, tech­ni­cal train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence tak­ing the kind of pho­tos you want. Plus, they will be able to pro­vide you with print­ing op­tions that will with­stand the hard­ship of time and won’t fade like most home-printed pho­tos.

light­ing is key The most flat­ter­ing and cheap­est form of light is sun­light! So, line your fam­ily par­al­lel to a clean win­dow and if the sun­light is too harsh, cover it with a del­i­cate net cur­tain.

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