When you hear someone talking about a traditional photo theme, you probably think of pictures where everyone is wearing the same colors in a park or something like that. Granted, when you go into printing companies around Raleigh, you’re probably going to hear themes talked about in this way. But that’s where a lot of printing services in Raleigh miss the point. Sure, you can do things like that, but then you might go do some printing in Raleigh and get something back that you don’t like. But why? Let’s go a little beyond coordination and look at some other tricks and themes you can use to make the best pictures possible.
People want to stand at a comfortable distance from one another, right? They want to maintain a little bit of personal space, because it’ll look like they’re squished together in the picture, right? Wrong. When you have space between people in a picture, that empty space is going to look a lot bigger than it really is. So squish people! The closer together they are, the better your picture will look.
Along with body positioning is head positioning. Depending on the setup of the photo, you may not want two people tilting their heads toward one another. If you do, you have to be careful to make sure they don’t look like they’re headbutting one another. You’re also going to want to avoid having people (especially women) looking down, lest their neck look like a double chin. A woman could be skinny as a rail, and this would still be an issue. So if you’re going to have people tilt their head vertically, make sure they’re looking up so this doesn’t happen.
There are two ways to coordinate: coordinating the time and place, and coordinating the look. If you’re doing the photos for your own family, then it might be up to you to coordinate what colors everyone will wear, but if you’re doing it for someone else, just make sure that everyone is in agreement about it. If there is a single look throughout the entire family, the photos will turn out well, and nobody will be drawing too much attention or getting lost in the mix. On the other hand, if everyone wears something different, there’s the risk that the photo will look too busy and will confuse the viewer.
Don’t be afraid of input
If you’re doing the pictures for your own or someone else’s family, it’s probably because they feel that your skills are more developed than theirs (pun intended). They may not feel confident in their artistic ability, or they may not know how to run the kind of camera professionals or advanced amateurs use. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t be shy about running the show. After all, there’s a reason you’re the one behind the camera. That being said, don’t discount anyone’s suggestions without at least considering their idea. Sometimes, a photographer’s assistant can see the perfect natural framing for a picture when the photographer has his or her back turned. Maybe someone in the group catches a glimpse of a beautiful cloud behind the photographer, and thinks it might be good to include in a background. Whatever the case, your job as photographer is more complex than picking out the right picture and capturing it. Therefore, any extra input you get should help you make the best photos possible. Just don’t let them run the show, as that leads to chaos.
Although this is a fairly short list of dos and don’ts, they are nonetheless some things you’ll want to keep in mind as you take more traditional family portraits. So if you go around to printing companies in Raleigh and get more information, just use your best judgment—the reason anyone gives advice is because it works for them. But be careful. Just because it works for someone at printing services in Raleigh, doesn’t mean it will work for you. The above are just a few items that are tried and true. Once you’ve taken a few practice shots using these basics, do some printing in Raleigh and see what other people think.