Having a photo session with a family? Get them together, place them right, and hit the button when they are all ready to stay in resonance with each other for that single fraction of a second.

1.Generate ideas impromptu.

Go for the photo-shoot with just overall structures and plans, and not with a step by step procedure. Be open-minded. You do not know the sort of people you will be handling during the session. So you do not require a rigid plan. Flow with the course of events and intersperse your ideas in them. You cannot always forecast the scenario.

2.Reach-out to the kids. Give them their niche.


Get across to the kids and ascertain that they are relaxed and hearty. Crack jokes and keep them entertained. When a child gets a little difficult, get the parents to follow them till they calm down and come back to a light mood. A series of shots now with the parent and the child will feel more natural. If you show up at the photo session with a bunch of balloons and chocolates, they will be overjoyed. They will become easier to handle and you can prepare them for the photo-shoot. Ask the parents to keep snacks and interesting food handy, too. They will instantly cheer the kids up.

3.Expert illumination is a must.


There is a time during each day when we are in the best moods and are completely relieved of all the stresses and worries. The best time to click portraits is either early in the morning or in the evening. Afternoons must be avoided because the sun is at its zenith, and it scorches us directly making us partially jittery and inactive; we may not be able to open our eyes completely to look into the camera, and might narrow our eyes or even squint instead. It causes sweat and can cause dark circles and reddened skin. A cloudy day with only a few rays of the sun reaching you could also be a superlative concept. The brightness of the sun in its optimum extent can be made use of as soon as it rises or when it is just about to set. The warmth radiating from the sun will bring out glow in the faces of the people, and more importantly the children will be happy to come out in the open and might even yield to most of the things you suggest.

4.Tidy the place up.

A spotless surrounding will make your pictures look absolutely delightful. But that doesn’t mean it should be so clean and perfect that it must end up looking like a doctors office. At the same time, you don’t want a dirty clothes, socks or a strewn shirt lurking around in the photo. Clean up the place.

5.Freshen the faces.

Tell the family members to look fresh during the shoot especially the children. You don’t want their hair all unkempt or them wearing just one shoe and the other gone missing. Wipe the faces clean and bright. You don’t want shirts hanging out loose or faces with dried up tears.

6.Pick diverse locations. Keep the films rolling.


You need not always get the first shot right. You have to keep clicking pictures and only some of them will actually have all the faces caught in that immaculate grin. Take a few hundred pictures in just a one hour session with a family. Getting them to sit at their respective places and clicking a few photos every time you make the slightest change, can be one of the few adjustments. Keep changing the location of the shoot. You can click pictures in the lawn or by the fountain or also in front of the house as it is an imposing building. A change of location also keeps the children happy and interested so they won’t get restless so soon. Grab the right expressions. They shouldn’t close their eyes in the photo. Take a series of pictures and pick out the best ones.

7.Keep it candid and easy.


Subject the kids toa change in locale. They tend to be obedient during the initial part of the shoot and they become difficult later on if the surroundings get boring. Encourage the children to stay happy and make the shoot interesting for them. Don’t assert too much. You will fail to get the priceless smiles from them. Don’t compel them to give some particular pose. Not just the children, but adults, too. Posing looks artificial. A portrait looks more real when the smiles and body language aren’t feigned. Keep the atmosphere relaxed. Try and get the compulsory shots during the start of the shoot.

8. Smile please!


Asking them to say ‘cheese’ is boring. It is a cliché. Instead of that, ask them a question to which they will say an answer and you can snap the grin. Like you can ask them ‘Who is going to get an ice-cream now?’, and they will say ‘Me!’ Or you can pick the name of a person in the family whose name has the ‘ee’ sound and ask them to shout the name, like say, ‘Billy!’ or ‘Melissa!’.

~Zahid Javali