Tips for taking great family photos

When everyone is all together at Christmas time, it’s the perfect opportunity to get some great family photos. We sat down with family photographer Svetlana Dampier for some tips on nailing a great family photo.

Tip 1: Get kids to look at the camera

If you can’t get young kids to look at the camera, ask them if they can see themselves in your lens. Using your phone? Ask if they can see through the hole in your phone (the lens).

family photo
Beautiful eye contact and a Santa hat – perfect!

Tip 2: Great group shots

If you’re wrangling the whole family for a group shot, try to find some steps or a rail you can all lean or sit on. Encourage everyone to sit nice and tight together – no gaps in this family photo! Put the kids in the middle with the grandparents and the parents on the ends. Or, try sitting on the lounge or a bench – grandparents sit down, kids sit on grandparents, and parents behind. Remember, if you have a runaway child or something funny happens, keep shooting, these can be the best shots of all!

Tip 3: Note the light and where it’s coming from

Natural light isn’t always flattering, try not to have direct sunlight on faces. If you are outside, try to find the shade or find the source of the light (the sun) and stand behind it. If you’re indoors, it’s the opposite. Try to use natural light instead of bright electric lights.

Tip 4: Raising some laughs

Svetlana has a cheeky way to get a laugh out of the toughest of subjects. She asks the person sitting next to them to whisper, in their sexiest voice, what they had for breakfast. It might just work to raise a grin from a grumpy Grandpa or Grandma this Christmas.

family photo
Raising a natural giggle will get you a great family photo

Tip 5: Cute cues for natural poses

Taking a family photo can feel unnatural and awkward for some. One funny pose that Svetlana says is always a hit with families, is when parents kiss and the kids close their eyes. This one might bring some laughs with multiple generations in one shot. Another way to get a natural shot with kids is to give them something to hold and ask them to show the other people in the photo (this is also a good trick if you’re shooting a portrait).

family photo
When parents kiss… ewwww…


See Svetlana’s portfolio of work with Hong Kong families here: depictionbysvetlana.com

Read more about Hong Kong in our Living in Hong Kong section.

Try these Christmas articles:

Christmas gifts you’ll love!
Where to go to midnight mass in Hong Kong
Christmas dining options in Hong Kong