Birthdays, New Year celebrations, Christmas Eve and other occasions where not only the closest family members come together are often significant events. Their preparations are given extra attention and the flashing of cameras cannot be missed.
We capture not only faces, but also people’s characters and life stories in our devices. Family albums can then be a kind of chronicle that everyone can look back on fondly. Not only for memories, but also for amusement and pleasure. But how to take pictures that will have the desired result?
Already in the preparation
The celebration doesn’t start when the guests arrive. It starts much earlier, with its planning. For most photographers, the first interesting stage to shoot should be the preparation of the celebration.
Who is in charge of the celebration, who all is involved in planning it? These are good questions to know the answer to. If you know this, then you also know who to stick to in the first stage of the photography.
A celebration is not just about bringing people together. As a rule, it is also accompanied by good food, often homemade. Take pictures of the cooking, baking and serving. Make visible the work of those who deserve recognition for, among other things, the time they have devoted to the celebration before it actually begins.
You can also photograph the wrapping of gifts, the preparation of flowers, or the makeup and dressing of the participants. Such photos, especially various snapshots, will tell more about people than just group photos at a set table.
People are the main
What to talk about. Everybody wants to remember mainly photos depicting grandparents with grandchildren, parents with children or siblings, for example. So definitely don’t forget these photos, but don’t be afraid to experiment a bit and try to capture the family in a different way than as a group of sheep lined up in front of the living room wall. Breathe life into your photos and get creative.
Try to lead everyone into a natural and relaxed atmosphere. Show them that taking photos is not just an unpleasant and necessary duty Leave the children their favourite toys. Don’t force them into stiff poses. Photos are usually at their best when they evoke naturalness and memories. People often recall their clothes or toys just by looking at such pictures sometimes memories associated with just taking the picture come up and it is often a nice memory.
What of the photo where you are wearing a hated sweater and standing like a statue next to your cousin who just pokes you all day long and you have to look like you won the lottery because the family photo must show you are a happy and well-behaved child?
Then you can ask the adults to hug their partners or capture them in a group during a celebratory toast. If you have a pet, try to include it too. Photos with animals are also very cute, but not all pets are always in the mood for photos and it’s pointless trying to get them to do it.
Don’t just focus on potential birthday celebrants. Remember that every celebration is an event that is all about socialising, and therefore about other people. Take the time to capture the discussion between relatives, games played together, sitting down at the table or children playing.
Have everything prepared in advance, especially for the most important moments of the celebration such as congratulations, gift-giving and unwrapping, toasts as well as the lighting of the Christmas tree at Christmas parties or the cutting of the cake at birthday parties. There is nothing worse than finding out after a birthday party that you don’t have a single photo of the birthday boy blowing out the candles on the birthday cake.
When it comes to photographing the most important things, it’s a good idea to prepare everything in advance. It’s especially important to choose a suitable location, because it’s not always easy to find a good angle for a photo shoot and at least enough lighting, especially if you’re trying to do it at the last minute. And waiting for the photographer to make up his mind before congratulating the celebrant on what angle he’s actually going to take the documentation from is not something that the participants are curious about.
This is the last thing you should pay attention to, but it’s very important for the perfect recording of the event. Capture the atmosphere of the place not only from an overall distant view, but also up close. Focus on the details that accompany the serving and the decorations. Draw attention to them in your photographs.
Are the napkins unusually folded on the table? Does the tray on the table smell of artisan delicacies? Are the wine glasses fizzing? Flash that, too. Try to capture things associated with the event. Don’t take pictures of the pots in the windows, which are there practically all year round, or the details of the books in the library. Capture what’s different and unusual about the celebration.
Tips for photographing a family celebration
There’s a lot to photograph, so don’t waste your time retaking what you’ve already captured. Try to make each photo original. You’ll save yourself from having to choose between three or more virtually identical shots. For multiple shots, perhaps only take group photos in which at least one of the subjects will inevitably blink once or just open their mouth to speak.
Don’t just go for the pictures, family celebrations aren’t meant to be spent sweating behind the camera, they’re meant to bring family members closer together and bring some variety to everyday life. Enjoy them.