How to Take Your Own Family Photos at Home During Quarantine | Sara Welburn Photography
Hey y'all! We're coming up on two months of quarantine here in San Antonio and let me tell ya, it's been a DOOZY! I'm sure you're all feeling it too. There have been lots of cancelled vacations, unmet expectations, and boredom. A lot of people have had to sacrifice a lot of things. But one thing you shouldn't have to sacrifice on is your spring family photos! Many states still have stay-at-home orders and/or restrictions on which businesses can operate right now, so you probably won't be able to get your normal family photos with your favorite photographer (hey hey!), but that doesn't mean you can't take your own at home!
I know, it sounds a little scary, but with a tripod and a few tips I'm gonna give ya right now, I have full faith in your ability to take some amazing photos that will document this crazy time in history your family is going through right now. A few years from now (or 20 or 30) when you're talking about that crazy quarantine of 2020, you're going to want to be able to pull out photos and talk about what it was really like to live through.
So pull out that old camera (or even just your snazzy iPhone) and set up your tripod! (If you don't already have a phone tripod I really love this one!) These tips are a great starting point to take your own family photos in your home to remember this insanely unique and difficult and beautiful time. I promise you won't regret it!
1. Clear the clutter
Maybe this one seems like common sense, but your photos are going to look SO much better if you clear all the clutter from your background before you click the shutter button. You don't want random shoes, dirty (or clean) dishes, someone's jacket, or a random lawn ornament to ruin an otherwise super cute photo.
In addition to the common, everyday clutter of our lives, consider clearing out the more "solid" things in the background. A large wall decoration, a coat rack, lawn chairs (if you're taking them on your porch).
In the photo on the left, we didn't take down any of the wall decorations (because it was a super cute nursery!) or move the stuffed animals out of the way. And unfortunately your eye has a way of kinda drifting towards them rather than focusing on the cute family's gorgeous faces. The curtain, decor, and stuffed animals should have been moved out of the way so they didn't distract the eye from focusing on what really matters in this picture! In the two photos on the right, we sat right in a small corner away from any distractions. It resulted in a clean, uncluttered background with nothing to distract from the sweet moments the photo was meant to preserve.
2. Use a light colored background
The light that shines in on your family is also shining on your background (duh, Sara). And that light is going to reflect off the background and cast whatever color your background is onto your faces. So if you sit in front of an red brick wall, the wall will reflect red light all over your family and your pictures are going to turn out super orange. Because of that, I recommend using a light colored wall! A white wall is best because it won't alter the color of your pictures; it's just reflecting white light. But any light colored background should do!
Also, if you're a fan of light, bright, airy looking photos (like mine) then you want a light colored background to help you achieve that look. If you stand in front of a really dark background (like a brown wall, or dark trees like in the picture below) your photos are going to look really really dark because the dark brown is going to take up the majority of the photo. Compare this to a brighter. lighter background in the picture on the right. Even though the family on the right is wearing darker clothes, their photo look brighter than the one on the left just because the background is lighter colored!
3. Use natural light!!
One of the first rules in photography is to not mix your light! All light has a color to it. And if you mix colors of light, your photos are going to have weird, mixed colors as well! One time I was photographing in a hotel and we had both natural light coming in through the windows, and darker more orange light coming from the lamps inside. I forgot to turn the lamps off at first, and all of those photos had a greenish glare that I couldn't get rid of no matter how much I edited! Your colors of light HAVE to match! (I turned the lamps off after a few minutes with permission from the hotel, and the photos turned out great!)
So how can you make sure you have good lighting in your photos at home? Turn off any overhead lights or lamps and just use natural light from the windows! I never ever shoot with the lights on if I can help it. Or if you're doing your photos out front of your porch, make sure to do it at a time of day where you don't need your porch lights on. (Also, wait until the entire front of your house is in the shade and you'll have beautiful, even, natural light for your porch photos!)
Just face the windows either head on or at a 45* angle. Sometimes when you use window light, it can be too bright and over-expose or "blow out" your photo. This just mean that there's too much light so you have super bright spots in the photo (usually on people's faces). You lose a lot of detail and it just doesn't look all that great. But there's a simple fix! If it's too bright, put up a white sheet or close the curtain a little bit to help diffuse the sunlight!
4. Choose complimentary outfits
Once you've got the spot picked out with a clean background and good lighting, next you have to think about outfits. We are long past the days were everyone wears matching white shirts and khaki pants. The key to a cohesive family photo is complimentary outfits, not matching ones. I've a got a Pinterest board FULL of fun examples and color scheme to inspire you!! Pick a color scheme you like, throw in a lot of neutral colors (a grey dress, a cream colored cardigan, etc. )
I can't wait to see all of the amazing family photos y'all will take on your own! With this crazy time we're all doing things we haven't before, learning new skills, trying new things. Maybe this is one of those new things for you! If you do take your own family photos, tag me in them on social media so I can see them! I know you'll do great :) And if you have any questions while you're preparing for them, feel free to email me! I'm happy to walk you through outfit selection, deciding on a good spot in your home. What ever you need!