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How to take professional pictures of your family without paying for a professional

How To Take Better Pictures Like A Pro
How To Take Better Pictures Like A Pro

Whenever Web Watch goes on a trip – say to Las Vegas, Walt Disney World, San Francisco… wherever – we are completely dumbfounded by all the tourists and families who are trying to get “that perfect shot”.

They group their people together on one side of the walkway, then expect the entire crowd to stay out of the way while you compose the shot.

Have you ever been trying to get from Point A to Point B at any of these touristy spots without having to constantly stop to be courteous to these photo hounds?  We’ve gotten to the point where we say, “Screw it – they’re using a digital camera or their phone, they can take another shot” and we walk right through the photo opp.   We’ve got place to be, folks – so let us move on and get out of your way.

Which brings us to today’s advice:  HOW TO TAKE FABULOUS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS.

First, try not to be stupid when you’re taking pictures in public.  Line up the subject, and take the shot.  If you’re using anything other more complicated than a point-and-shoot camera, then figure out your settings ahead of time. We don’t have the patience to wait for you to configure your fancy camera and change lenses while we try to stay out of your way.

And here’s a tip — when you stand people next to the item you’re trying to focus on (like a fountain or special building off in the distance) and you’re standing on the other side of the planet while you make sure the people and the object are in the shot — guess what?  Nobody’s going to see your family.  You want to stand your family close to you and the camera, and let the object in question form the overall backdrop.  Your pictures will allow you to see who you want to see, and you’ll still get the feeling of where they are.

The added bonus? You’re not blocking our path when you take the photo.

Some other tips?

  • If you’re expecting to take photos at a family gathering, at least warn folks ahead of time so they can do their hair or adjust their clothing a bit.
  • If you want a fancy looking picture, try coordinating outfits.  But we’re not talking about the exact same shirt and pants — just provide a color palette and let everyone wear something that matches it
  • Take your photos earlier in the day and not after dinner.  Nobody will look drunk and puffy.
  • Is there someone who’s always missing in the photo?  There’s nothing wrong with using a tripod and a self-timer.  Just try not to do this on that crowded street in NYC — we’ll just walk on through the shot again.
  • Those flashes on the small cameras or phones?  Useless in situations more than a few feet away.  Try to get as much light as possible into the shot.