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Suzyana Ong

Top Tips for Photographing Large Families: Capturing Timeless Moments

If you’ve ever been involved in coordinating a family photoshoot, you’d understand the challenges that comes with it. The larger the number, the more stressful it gets! As photographers who have photographed large families up to 40 people, it’s daunting for us as well. Posing large families and ensuring everyone looks their best requires experience and skills. In Malaysia, there are many festive seasons where a family portrait session becomes necessary. If you are trying to DIY a large family portrait at home, these tips will help you master the art of photographing large families!

1. Start with a plan

Before the photoshoot, communicate with the family to discuss their vision, preferences, and any specific poses they have in mind. Consider factors such as location, wardrobe choices, and the overall style of the portraits. Having a clear plan in place will streamline the process and ensure everyone is prepared.

2. Choose a location

Selecting a suitable location is essential for large family portraits. Outdoor settings with ample natural light, such as parks, gardens, or beaches, provide a beautiful backdrop and ample space for posing. However, it can be pretty humid and chaotic when you bring so many people outdoors, so make sure you set everyone’s expectations prior to the shoot. Alternatively, if shooting indoors, opt for areas with neutral backgrounds to avoid distractions.

3. Appoint a leader

A leader is tasked in coordinating and organizing the entire shoot from the start till the end, as well as communicating with all the family members and photographer to ensure a smooth session. Create a chat group so that everyone involved receives the same message and information about the photoshoot.

4. Arranging and Posing

When posing large families, it’s helpful to establish a hierarchy to ensure everyone is positioned appropriately. Start by placing the parents or grandparents at the centre of the group, with smaller family units positioned around them. This arrangement helps to identify the family’s structure more clearly. Instead of lining everyone up in a straight row, arrange family members in layers to add depth and dimension to the photograph. This technique creates visual interest and prevents the image from appearing too flat. You can place taller individuals towards the back and shorter ones towards the front to avoid blocking faces. Utilize props or natural elements like stairs or benches to add dimension to the scene.

5. Pay attention to details

Try to take the time to pay attention to details such as wardrobe coordination, hair and hand placement. Besides that, notice for any distracting elements in the background and make adjustments as necessary. Additionally, be mindful of facial expressions, body language, and posture to convey warmth and unity within the family. Avoid stiff, unnatural poses by encouraging relaxed and comfortable stances. Guide family members to lean towards each other slightly or make physical contact to convey closeness and affection.

6. Experiment with different angles

If you have a really large family like the one below, and find it really hard to get a location to fit everyone, you can try to take a top angle shot! Everyone can be standing on the same level, but as long as they can see the camera, their faces will be seen.


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Retouching: What kind of editing do we do?

If you’ve ever wondered why photographers can’t send your photos instantly right after the shoot, this is because the photos need to go through a few processes before reaching their final result! When we shoot, we shoot in a format called RAW, which is not suitable for general use. So first, after the photo shoot is completed, our photographer will transfer the photos to the computer and select the best ones. Next, it gets transferred to an editing software, where our editor would do a basic colour correction on every photo and then export it in JPEG format. We often have clients ask, What do we mean by basic colour correction? Does it include removing pimples, wrinkles, eyebags, etc… Unfortunately, these requests fall under extra editing requests, as they require a longer time and effort to edit. If we do this for every photo, you may not receive your photos within the promised timeline!

Basic Colour Correction

Colours in RAW format are usually lifeless-looking, but it is still the best format to further process in post production. So it’s absolutely a must that we bring some life to the photos! A basic colour correction is essentially adding and balancing out the brightness, colours (saturation), colour temperature, highlights, and shadows of the photos as well as cropping out excessive backgrounds to make the images look more centred. A few toggles here and there will instantly make your photos look more vibrant and captivating!

Have a look at the before (left) and after (right) samples here!

Extra Editing

We do offer extra editing services for those who wish to have a “picture-perfect” photograph. This service usually comes FOC when you order framed prints and albums with us. Alternatively, you can add on this service for your favourite selection of images at a minimal additional fee.

Extra editing includes:

  • Skin smoothening
  • Removing skin blemishes
  • Minimizing eyebags/dark circles
  • Minimizing wrinkles
  • Removing flyaway hair
  • Removing any background distractions
  • Removing any scars/wounds

However, extra touch-ups can be done upon the client’s request, including:

  • Face/Body slimming
  • Minimizing double chins
  • Whitening teeth
  • Make-up retouch (add blush, lipstick, etc)
  • Minimizing creases on clothes

We hope this helps to clarify our editing services. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any more questions!

