Now that the selfie has cemented its place in pop culture, we’ve all pretty much gotten the hang of it, right? Onto the next challenge. The family selfie may be a bit more involved, but it’s a fun and casual way to capture priceless memories on the fly.
The art of the snapping the perfect family selfie — or felfie, as we like to call it (although, in full disclosure, that’s also the buzz word for selfies taken with farm animals) — lies in the knowledge that perfection only comes when you embrace the imperfections.
Got it? Good. Now we can move on to a few tips to help you with the logistics of getting everyone in the picture, and getting a picture that everyone wants to share.
Tip #1: Center yourself
Not in the zen kind of way, although that isn’t actually a bad idea. We’re being pretty literal, though. Getting everyone into a family selfie — particularly if you have a family of four or more — can be the trickiest part. Taking the shot from the center is always a safe bet. Have one person in the front hold the camera directly in front of the family and fire away. For a simple variation, you can center your phone at a slightly higher angle and have everyone look up at the lens.
Tip #2: Squeeeeeeeze
C’mon, show the love. A popular technique in wedding photography these days involves the photographer having members of the bridal party stand together in a slapdash line, turn their shoulders slightly inward and then squeeze together. The reason for this is because it’s a fantastic way to fit everyone in the picture in a way that doesn’t feel stuffy or contrived. When people squeeze together, they do things like put their arms around each other, or tilt their heads toward loved ones.
Tip #3: Move fast
Sure, you might borrow that one trick from the professional photography book. But this isn’t a professional photo session — you’re not fussing over lighting or tripods or anything of the sort. Our point? You’re not shooting a professional photo, so there’s no use in spending tons of extra time trying to set the selfie up to look like a professional photo. They just won’t. You’re taking this photo with your phone, remember? By nature, a selfie should feel candid and authentic — not forced. Besides, kids lose interest quickly. If you’re clever enough to convince them to let you take a family selfie, you’re smart enough to know asking for 10 re-takes is pushing your luck.
Tip #4: Say yes to the silly face
We know, we know. In regular family photos, it drives you nuts when your kids make crazy faces and your husband refuses to smile (seriously, you can count on one hand the number of pictures you have that actually show his teeth). But the first rule when it comes to selfies is there are no rules. Let everyone make the face that feels right to them. You’ll capture your family’s individual personalities in a way that is endearing and reminds you to not take yourself too seriously.
Tip #5: Defer to the real experts — your kids
Listen, we didn’t come up in the selfie era like our children. Today, kids are so adept with digital devices like cell phones that you’d think there was a social media instruction manual in the womb. While you’re probably pretty proud of how far you’ve come on the selfie front, chances are good that your kids are far better. If you’re ever having one of those days when you just cannot seem to capture the family selfie of your dreams, defer to the nearest tech-savvy teen or preteen. And don’t feel bad when they nail it on the first attempt.