Quite often after a family photo shoot in my Horsham Photography Studio I will hear people say something like ‘oh I love how I look in that photo’ while another person will say the exact opposite for the same photo. This is quite common when small children are present, as we all know their concentration doesn’t last as long as an adult’s. Now as a photographer I have spent years working in photoshop and various other photo editing software suits. And there’s definitely a knack when it comes to editing family photos. If families mention that they like different photos of themselves I will send them away to look through them carefully choosing exactly who they like in which photo and then once they have they can let me know who they want in which photos and I will merge the photos together to create the ‘perfect’ moment, which in reality never happened.

For example, here’s a selection of photos from a recent family photo shoot I did.

A selection of photos of a family from Brigton and Horsham

As you can see, there is no ‘perfect photo’ in this selection. And although there was maybe a dozen photos taken, all in the same group setup, these three were deemed to be the best. My task was to combine these photos together to create the perfect moment.

First things first: Choose a ‘Base image’ this is the image that all the others are going to have to work around and fit into. In this case I’m looking for the photo with the most happy faces and a nice group composition. In this case I have chosen this photo…

Base Image good composition for a family photoshoot in Horsham

The family members on the left hand side of the photo and the young lady sitting at the front of the group are all good, the parents unfortunately have their eyes closed as does the young man at the back of the group. The baby on the young lady’s lap isn’t looking at the camera, everything else in the photo is ok composition wise.

Secondly: We need to find faces to replace those family members with their eyes closed. In this case I have chosen the second photo…

Family group with a few extra happy faces.

This second photo is actually very similar to the original photo, and although there’s actually a few more happy faces there’s a few reasons it wasn’t chosen as the base image. The primary one being the lighting is a bit darker, leading to darker shadows in certain areas which will need more correction later on in the photo editing process. However, I now have a lovely photo of the parents and the baby. Unfortunately the young man at the back isn’t looking straight at the camera, so we need one more photo…

Final Face needed to complete a beautiful family portrait by Horsham Portrait Photographer

This is the one… he’s got his eyes open and he’s looking right at the camera, slightly stern looking, but that’s the one he likes…surprisingly the only other use-able face in this group is the dad’s…everyone else is distracted or not quite in the right place.

Finally after a good hour and a bit of photohop wizardry combing photos, correcting light levels and making sure that nothing is out of alignment…

Family Photo all perfect and correct

…there we have it, one beautiful family photo, with everyone looking at the camera (at the same time) with happy expressions and the perfect composition.
Now obviously in an ideal world this moment would have happened right in front of the camera, but as is so often the case (and more so with kids on set) this is the way your family photos are combined to create that perfect family portrait photo.

All these photos were taken in our Horsham, West Sussex Portrait Photography Studio. All the editing was done by the Pure Photos photographer, Alex White.