Celebrate Family with Portraiture

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The year of the Rabbit is here, and this is the perfect time to capture family portraits with your friends and loved ones.


Shooting group shots is not that hard, but shooting with a bit of quality takes a bit of effort.


Here are few useful tips when shooting family and friends group shots without knowing in-depth photography skills.



Choose early morning or late afternoon so that the sun is shining horizontally giving you the halo light effect.


Tip 1: Shoot in the best light possible


The best light source we have is the sun. Shooting outdoors, like a small garden, the park on the ground floor of our apartments or even the small balcony, makes an enormous difference between indoor and outdoor lighting.


I was shooting for a client for their indoor celebration but took them out for a shoot at the small bamboo garden just outside of their apartment, and the effect is immediately apparent – it is brighter, and the background helps to focus on the subject.



The best background are those that are not so cluttered. Trees and bushes gave a nice natural background.


Tip 2: Make sure the background is free from clutter


Most studio shots will have a clean background and a powerful lighting system to make the scene look immaculate.


While most homes would have furniture and personal items lying around, cleaning them up helps to create the context in which the group shot is taken.



Tip 3: Use Indoor lights of the same type.


This is very important as different lights create different colours on the subject.


Using the same type of light will reduce the chance of a smartphone or camera capturing odd colours in the image.


Before shooting, ensure all the lights are warm (yellow) or white (cool blue).



For the group shot I place the family in front of glass sliding door to face the light coming from the sun. That helps to brighten the scene.


Tip 4: Set your smartphone to portrait mode


Many users will rely on their smartphone or camera’s automatic mode to shoot family portraits.


To get better results, switch to portrait modes so that the smartphone and camera can use the correct settings to blur the background just that little to make your subject pop out.


Another good thing about shooting with smartphones is that automatic beautification effects can be applied. Just make sure the result is not too fake.



Candid moments are precious as it captures the real side of life.



Even late at night, street lights gave your images a different vibe. Convert them to monochrome to give it a timeless feel.


Tip 5: Set your aperture correctly.


A general rule I always use is to set the aperture to f4 for two rows of subjects and a smaller aperture when there is a large group shot.


For individual shots, f2 helps keep the subject sharp with creamy bokeh behind using a 50mm lens.


Choosing the wrong aperture will cause some unfocused faces in the group.