1. Check your settings. I think we've all done this (I know I have done it several times just recently) where you forget to change the settings from the last time you had the camera out, and you end up shooting with the wrong ISO or aperture setting. Reset everything at the beginning of your session so you don't end up with this:
2. Decide when. Try to choose a time that is naturally good for your children. If everyone is hungry or this is usually nap-time, things are not going to go well.
3. Made in the shade. Bright sunny days can cause people to look pale and washed out; to squint or wear sunglasses; or to have harsh shadows across their faces. Aim for an overcast day that is muted to get the best lighting on your faces.
4. Keep it uneven. Try to stagger people both vertically and horizontally. Have some people sitting, some standing, leaning, in the front, in back. Mix it up.
5. Have everyone touching. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but try it. There is an intimacy in family photos that is much more evident with everyone touching in some way. Obviously, keeping this natural is a must.
6. Plan the wardrobes. There seems to be a great debate on whether or not to match clothing. Some people love it, others hate it. Whatever you decide, try to avoid clashing patterns and stick with colours that go together if you don't do the matching thing. Plan this ahead, not on the day of the photo shoot, so that you can get everyone dressed with a minimum of drama.
|Matching Wardrobes - Source
|Coordinating Wardrobes - Source
7. Plan your poses. If you decide ahead of time on at least some of your poses, you will be able to move from one grouping to another without wasting a lot of time. Children especially (and maybe some dads too, lol) have a limited tolerance for posing so being efficient will net you the most shots.
Come on back next week for some fun pose ideas.
Digital Photography School - Family Portrait Do's and Don'ts
Simple Mom - 9 Tips for Taking Great Family Portraits