Family Reunion Photography Tips
Family Reunion Photo Ideas
- Large Family Photo Pose -Of course this is the big, combined family photo which is one of the most important photographs of the day! So first, a little advice on that big family photo:
- Make sure you don’t let anyone leave the reunion early, before that group photo is taken. The timing of the photograph should be somewhere near the middle of the event so enough people have arrived but also so not too many have left. If someone does announce that they need to leave then that’s your cue to stop what you’re doing and announce that it’s time to gather for the family photograph.
- Push for that photo. Having a combined, large family photograph will be important to your family’s history and future memories. This is your chance to be bold and a bit forceful (in a polite way) because you know at least one family member is going to try to duck out, hide behind a plant or whine that their hair looks horrible. Don’t get into a family brawl over it because that’s not great for family bonding, but do what you can to convince that family member that their presence in the photo is needed to show a true representation of the entire family. Remind the reluctant subject the photograph isn’t about them but about future generations knowing who their ancestors were.
- Once you have convinced everyone to be in the group photo, I would suggest chairs for the older generation to sit in and that young children sit on the ground in front of the chairs, if that’s possible. File the teenagers and adults in a standing position behind the younger and older generations and try to group immediate family members together when possible. Do your best to layer the groups so that they don’t spread out to the sides too far. Six to eight people in a row is a good number to avoid the photograph being taken too far back and leaving you squinting to see faces because you, or the photographer, had to stand so far away to get everyone in.
If you have risers to place the teens and adults on to keep the rows short, and make sure you can see everyone’s face, then use them but chances are most people won’t be that prepared, so improvise with picnic tables, rock walls, chairs, or benches. Just be sure all the items you stand a person on are stable because you don’t want to have an ambulance trip ruin all the fun. Should an ambulance have to be called, though, be sure to take photographs because that’s going to be an awesome story for next year’s family reunion as long as there are only broken bones and no serious injuries *wink*.
- When you look through the viewfinder make sure you can see everyone’s face. Tell cousin Steve to come from behind the tree and Grandma to stop hiding her face behind her fan. Make sure to take more than one photograph in case someone blinks or moves or a child spits up. Ask everyone to look your way for the final image but don’t be afraid to snap a few shots while everyone is getting set up because sometimes those in between moments are the most memorable. If you have two people photographing, have one person focus on the people as they line up for the photograph. Some of the most special interactions can come while setting up for the photograph.
1- Immediate family units
2- Grandparents, grandchildren or great grandparents and great grandchildren
Large Family Photo Tips
- Don’t be upset if every child isn’t looking at the camera at the same time either. Their expression or where they are looking instead may make a more memorable photograph in the long run. Repeatedly telling a child to look at the camera can not only create stress for you but for them as well.
- Candids – Be sure to capture candid photographs of the day. If Dad is playing a trick on his younger brother, take the photo. Capture laughter, expressions of delight as family members arrive and see each other again, grandchildren running to their grandparents, cousins talking to each other, siblings wrestling each other and any family reunion traditions that might be held.
- Don’t photograph people in mid-bite and two, limit how many photographs of the food you take. No one really needs to look back and see Aunt Ruth with a cheek full of hamburger or cousin Frank with ketchup trickling down his chin (thought both might be a bit funny to look at later). The future generations will probably not be interested in Instagram like photos of the food either, unless someone made an amazing cake that everyone will marvel at for years to come or the dish is a special family recipe.
- As much as possible, try to include a person within each image you take because, obviously, a family reunion is about people and about capturing the memories for those people and their children, grandchildren, etc.
- If you take the photographs yourself, and are a member of the family you are photographing, don’t forget to put the camera down part of the time and enjoy yourself, living in the moments of the event without looking through the viewfinder.
- Try not to overthink the photographs, causing unnecessary anxiety for a day that is meant to be fun and memorable.
- Group family photo
- Immediate family members
- Great grandparents alone
- Grandparents alone
- Great grandparents and grandparents together
- Great-grandparents with their great grandchildren
- Grandparents with their grandchildren
- New family members (by marriage or new babies)
- Generation photograph
- Candid images from the day
You might be asking:
How do I take a Group Photos with Everyone in Focus?
This is a very important piece when it comes to shooting an event with large group shots. Amy and Jordan have answered our questions quite precisely. How to take sharp family photos and group shots comes with a little practice but their 8 tips and trouble shooting section should answer your question and help a TON! I loved their read and think you’ll find it helpful as well.
Lisa R. Howeler is a freelance writer and photographer but considers her main “job” being a stay-at-home mom to her 11-year old son and 3-year old daughter. She normally blogs about photography, motherhood, faith, and life in rural America.