A family portrait is an art form. You might think that the only way to get a family portrait taken is to hire a professional photographer and go to their studio, or on location somewhere. But you can save money and do it yourself with the right tools, including a smartphone, camera and tripod. With a baby in the mix, there’s even more juggling around an eating or bottle schedule, nap time and the unavoidable poop time, that is so elusive at times, you never know when it’s going to hit. But don’t believe the hype. I’ve been doing it since my little one was born.
A Great Self Family Portrait is Possible
With a little planning ahead, you can take a self-portrait with your family and baby. For a posed family portrait, I wouldn’t recommend holding the smartphone in your hand, so that you can be fully in the frame, also so that you can avoid camera shake and get your baby as sharp as possible in the shot.
What you will need:
Wi-Fi-enabled camera (I use the Panasonic Lumix G7)
Someone behind the camera with a toy or something attention-getting
I took the family portrait above with a Panasonic Lumix G7 mirrorless camera. I’ve also used by Canon T4i with much success. I’ve just been using the mirrorless camera because it takes up less space and it easier to carry around on a whim when I get in the spontaneous mood of capturing a pose shot, like this one.
I set up the tripod a few feet away so that when the camera was mounted on top of it, the lens was about a few inches higher than our eyes. You never want to go below eye level, and above is always more flattering on the subjects.
The Clothing and the Family Pose
For this shot, I selected black tops, with denims. It just blends really well in a shot. I made sure the baby was the center point, and my husband’s arm was wrapped around me, and I was wrapped around the baby. It’s a pose that continues to work well for us with the black tops and blue jeans. It works nicely in a “studio” or indoor setting.
Baby’s Eyes on the Lens
A family portrait with baby magically gets people to melt when baby is smiling and happy, and looking right into the camera.
For us, grandma loves to play with baby and get him to smile and laugh. Grandma was armed with one of his favorite noise-making blocks. The attention-getting should be right behind the lens so baby’s eyes appear to be fixed on the person viewing the shot.
I was firing off continuous shots with my smartphone by using is as a remote with the Lumix G7, as I set the mode to Shutter Mode, Continuous, one shot after another. The camera was at F8, 1/400 to catch us in focus, along with the baby at a super-fast shutter speed. When I shoot HD video with my smartphone, the shutter is super-fast, at 60fps, so I end up getting a lot of great shots with the smartphone, but for my portraits, I want the ability to print a big photo for the wall, if possible. The smartphone’s HD camera is limited, unless I shoot in 4K mode, which takes up too much memory for my 64gb phone. If I’m getting ahead of myself and you’re not quite following, please shoot me a question on this post below, or you can always get me on my Facebook page.
I keep my smartphone pretty low and off to the side so it is still in view of the camera, but can be cropped out. Sometimes I leave it in the shot, just because. Here’s a screenshot from my iPhone while I was setting up the wi-fi- connection and baby was busying himself with the block that was used behind the lens:
And there you have it, a family portrait that I took by myself of our family, with a little prep work by finding the right location after many previous tries, the right time of day (in between feedings and diaper changes), and the right person to be behind the camera to get baby’s attention in the right place – behind the lens!
Do you take selfies? Have you tried to take a selfie of your family? Whether it was successful or not and you would like to learn more, please drop a comment in the section below. Look forward to hearing from you!