This was the only shot that everyone looked decent, but now I have to do some Photoshop magic because I framed the shot according to my wife’s feet, not thinking about my big ole shoes when I sat down. That is on top of normal editing to take care of the blown out sky and dark faces. Save yourself! It is too late for me.

Let’s face it, if you are reading this chances are you are the photographer in the family. So that means that every holiday, gathering and vacation you are called on to take the family photo. Now I hope that you do this with joy and happiness and your family is loving and obedient and excited to help you take your shots. My family is more like Calvin and Hobbes than the Cleaverhousehold, and so the family portraits tend to take several years off of my life and add to the years of counseling my children will need. So here is a tip that may save your bacon in the future and you will thank me for it. It is simply this… shoot a little wider than you think you will need. You will have a tendency to want to get the best composition possible in camera and so you will frame up the shot on the tripod so that it is perfect. Only one problem… you are not in the picture and your family is not reacting to you being in the picture. If you are tall, then you will probably cut of your own head or feet in the picture…. or those neat little angels (your children) will shift and move as you make your way to your spot and suddenly and elbow is sticking out of the frame. You have learned to take a bunch of shots, in hopes that everyone is smiling and looking at the camera and not blinking… so now add to your check list to make sure you don’t have to do extra work and add back in feet elbows and heads in Photoshop… life is too short. Use my failings as a husband/father and photographer to inspire you to greater family portraits and just shoot a little wider than you think.
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