Photographing Family Gatherings

About a week ago, we helped my sister in law celebrate her 60th birthday.  

We had such a nice time visiting and eating!  My brother grilled burgers and there were stuffed mushrooms, pico de gallo, salads, oven roasted veggies, and four cakes.  We were full.

One picture that I really like to take is of our family dining.  Whether extended family or just our immediate family,  I just love to capture the dining room table.

Over the years I began shying away from taking the "everyone look at the camera and smile" type of pictures.  It seems to stress some people who don't like to be photographed and I've had small children for so long that it seemed that inevitably one of them would not want to look let alone smile.  The "everyone look.." pictures just became too stressful.

I usually prefer candid pictures anyway.  So over the years I have started to take more candid photos in group settings.  

I have realized four things.  

1. I need to take a lot more candid photos in order to get keepers.
2.  When taking candids, I need to not worry about being conspicuous. 
3.  The formal "look at the camera and smile picture" is still important and I need to take more of them and spend the time getting everyone to "look at the camera...."
4. I want both types of photos when I get home from a gathering.

My second daughter is so good at getting us together for those photos and making everyone look.  It's taken the pressure off of me to be the pushy one.  But, she's not always there.  I miss the face pictures when I get back from a gathering and all I have are candids.

For sure one can ask for a group 'look at the camera' picture, but be prepared to accept 75% attention. Or less.  Especially when there are often 6 cameras on a group and no one knows which camera to look at!

I'd love to hear from all of you about this.  When photographing a group, are you pushy and/or patient enough to get everyone to look?  Do you know when to stop trying?  Do you have tips or tricks on getting good candid shots? While at a gathering, what shot do you prefer to take, the candid or the posed?


  1. I really like your peek into your dinner gathering is a charming photo and has such a real feel to it.

    I am not always happy with myself in photos so the idea of it not being a "command" photo really appeals to me.

    Yummy cheese puffs and your Tree of Heaven in the next post too = oh my!


  2. I love candid shots! I'm not pushy. I just take what I can get most of the time. We had a professional photo shoot of our family last Saturday.... that will suffice for awhile. ha! Great post!


Thanks for taking the time to stop and visit!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...