• Santa Tomsone

Surviving A Family Photo Session

Family will always be the most important thing in our lives. As we all know families aren’t perfect, sometimes they argue and fight, but in the end they always make up and come together, and deep down they love each other. They will stand up for you and help you when you need it. We all want to have that perfect family portrait, where everyone smiles, looks smart, and simply just looks perfect. We all want to create memories, which we could cherish forever.

How to create that perfect family portrait?

As a photographer I love capturing these precious memories, whereas it’s wedding, birthday party, christening, new baby in the family, or just family portrait. Sometimes it could be challenging to get everyone in the picture, and more challenging getting everyones attention, but that’s the beauty of being a photographer, every photo session is different. You’ll never have two identical situations, therefore I’ll always make sure that I’m prepared for it. I have my little checklist to make sure that I don’t miss anything. Preparation is the key for success! So my job starts with research, looking for a location, and creative ideas, then talking to the family, which I’m gonna be capturing. I would always ask them: What sort of photos they would like? Is there anything particular that they would like? I think communication makes my job easier by me concentrating on what people want, instead of me guessing, and in worst case scenario: guessing in wrong. Depending on the family portrait, sometimes I would advice them on what to wear on photo shoot, and which colours to choose for their outfits, an example, if it’s a casual family portrait in the park, denim and white works really good. I think it’s important to create a bond between me and family who I’m photographing, as I believe happy and relaxed people will create happy and relaxed images.

There are few factors what you need to consider, like location, lighting, and how many people you’ll have in the photo.

Choosing a location.

Sometimes you can’t choose a location, like on weddings, christenings, birthday parties, etc., in that case you’ll need to adopt relatively quickly. Most of the places will have the perfect area for the perfect photo. You just need to look around. If you have an option to choose a location, I would always go for a natural and neutral backgrounds, like park, beach, garden, old stone walls, as you don’t want to take the attention away from your main subject.


In my opinion, light plays a major role in photography. You could have the most beautiful location on the world, but if you don’t have the right light, it will be very hard to achieve a great result. Nowadays we have so many options regards to lighting, it all depends from your budget, assignment, and location. I believe, it’s a great art to control light. An example, if you are taking a family portrait in their living room, I would look for a natural light source (windows, patio doors, etc.). I would use natural light together with studio lights, and reflectors. It really depends from you, which will be your main light, and which will be your fill in light. It’s all about experimenting and trying out different light sources, combining them together, and choosing what suits you.

How many people there will be in the photo?

If you are photographing a family of 4 or 5, it’s easier to get everyones attention than photographing a family of 10 or more. I think the hardest part is to get everyone together and get everyones attention, as you’ll always have someone hiding from the camera. It’s about finding your own way how to engage with everyone.

Remember! There is no right or wrong in photography. Sometimes you just need to follow your intuition. It’s about capturing the moment of joy and happiness. It’s about putting big smiles on peoples faces.

Keep smiling!

With Love,

Santa xx

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