Taking Family Photos

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How to take great family photos was the subject of The Saturday Early Show's "Family Weekend Guide" March 30. Dropping by to share some tips – and to show her own family photos – was Jill Enfield, a professional photographer whose work has appeared in national magazines, advertisements, and galleries throughout the United States and in Europe.

She also is a wife, mother, and a contributor to www.TakeGreatPictures.com, a Web site that teaches people how to incorporate photography into their lives.

Here is some of her advice:

  • Keep the camera ready, and don't stop at one shot. Enfield will put in a full roll of film and shoot it in just a couple of minutes. Look for funny moments. Entertain your kids, be silly with them, observe them. They make faces.
  • Shoot from above. Stand on a chair and take a picture of your child laying on the rug. Or stand on the side of a swimming pool and catch someone twirling in the water.
  • Distract your subject's attention from the camera. Get the person busy. Sometimes, telling them to strike a specific pose helps take their attention off the camera. You can also shoot a camera-shy person with their eyes closed or looking down. Putting something in their hands gives them something to concentrate on.
  • Take advantage of light. Sunset and early morning are good times to take pictures. People also think when it's raining, it's not a good time to take pictures, but that's not true. Colors appear more saturated when it's rainy and gray.
  • Play up a good feature. Hair is often a good one.
  • Capture your family's personality. Know how your family will react and be ready for it. Enfield had a photographer take her family portrait, but they wanted it to really show what their family is like.

    Says Enfield, "The photographer came for breakfast and shot all of us together in bed: Richard is reading the paper, Eve is jumping on the bed, and it was Sally's nap time, so I just put her on my lap, asleep. Family portraits don't always have to be posed, with everybody looking into the camera."

Enfield has taught at New York University, The Fashion Institute of Technology, and the International Center for Photography, as well as The Disney Institute and at photography workshops in the U.S. and Italy.

She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Richard, and their daughters, Eve, 11, and Sally, 8.