How many times have you tried to get a good photo of all of your kids together? Never mind down the viewfinder, you need eyes in the back of your head too! To help you master the art of group shots, we've asked professional photographer Emily Walker to share her tips with us on how you can capture that perfect siblings shot.
It sounds simple, but the most important thing is to be prepared! Set the scene and bring the children together somewhere where there is a good source of natural light. Have the camera ready and set to a fast shutter speed, if you are using auto camera settings check to see if you have an option for sports / high-speed shots. You will want to be quick, sometimes the best shot is the first one and you want to be ready for this.
Think about the location
It can help to sit the kids on a bench, on a picnic bench, low wall, stairs or a sofa, something that has an edge to it so this way they have to stay put for a few moments... nothing too dangerous, you don't want to add catching children into the mix! If you have children of different ages, put the youngest one in the centre and flank them with the older ones, older children are less likely to wander off.
It's not all about the smile
A good photo doesn't need to have everyone looking at the camera smiling and will definitely not be one with everyone saying 'cheese!'. My favourite images are always where my children are interacting with each other. You can also give the children something to do, counting their sister's toes, something small to play with - some leaves or flowers are perfect if you are outdoors, maybe a book for the eldest child to read or look at with the others.
A touch of silliness
If you really want all the kids to be looking at the camera, it's best to have them sat down and then draw their attention to you - I tell them I have a singing ladybird living in my camera, but it won't come out until it's ready, they have to look closely, be very quiet and then he might come out and sing for them! Of course, if they do sit still I have to follow through by singing in a very bad high-pitched, operatic style but it does work and I do get the shots. You can make up your own kind of silliness, but I find this approach really works.
On their level
It is also a good idea to get down to the children's level both physically and mentally, playing games like 'Chinese whispers' or 'passing the hugs' work well if you have kids sat in a line. Learn a few jokes, blow bubbles or sing with them. If you have children of different ages try and make the older ones laugh as the younger ones will naturally laugh too to copy their older siblings. Above all, remember to have fun with them!
Emily Walker is a natural light photographer based in Surrey but who works throughout the UK. Emily became obsessed with photography as a child when she would pour endlessly over family photo albums and smile at the memories captured. She would also love watching her dad use his Canon ae-1 as he patiently composed the shot and then waited for the perfect moment to capture it. These days, mum-of-three Emily can be found behind the camera herself, describing her style as natural, simple and fun.