Photography tips: How to take fun, authentic family photos

Photographer Chaveli Guzman says the traditional sit down and say “cheese” photos are not authentic.

TAMPA, Fla. — Do people still take holiday photos and send out cards? The answer is yes — yes they still do. But getting that perfect, authentic family photo isn’t as easy as sitting down and saying “cheese.”

“I think holiday photos are kind of like a great, like annual reminder to take photos and to commemorate, like how much you change as a family, as a couple, as a person. And then just like honoring that every single year,” Chaveli Guzman, co-owner of C + B Studios, said.

Guzman owns C+B Studios with Brandon Muñoz. The professional photography duo says they’ve been busy with the high demand for holiday photos.

And they have a couple of tips to help make your holiday photo session a bit easier.

Tip #1: Take holiday photos at home

“A lot of people feel like they have to go on location to take family photos,” Guzman said. “But honestly, some of the most beautiful photos I’ve taken have been inside the family home because it’s personal.”

She says that having sessions at home shows a part of the family’s story. You can see how the space changes over time, and it’s a comfortable space that everyone is familiar with.

Tip #2: Let kids have the spotlight

“Being able to not try too hard, especially with a little kid, I think being able to let them be themselves. A lot of kids do like attention, so putting them in the spotlight sometimes is something that you enjoy,” Muñoz said.

“Having some kind of activity, it does help,” Muñoz said. “If one guy doesn’t necessarily like that pose, then you can move on. You know, you can do a shot. And if they really don’t feel comfortable, just move on.”

Muñoz says it’s all about capturing those in-between moments where a couple is actually laughing or talking because those are the moments that they are going to cherish the most.

Tip #4: Bring treats for animals

Dogs are part of the family, so it’s not uncommon to want them in the photo. But it’s important to come prepared. Not only will the pups enjoy the treats, you’ll also save yourself the headache. Woof.

“I think the pressure of just like the traditional sit-down, say ‘cheese’ is, it’s not as authentic as is it can be,” Guzman said. “If you’re just capturing a moment when they’re laughing and they’re together, that’s what it’s all about.”