Can you believe it: next weekend is Eid! (Muslim festival marking the end of the month of Ramazan). Before you know it, the big day will be here. The entire family will be dressed in their finest and you will want to take some memorable photos. But maybe the fancy camera isn’t charged, or the toddler keeps running away and you’re really tired of all the family pictures in the same pose and place.
To help reduce the stress of the day (I know I can’t eliminate all of it!), I wanted to share some tips for taking great family pictures on Eid. So here’s a chat I had with amazing photographer and super-mom Nataliya. Read on to learn great tips!
Urdu Mom: What’s the best way to prepare your family for great Eid photos? Are they better done before? If you have to do them on the actual Eid day, what are some of your pro tips?
Natalyia: I would say the most important thing would be to invest in a tripod and a shutter trigger for your camera. Here’s the one I have which works with most Canon DSLRs. That makes the job so much easier, really!
If you take the photos before Eid, you can use them to print some photo Eid cards or send the photos out with your Eid messages. You can even use this as an excuse to get some annual family photos taken by a professional. Another simple way to get these done before Eid is to dress up for one of the iftaris you are invited to and take some shots before you leave the house. Either way, you will want to take some photos on Eid day itself, and the easiest way that works for our family is to keep some time for the photos before we have to leave for somewhere. Try to keep at least half an hour for this just in case.
Do let your family know before-hand that you’re going to be taking some family portraits. Do make it sound like fun and bribe the younger ones with candy (and grown-ups too if needed!). Before you call everyone, I would recommend setting everything up, taking trial shots to see how the setup looks in the photos. Call the reluctant ones right at the end when everything is ready. Do keep clicking and take a lot of photos (a trigger makes it easier to do that).
Urdu Mom: Do you prefer a time of the day? What are your suggestions for lighting? Outdoors or indoors?
Natalyia: If you’re planning to take the photos outdoors, it’s good to know about golden light: the light around sunrise and sunset which photographers get excited about. This is most flattering for people. However, it might not be always possible to plan around that, so here are some other options. If it’s a sunny day, try to find an area under shade to take photos. Bright midday sunshine produces unflattering shadows and is a total no-no. Overcast/cloudy days are usually okay.
For indoor photos, try to find the brightest spot in your house. Open your curtains/blinds wide so there’s a lot of natural light! Avoid artificial lights, including lamps and especially overhead lighting.
Urdu Mom: Any ideas for fun poses? Is there any special trick to get the whole family smiling at the same time? Is that required you think?
Natalyia:I love happy, natural-looking photos and am usually not much into posing. Some ideas to get those natural smiles is asking everyone to pretend laugh. I love doing this at photo sessions as it always ends up in a real laugh somewhere. Also love to have the parents surprise the kids with a tickle session to bring out some fun laughter. You can say something silly or get the funny one in your family to tell a joke. Do try to take some photos with everyone smiling at the camera and after that aim to get mostly relaxed ones.
I personally think everyone looking into the camera and smiling is over-rated! I would rather everyone looks happy and that their personalities shine through, than being forced to sit and smile at the camera! For kids specially, I think it is better to engage them in a conversation about something they love, and just keep clicking.
Urdu Mom: Professional camera or phone cameras? What are the pros and cons in your opinion?
Natalyia: I believe the purpose of our photos is to have memories to look back at and to remember all that we seem to forget. For that purpose pretty much any camera will do. If you would like photos that look anything close to the ones you see on Pinterest though, I would say explore your camera and get familiar with all that it allows you to do. Too many people with decent cameras are shooting in auto-mode and that to me is such a waste. However, if your cellphone camera is all you have, don’t fret as even those take awesome photos these days. It just depends on how you’re using what you have.
I’d say the pros of a DSLR are the quality of the photos and how much is in your control. The cons are of course the added size/weight as well as the fact that it can be overwhelming if you’re trying to learn everything that can be done. Pros of a cellphone camera are the spontaneity it brings to our moments. Also the results from cellphone cameras these days are pretty decent and can satisfy the needs of many people. Cons of course is the quality for those looking for better than average photos as the lens cannot compare to the ones that DSLRs have.
Urdu Mom: What are your thoughts on selfies for family photos ?
Natalyia: They’re awesome. Selfies’ make it easier to get even the most reluctant posers to come in front of the camera. And the absolute best part is they’re spontaneous and usually in-the-moment. Also love the fact that they allow the person who’s always behind the camera to do both.
Urdu Mom: What are some of the creative ways in which we can share and keep our Eid photos?
Natalyia: If you manage to get your photos taken before Eid, you can get some beautiful photo-cards printed or even make yourself, to mail out. You can add your Eid photo to your ecards or your Eid messages to share online. Our Eid photos are an important part of the family-yearbook that I make every year.
Urdu Mom: Is color coordination important for outfits?
Natalyia: I am a total lover of colors and would never suggest clients to come in perfectly color-coordinated outfits. To me, contrasting colors/patterns look best in photos and add so much personality. Bright lipstick/nail color/accessories… YES! So yeah , I would say we worry more about color coordination than we should. Just be yourself and enjoy!
Urdu Mom: What are some fun background or props ideas?
Natalyia: Props are great because they can keep kids interested in the photos as well as make the photos more fun. For Eid-themed photos, I would suggest to keep it simple so our beautiful joras get to shine. Some simple props I love are: a chalkboard with a personal message, confetti, glitter or an Eid banner the family gets to hold.
For the background you can add beautiful garlands or buntings that you can buy or make yourself. String lights are another option. You can even hang up one of your beautiful desi saris/dupattas/bedspreads over a fence for a unique backdrop.
Urdu Mom: What are some of your favorite Eid photos? Any thing else you would like to add?
Natalyia: I have taken Eid photos of my daughter every year and sent those out with our Eid messages. It’s so much fun to look back at these photos now. That is a personal favorite! Another time at an Eid party with our friends, we were trying to do a shot of our kids outside and it was hilarious as we tried to get 7 kids between the ages of 1 and 8 to stand for the photos! Finally we had one far from perfect one but every time we look at it, it reminds us of that fun, so very crazy moment.
In these times, while living away from our families, and our need for capturing our occasions, I think our Eid photos have become an integral part of the Eid festivities and we should make sure that they stay fun for us and our families. They don’t have to be perfect at all as long as we have some that help us remember the day. Even if god forbid your son refuses to wear his Eid kurta that you so excitedly got shipped for him, it is not worth it if he’s wearing it but having a meltdown about it in the photos. What we were wearing in those photos won’t matter in the long run, only the memories will 🙂
About Nataliya: “I’m part-time photographer/blogger full-time mom and wife living with my little family in the Pacific Northwest. Photography, to me, is about capturing people and relationships as they are, flaws and all. I believe there is beauty in crooked smiles, personality quirks and that happy people are always beautiful! My lifestyle blog is where I share thoughts and inspirations about motherhood/life/faith and everyday celebrations. My Pakistani-Muslim roots inspire me to raise my girl with a ‘best of both worlds’ approach by learning from the good of both life in Pakistan as well as the west:)”.
You can follow Natalyia on Facebook and this is the link to her amazing blog. Natalyia also takes professional photos in the Seattle area and this is her photography page.