How do I get Started in Family Photography? (with pictures)

Margo Upson
Margo Upson
A family sits for a photograph.
A family sits for a photograph.

Family photography is one of the most popular types of professional photography, ensuring that there are always jobs available. A job as a family photographer may not be as glamorous as many other photography positions, but it pays well and can be a lot of fun.

The first step in becoming a family photographer is to learn photography. There are photography schools all over the world that can provide you with the photography skills you need to succeed. Many local community colleges offer photography courses, as well. While taking photography courses is not necessary, the techniques and theory taught in the courses can be invaluable later on.

Photographers shooting with digital cameras should invest in a quality digital single lens reflex camera.
Photographers shooting with digital cameras should invest in a quality digital single lens reflex camera.

Purchase a high quality single lens reflex (SLR) camera. Most professional photographers use digital (DSLR), but a film camera is cheaper and still takes great shots. Experiment, and learn how aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, and light all affect the shot. Have family members or friends pose for you, to help with learning how to set up a shot.

Family photography might also include candid shots of pets.
Family photography might also include candid shots of pets.

Start building up a portfolio. Your portfolio should contain copies of your best work. Offer to take family photographs for people you know. Offer them digital copies of the pictures, and have copies made up for yourself. This will give you the experience you need to get started, and give you material for your portfolio.

Many department stores offer family photography services, and they can be a great place to work when just starting out in family photography. Many of these family studios require a couple of years' worth of experience, but some may hire you based on your portfolio. Any experience gained through photography courses can also help you to get a position.

After getting experience in a department store setting, you can either move up to a more professional and higher profile studio or start your own. If your ultimate goal is to own your own family photography studio, this may be a good time to get started. You can rent out a small studio space, or even set one up in your own home. Let friends, family members, and business contacts know that you will be going out on your own, and ask them to spread the word. Print up flyers, send out postcards, and put a notice in the paper. Let the community know that you are opening the studio.

Use some of the best family portraits from your portfolio as decorations in your new studio, especially in your office, or where ever new potential customers will be meeting with you to discuss your services. This will allow you to showcase your skills as a family photographer, which can help you to get sales.

Getting started in family photography isn't hard, but it can be a long and costly process. Most photographers with their own studios find that it is possible to make up for these costs in a relatively short amount of time, however, through building up their standing as a noted family photographer in their community. Taking great photos, and offering the best possible customer service, will keep customers coming back, and have a direct effect on your success in family photography.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

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    • A family sits for a photograph.
      A family sits for a photograph.
    • Photographers shooting with digital cameras should invest in a quality digital single lens reflex camera.
      Photographers shooting with digital cameras should invest in a quality digital single lens reflex camera.
    • Family photography might also include candid shots of pets.
      Family photography might also include candid shots of pets.