 

 

A Christmas Gift Guide

In recent years, Christmas has become a festivity celebrated by many (doesn’t matter what race or religion you are). I mean, who doesn’t love gifts? It’s the season of gifting! But gift shopping can be stressful (we know), and most of us don’t have the luxury of time to go out and shop for them. Fret not, we live in a digital world where everything, including gift shopping, can be at your fingertips. So here’s a list of Christmas gift ideas for young families that we’ve compiled for you busy bees, which you can get by heading to their website or dropping them a quick message. These are all Malaysian-owned brands, so you’ll be supporting another family or small business by buying from them!

The Kraft Store

The Kraft Store offers beautiful and essential handpicked goods such as bath towels, toys, feeding accessories, and books for your little ones. They have a good selection to choose from, so go check out their website to place your order.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thekraftstoremy/

Link to purchase: https://thekraftstoremy.cococart.co/

The Flight of Imagination

Together with makchic, we have created an endearing photo storybook experience that combines professional photos of your family taken by Stories, whimsical illustrations by Munsya Rahman, and a heartwarming story by makchic’s Kimberly Lee about the power of creativity and the joy of creating moments and memories. Created for children between the ages 3-8, this book will become a family heirloom worth treasuring. Don’t miss out on our current promotion we’re running for this (ends 31st December 2023).

Link to find out more: https://stories.my/flight-of-imagination/

Dough Little

Dough Little playdough kits are safe to play by children starting the age of 1. Their playdough boxes and kits are based on open-ended play concepts, whereby there aren’t definitive instructions and expectations while the child is at play. Children are encouraged to explore each box and create something amazing within the given theme (examples: create habitats, food, characters, vehicles etc).


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dough.little.playdough/

Website: https://www.doughlittle.com/

Mils and Key x Stories Newborn Gift Pack

Malaysian owned, Mils & Key’s mission is to curate and create safe, functional, sustainable, and stylish modern baby products. Coupled with a photoshoot that can be used for a maternity, newborn or family session, these gift packs that include Mils & Keys aesthetic looking yet functional products are a great gift for the expecting mom. ⁠

Link to find out more: https://stories.my/product/mils-key-gift-pack/

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Chinese-Malay Wedding: Atif & Irene

While movies and novels may glamorize the idea of romantic relationships, the truth is, finding happily ever after is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a deep trust to share one’s true self, fears, dreams, and insecurities. True love flourishes when both partners can be open and honest without fear of judgment. This is the story of Atif & Irene.

“Atif and I met at a friend’s party around 10 years ago in Melbourne, we became fast friends but it was a short friendship as he graduated and went back to KL the same year. We reunited in 2018 when he went to Singapore to take a break after a break up with his ex. Even then, we struggled with insecurities of our own and whether we should take on this relationship as it would be a long-distance relationship (LDR). He was especially cautious about this relationship as it was far from his ideal relationship he had in mind. However, as time went by, we realised that the both of us still managed to be by each other’s side despite the distance and challenges. Even until today I think the main foundation of our relationship is because we both want to stay in this relationship with this person.

We don’t have an anniversary because that way I can receive as many gifts whenever I want! (but also I don’t remember when I fell in love with him). Atif still has many insecurities, but I’ve learnt to have fun with him as the days goes by. I am still learning to express myself better around him to make him feel safe with me.”

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Family Portraits at Embun Luxury Villas, Janda Baik

We love to explore new places, especially if the places are a hidden gem! It’s so wonderful that Malaysia has so many beautiful resorts scattered across the country but what’s even greater is that we have places like Janda Baik which is only an hour drive from the city. This time, we visited Embun Luxury Villas at Janda Baik for the first time! It is a beautiful resort, with a lot of corners for family portraits. We began the shoot at 4pm and spent about 2 hours taking photos around the premise, thankfully, the weather was amazing!

There’s actually a number of beautiful resorts at Janda Baik that are perfect for a family reunion, birthday celebration and as a photo shoot location! We’ve photographed families at The Acres Resort and at Tiarasa Escapes. Both resorts are also highly recommended if you’re looking for a short escape from the city with slightly cooler weather and luscious greens.

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