The family is the basic unit of society, and this is especially emphasized in the Philippines, where these ties are practically considered sacred by most. You can really see it in action during the holidays, during which Filipinos would do everything they can so the whole family will be celebrating Christmas and New Year be under one roof. This, combined with the Pinoys’ fondness for the camera, mean that it’s imperative for the family pictures—especially the ones with the whole clan present—to be as perfect as possible. Make sure you capture every picture-perfect moment accurately with our tips below.

1. COMPRESSED IS BEST.
Getting all the titos, titas, cousins, grandkids, and great-grandkids fit in one frame could be a challenge, so make sure that family members pose as close to each other as possible to make room for everyone.

2. SCHEDULE IT EARLY.
Take the photos before the festivities start to ensure that every member will be in the picture. This rings especially true for massive family reunions, where it’s more difficult to keep track of all the cousins, titos, and titas milling around. You should also give the family a few minutes to touch up so everyone will look pretty and photo-ready.

3. MAKE SURE THEY’RE HAVING FUN.
Nothing can ruin a family photo like a frown or worse, a tantrum-throwing child. Make sure everyone’s in high spirits before clicking on the shutter. Wait for the crying toddlers to calm down, and crack jokes to make the family members’ smiles more genuine.

4. FOCUS ON THE FAMILY.
The right location matters a lot in photography, but try to tone it down this time. You should also try blurring the background to ensure that all eyes will be looking at the subject. Remember, you’re focusing on the family, and not on the colorful field of flowers behind them.

5. CONSIDER THE LIGHTING.
Harsh lights may be good for television and fashion shoots, but it’s best to choose something softer for your family photos. Opt for natural light if possible: it’s best to shoot on overcast days or during the late afternoon, and don’t make your subjects face the sun so they won’t squint.

(Photo by Luke Chan via Flickr Creative Commons)

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