The Perfect Family Portrait – With Your DSLR

Are you sick and tired of being disappointed with professional family photos that burn a hole in your pocket? Do you wish you could have had an option of the photo selected? The team at Kirk’s Cameras guarantee that with our easy, handy tips you can take an even better family portrait on your very own DSLR camerainthe comfort of your own home.

Step 1
Try to work with a Large Aperture. We advise a 50mm f/1.8 prime can be used for most camera brands, and will not break the bank – sitting between $90 and $200. This is a great investment and will allow you to shoot indoors at lower ISOs (sensor sensitivities). If you fork out the money for a high quality DSLR, do not stick a cheap lens on the other end of it or the results will come back poorly!

Step 2
Turn off your flash. Using the flash is a whole new realm of training and tips – we advise that your make use of the natural lighting and challenge yourself to find the right setting. For now, turn off that flash and find the perfect light for all faces involved!

Step 3
Find the perfect natural light. Take a moment to observe your surroundings - you are looking for light that is directional yet diffused. Rays of sun coming through a window are not a great choice, but pull a sheer across that window to diffuse and you have a better option – bright, directional light that is not too crisp. Drapes and sheers also create a plain, suitable backdrop for your portrait.

Step 4
Choose a suitable angle. You will want to angle your light source either to the side of your subject or slighly off centre. A 45 degree angle provides a good starting point, promising a continuous result. This will light the side of the faces closest to the light source more brightly but still provide fill light on the shadow side of the face. The further to the side of the face your light source is, the more dramatic this contrast – and the picture – will become. A professional and cheap way of capturing light can be easy – if you have a piece of poster-board that is made of white foamcore, you can position this to ‘catch’ some of the light opposite your light source and angle it to ‘fill’ more of the shadow side of the face.

Step 5
Set your DSLR camera. We advise the ISO be set to 200, the shutter speed at 1/100th and the aperture at f/1.8 as mentioned previously. These settings are a good starting point if you can shoot at a large aperture like f/1.8-f/2.8. If you can’t, increasing the ISO will be necessary. Take the picture from approximately 1.5 metres away – this will give you plenty of room to move.

Step 6
Capture your photos. It is purely personal preference whether you capture your images using the LCD screen or viewfinder – just be sure that the images you are capturing are consistent. Hold your camera as steady as possible when clicking away – if you are struggling, we suggest a tripod or make-shift tripod if available. Don’t forget to make your family smile!

Step 7
View and print your photos. Depending on your DSLR camera, there will be many ways in which to do this. We advise you simply upload to your computer and view at the highest resolution. Select your favourite – te image which captures each face at their best with no blurs, flashes or other issues. Once this is done, take note of the name/number of the file when taking it to be printed – you would hate to accidently print the wrong one!

Find out more about capturing family portraits on your DSLR camera from the professionals here at Kirk’s Cameras in Ringwood, we would be happy to share our tips with you!

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