Thursday, 22 December 2011

how not to take family portraits.

Merry Christmas.
How many times will you have your photograph taken at Christmas? Holidays are the time more photographs are taken than at any other period of the year. The surge is frequently caused by the family coming together and a desire to capture this. Ever since photography was invented with the Daguerreotype mankind has striven to capture their own likeness and of loved ones. It is well known that a family with young children has more cameras per household than any other group. So we have established that photographing ourselves is of great importance  but what else can learn form this? The majority of pictures at this time of year are taken indoors and this helps to reveal information about our homes and how we live. It gives an indication of taste and a clue to our standard of living. Many family portraits are taken with this in the sub-conscious mind of the photographer, especially if it is the man of the household. Children are frequently photographed with their new toys which serves at least two roles. It acts as a record for the family of a happy occasion and as a status symbol signifying the generosity of the family. The clothes that we wear and and even the expression that we adopt all contrive to create an 'impression' of how we want the world to see and remember us. Do you like to look a certain way in a photograph or do you know someone who does? Victoria Beckham is a good example as she rarely smiles in any photograph. This is not her natural countenance unless the botox as restricted her face to a stern expression. The images that we take of ourselves and the reasons for doing so appear to have changed little over the years that photography has been around. When you see a group portrait who is the first person that you look at? It is a universal trait. A student of mine recently conducted a survey of fellow students asking about the images that they upload to Facebook and how they act in photographs. Nearly 80% stated that they did not have a 'look' that they liked to adopt when having their picture taken. This is high percentage. What is perhaps more surprising (or not) is that 90% of those interviewed said that they knew someone who did have a 'look' that they liked use when having their picture taken. Is it just me or do you think that maybe the 80% were being less than truthful about 'striking a pose.' Here is some photographic trivia. Every month over 6 billion images are uploaded to Facebook! They are the largest site for photography in the world.
Click on the link below the photograph for some visual clues on how not to get your family to pose this Christmas.


  1. A photograph is an unavoidable truth. The act of picture taking has its powers to penetrate into very soul of a person; happy, sad, nervous, uncertain, established, relaxed, indifferent..etc...
    No sweet, glamorous smile, or most professional trick can hide the truth, the reality of one's present life. That is an art! Unique, beautiful, timeless!
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Hi Nata, Yes sometime a picture can capture a revealing insight. I think particularly of Richard Avedon's picture of Marylyn Monroe when he has caught her looking lost and pensive. Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas.