|Out in front of the old family homestead in NY|
Let's be clear right from the start, I am not a professional photographer. I can't help you take good photographs. I can however give you some food for thought for taking meaningful family photos. Here are some things to consider:
1. Go To Extremes
The most meaningful photos show the intersection of generations. Find the youngest person in your extended family and the oldest person and make sure you have an opportunity to photograph them together. It is likely that their lives will intersect for a very short time. Capturing that physical connection in a photograph is critical for encouraging the younger generation to learn about their relatives and ancestors. Perhaps the baby in the photo won't remember their older relative but they will always know that they knew them and will strive to learn more.
2. Family Units
Gets lots of photos of immediate family units. I know that seems pretty obvious but as kids get older those photos become less and less frequent. Future descendants will be grateful for any clues about who was in your family. Small family unit photos are also easier for folks to identify than the family reunion photos with 50 people in them. In the larger photos it can be nearly impossible to establish the relationships between the family members. Start early and continue to take family unit photos of your whole extended through the years.
3. Get Out that Uniform
Uniforms, whether athletic, military or fraternal, provide interesting content and reveal important clues about our family members. Take photos your kids in their team uniforms during the school year. Capture your spouses and siblings in their work uniforms and provide a way for your descendents to know what they did for a living. And don't forget boy scouts, girl scouts, fraternal orders and your relatives in the military.
4. These Are a Few of My Favorite Things
Take individual or group photos of kids and adults alike with the things they love. Take portraits of Dad with his tennis racket, Mom with her iPad, little Susie with her Bratz dolls and little Joey with his favorite books. Capturing people with their favorites props creates a fun photo where the subject is happier and more relaxed. And future generations will have a much better sense of what they were like as people.
5. Capture the Homestead
Get out in front of your house and capture the family in front of your homestead. During your own lifetime you'll be amazed at how much your house changes. Perhaps you didn't like that yellow color when you first bought it and you soon painted it blue. What about the addition you built ten years later? Capture the history of your family and your home in a single shot.