FOR EACH CALIFORNIA FAMILY, ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT WAYS TO REMEMBER YOUR FAMILY REUNION IS THROUGH PICTURES. THESE PHOTOS WILL ALLOW YOUR GUESTS TO RELIVE THE FUN AND WILL ENTICE THOSE WHO DID NOT PERTAIN TO ATTEND NEXT YEAR. ONCE THOSE WE LOVE PASS ON, photos CAN ALSO BE A PRECIOUS MEMORY. LISTED HERE ARE SOME GREAT POINTERS THAT WILL LET YOU PLAN AND EXECUTE BETTER PHOTOS OF YOUR NEXT REUNION.
– Get ready ahead of time. This may sound simple, but you will be amazed how much it will help. Make a list of attendees and make sure that you don’t leave anyone out. There is nothing worse than realizing that after a weeklong event you don’t have a single photo of someone. Make a short list of photos that you would like to have, such as grandparents with all the grandkids, all the sisters and brothers, and the like. Print it out and check them off as you see that you have acquired something you like.
– If possible, coordinate your clothing. You don’t want photos of people all dressed nicely in jeans and long sleeve shirts and one person wearing shorts and flip-flops.
– Make sure you have plenty of light. The flash on your camera only extends so far– know its range. A picture with everyone squinting with wrinkled foreheads and washed out faces will leave everyone wanting more.
– When composing your shot, use natural surroundings to your benefit. Stairs, bleachers, and benches make it easy to stagger heights. Playground equipment also offers a number of posing options for large groups. Avoid busy backgrounds. Look for disruptive items. (There’s nothing worse than taking a great picture and then later realizing that a tree appears to be “growing” out of someone’s head!) Indoors, consider a backdrop made of fabric (perhaps a bed sheet for a smaller group or stage curtains for a larger group). An aerial view is a great option– have the family stand close together and look up at the photographer or camera on the balcony, ladder, or other high spot.
Even if you think you have a great camera and steady hand, bring a tripod. PRO TIP … spend a few dollars and get a remote for your camera so you don’t even have to touch it to take a picture.
– If you have kids in the shots, listed below is a great tip to get the photos you want. Make the adults freeze their smiles while you aim to get the kids to smile and focus. It seems like everyone wants to participate in getting the kids focused, but that always leads to the best photos of the kids having grownups looking or not smiling. Those younger kids’ smiles are fleeting, be sure that your adults are posed when it does happen!
– That said, natural smiles often look best. They’re also hard to get. Try having a picture of everyone in silly poses– and then immediately saying, “Now smile!” and taking what usually turns out to be the best picture. (And if all else fails, stick to the silliness!).
Take lots and lots of images. Then take some more. It has been said that professional photographers don’t have better success, they just take more pictures. It makes you think. Take the hard pictures (the largest group, smallest children).
Do not forget to be casual. (Go ahead– schedule it in!!) You may be surpassed to see that one of your all-time favorite photos was this one captured spontaneously by a stranger who happened to be walking by. Usually these unforced and candid photos will say more about the reunion than anything else.