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17th Jan 2015

Snap happy? Aim for real-life fun family pics, not picture perfect, according to this photographer

Top tips for taking frame-worthy family photos


It’s hard to get that perfect family photograph when there is tongue pulling and tantrums to contend with, but going with the flow and capturing real life – warts and all – will leave you with endless funny memories to look back on for years to come.

Mum of three, Rachel Wilde, from Wilde Portrait Photography shares her wisdom and experience.

Timer tips

When using a timer, always make sure the camera is on a level surface or even better, use a tripod. Using the longer timer is advisable when you have larger groups. Remember, think quantity to make sure everybody’s eyes are open. Not an easy feat with a group.

What to wear

We always recommend being comfortable and wear what you would usually wear, but try to steer clear of branded clothing, logos or bold patterns that can be very distracting (and date very quickly). Bring back-up clothes for the children in case of accidents. Also, there may not always be time for costume changes but check with your photographer beforehand as it’s nice to change things up a bit.

Say cheese

One way to get a natural smile from children is to say, “Don’t smile, whatever you do, don’t smile.” You’ll find that after a few minutes, they’ll be trying really hard to stifle their giggles and are more relaxed and happy looking. Children love to talk about what they’re into at the moment so get them to tell you all about their new Minecraft figures, Frozen dolls or Lego set, or even better show you. Moments should be natural and not forced. A big no-no is to give them food – bribery can work but give treats after the session.

Baby entertainment

Making animal sounds sometimes works (for some reason, our children always loved turkey noises), and playing peek-a-boo behind the camera is another tip. Don’t have more than one person calling out to a baby and make sure whoever it is is standing behind the person taking the photograph.

Location, location

Great pictures can happen anywhere but it is always great to get family photographs in a place that means something to you. Your favourite park, feeding the ducks, the beach, around the kitchen table – these are the things you’ll want to remember when they’re all grown up. Consider your background, make it as clear as possible to avoid branches or lamp posts growing out of heads.

Embrace the madness

Embrace the madness. Some of our favourite pictures of our children are puddle jumping or swinging from trees; we even have a picture of our son dressed as a storm trooper in a shopping trolley. Life with children can be unpredictable and fun so capture their personalities and go with the flow.

Don’t forget

Get in the picture. It’s easy to forget to include yourselves when you’re busy snapping away. One day your children will look for pictures of you, so make sure you are in them.

We’re loving this shutterbug’s natural style of capturing those real-life moments. Leave the posing to the celebs and get snapping.

For more, Wilde Portrait Photography