The Best Tips to Take Great Family Photos At Home in Chicago

March 31, 2020

We know many parents don’t have the free time right now that parenting blogs and memes are suggesting, but taking a moment or two to brush up on some basic photography skills will help you have some better quality simple photos, even even with your phone. We are offering some tips on how to capture better family photos yourself since your favorite Chicago family photographers are not available during the pandemic.

Here we begin with the best tips to take great family photos at home in Chicago.

Light is your friend!

When you’re outside, photos often will look better and brighter for most people. There won’t be that orange tint that can sometimes happen when you take photos indoors from your lamps. Even during the order to stay home, there are still some opportunities to take wonderful indoor photos. I recommend taking a mental note when your favorite room is bright. Does it get nice bright light in the morning or after lunch? Once you know the best time the light comes in, have your camera or phone nearby.

In the example below, this is a portrait example I will show you of a father with his newborn son. When we are thinking about the light, the window is to the left of the scene. In the first photo, the father is blocking most of the light with his back, but in the photo on the right, he is facing the window. In summary, the nice light in this shot is coming from the side and its not being blocked. It provides nice dimension to the photo on the right.

Even when venturing outdoors, you can add a little bit of magic by finding a strip of light! This beautiful mother is seen here behind an ordinary brick building, but with a warm ray of sunshine peeking in!

Freshen it up with some interesting angles.

Standing behind the couch (or chair if that’s what you have) and take a picture over the shoulder looking down. We love fun angles just to keep things fresh. Again, that light is coming into the scene from the side of the room without anything blocking it. If the light isn’t bright enough, you can get closer to the window. There are no other lights on in the room and it’s “peak brightness” time.

You don’t also have to have your children in plain view. Its okay if their faces are hidden a bit: peek-a-boo!

Staying Natural

We love to capture authentic moments because the photos that showcase real life have so much value. We encourage our friends, family and clients to simply take photos of moments as they happen, without asking our subjects to stop, look and smile. This can be a small unscripted moment or an action shot. The key is that we are not asking anyone to stop what they are doing to get their picture taken.

When these natural moments routinely start to get documented, your own family will become “immune to the camera” and it won’t even phase them. When the camera becomes a part of life and we stop asking for a pause, the photos naturally start to be more storytelling.

A fast-moving photo may even be a bit blurry, and that’s okay because it shows the action.

Get down to their level

One of the easiest things you can do to take better photos of your children and make the photo feel more “pro” is by getting down to their level. Instead of pointing your phone or camera down at them and taking the shot from your level, get down to their level so you are equal. It makes all the difference!

Seek Help If You Need It

If you’re not a pro photographer or even a hobbyist, sometimes you might feel discouraged when you look at a photo you’ve taken because it doesn’t look as good as the professional ones you’ve got. It’s totally okay to seek help in taking better photos whether its reading up online, asking your subjects for a do-over, or asking friends for tips. The more information you have, the easier it will be to improve. When setting a goal to take better photos of your family, you might not see improvement from your basic snapshots right away. Give yourself grace, ask for feedback and keep chugging along!