We all have a few of those photos of us from our childhood. You know the ones. Some weird backdrop you’ve been forcefully sat in front of, in an unnatural pose that’s supposed to suggest you’re the happiest kid. Hey, there’s nothing terribly wrong with those photos, and sometimes they are good for a laugh – especially if they end up on Awkward Family Photos.
I don’t know about you, but some of my favorite photos of my childhood are ones that you can’t recreate with a backdrop and fancy lighting. They’re the candid family photos of myself enjoying ice cream with my mom, inside a candy store in Poland, learning how to chop wood while camping with friends as a teenager. I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again: candid family photos are the best. They are irreplaceable moments and truths captured in a format that our memories are too fickle to accurately recall.
Candid family photos are heirloom photos
Nothing tells the story of your life, or your children’s life, like fun-filled candid family photos. Below are 5 great tips on how to get the best candid family photos from your photo shoot from Calgary family photographer, Anna Michalska Photography!
To inquire Anna about family sessions, click here!
1. Pick a season with a reason
Obviously, Calgary has a little trouble with “seasons” but we do our best. Most people prefer summer and fall for the warmth and gorgeous colors, but winter activities with young ones are just as photogenic. Get some variety in your shots by considering all seasons, and most of all, consider what is the purpose of the photo session? Are you looking for a specific outdoor location that only works for a certain time of year? Do you want something more seasonal to go with holiday cards?
2. To get candid, you must plan for it
It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s 100% the truth. Candid moments don’t always happen just because we want them to, and even less so when the kids see a big camera pointed at them. Plan activities to engage everyone – playing on the swings, putting together puzzles, even baking at home together – the most beautiful shots happen when everyone is working on something together. Don’t worry, posed photos can also be done and the kids will be more willing to sit still for a couple of shots knowing that they can go and play afterwards!
3. Let it go!
Just like from that famous Frozen song that you’ve probably been subjected to a hundred million times. Letting go of control and allowing your kids to be kids is the greatest advice I can give as a photographer. It’s hardwired into children that they will simply not do things they don’t want to do, and it will show on their face and in photos when they are being forced to do something. This is not a failure! The beauty of letting your kids have fun is what brings out their personality and the best smiles, which is exactly the kinds of memories that make the best photos.
4. Familiarity is your friend
A lot of people spend a lot of time fussing over the locations of a photo shoot, when one of the best locations is always the one that is most familiar – the family home. There’s no better place to document candid family photos than inside the place where your kids are growing up and feel most comfortable in. There are activities and toys that can only be done inside the family home, and let’s face it – you’ve probably put a ton of energy and careful consideration into the look and feel of your child’s room. Nothing will be more authentic than candid family photos of the homes and play places where you raise your children!
5. Pick the right photographer
This seems to go without saying, but often our choices are made based on budget – sometimes, we don’t have much of a choice. But ultimately, if you can’t picture yourself in the portfolio sample photos that your potential photographer is showing you, you run a risk of being disappointed with the outcome. There are a ton of amazing photographers that all shoot very differently, and provide very different products. I firmly believe that the photographs of family is one of the most prized possessions a person can own; capturing those candid family photos is a completely custom service and product – if you are going all out to hire a professional photographer for the job, it might as well be with someone you trust!