A Photographer’s 5-Step Guide to Including Themselves in Family Photos

A Photographer’s 5-Step Guide to Including Themselves in Family Photos

Photographers are used to being behind the lenses, capturing precious moments in candid or in a scripted shoot. They make sure the images reflect the true beauty and meaning of the scenes, just like how artists do it while Painting Self-Portraits.

However, the downside of always being the one behind the camera, is that you are often excluded in the picture. This can be alienating in a sense, because of course it would seem like you were erased from the memory. People looking at the photos the first time will probably assume you were never there.

Luckily, it is possible for you as the photographer to be part of your family photos and share in the genuine moments with your kids.

  1. Set up the Scene

It is easy to set up scenes for a posed shoot compared to a genuine one. However, the best photos worth looking back to, are the meaningful ones wherein your smiles are unforced, and your poses aren’t staged to look good. This way, you can look back to the moment in a few years and not remember how you did it but can vividly remember how you felt during that moment.

These moments could be as simple as having a candle-lit dinner with your spouse or taking a bath with your little one in the morning. To set up, place your camera in a well-lit area prior to the actual scene and make sure it is accessible.

  1. Set Camera, Shutter and Focus

For the camera, set the tripod and shoot between f/2.5 to f/3.2 just like how you do with your normal shoots. Adjust ISO and shutter speed on your area’s lighting.

Using the interval timer for the shutter is recommended because it is much more convenient, and you can adjust it however you want to get a variety of results. The focus is the tricky part, but don’t get discouraged by misfocus. Once your family members have stood where you want them to be, use autofocus. Then, switch to manual focus to avoid focusing on anything other than where you want it to be.

  1. Match Clothing and Props with your True Self

Don’t dress to impress, dress to reflect the authenticity of the scene. Make sure your clothing complements your personality and the colors match the mood you are trying to capture. Stray away from character clothing if it kills the mood of the photograph.

You can never go wrong with warm-toned, solid or lightly patterned outfits. Furthermore, you can also use props that might be a valuable memory in the future, such as your child’s very first toy, or your wedding ring.

  1. Prepare a Workflow

Have a clear idea of the shot you want to achieve, and then try out a few poses or variations if you would like. Don’t sweat too much if you don’t immediately get the image you want. Just keep going no matter how many results you end up with.

Either way you’re going to have to cut them down to a few photos and edit them according to your preference. Treat your own photos with as much or with even more value than your client’s photos.

  1. Keep in Mind Your Value

You won’t be able to capture a good picture when you’re too tense and don’t feel relevant. Don’t let your insecurities stop you from capturing precious moments that may get lost in time without anything to remind you and your family of it.

Remind yourself of your worth and why you want to do this self-portrait. Always remember that these moments won’t last long, and thus, must not be taken for granted.


Don’t let a loving memory slip out of your hold. Use your photography skills to include yourself in your family photos and have it imprinted in your hearts and that of your children for years to come.

Amanda King