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  • Writer's picturePhil Davenport

Capture Love and Family in Photography

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words… Whether you’re trying to convey romantic love, the love between a parent and child, or love between siblings, these photography tips can help you capture love and true emotions with your camera of choice.

Avoid those lacklustre poses.

You know the pictures I’m talking about, the ones where people pose awkwardly with oddly unnatural smiles, often shaking hands at a ceremony or family gathering. Put people at ease, get to know your clients and don’t be afraid to give a little direction. Humour works and being Irish (as I am) the occasional joke doesn’t go amiss in lightening the mood. This should be a fun and light-hearted experience for everyone involved and the pictures need to reflect that feeling.

Choose the right setting. If photographing kids then find a place where they feel relaxed and at ease, maybe there back garden or playroom opposed to taking them into unfamiliar surroundings and unlike above you can forget about giving direction, go with the flow and allow the kids freedom to be just that, kids.


Pay attention to the lighting – Photography is all about light. Pay attention to the direction of the light, the colour of the light, the hardness of the light, etc. Small adjustments like the direction the child is facing can make a big difference.

Time of day – If you’re shooting outdoors, the ideal time to shoot is during the golden hour. If you’re shooting inside, pay attention to the time of day that the room or location gets the best light.

Shade – The best light for portraits is diffused light. If you’re shooting in direct sunlight, find a nice shady spot to shoot in.

Shoot in-between poses

In the age of digital photography there is no excuse not to capture multiple kinds of images. Sure take the posed shot but be sure to shoot before and after. Often the emotion immediately after a shot is the most relaxed and genuine. With children, the moment after they say “Cheese!” will probably generate the best results.


Children’s expressions change in an instant, as a result, I’ll sometimes take upwards of 30 photos for the same pose. If there are multiple kids, pay attention to each kid and make sure you get an expression you like from everyone. Take plenty of photos.

Shoot everyday moments

Expressions of love often are often expressed in the subtle of ways. Consider photographing everyday occurrences.

  • The family preparing a meal together, home baking is my favourite.

  • Eating dinner together and sharing stories from their day.

  • A snuggle on the sofa watching their favourite show.

  • A parent’s gentle caress along the cheek.

  • Brushing the child’s hair.

Don’t miss the details that capture love and family

Observe carefully, and you’ll see many signs of love that don’t necessarily involve a complete view of your subjects’ faces. Think about the way parents tightly grip their child’s hands whilst crossing the street, a gentle smile of reassurance or maybe a stolen kiss. Focus on these details. Whether they take centre stage in your photo project or simply play a supporting role, a detail can easily symbolize love.

Another tip: Focus on your subjects’ eyes with your camera. Smiles can be faked; the look of love can’t.

Use a zoom lens – I absolutely love the quality of prime lenses; unfortunately, they just don’t work for me on family sessions. Changing lenses slows the session down too much, and I don’t want to use multiple cameras because I’m constantly moving around.

I personally use a 24-105 on most of my sessions. The 105mm end gives me some depth (and compression) and the 24mm end allows me to get those wide angle shots.

The world seen through your camera lens can give rise to many creative ideas allowing you to capture beautiful images that will inspire joy for years to come. Above all have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Shooting with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II

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