4. Get Above the Fray
You might be inclined to take the traditional dinner table family portrait from eye level, but that means you've got all sorts of clutter--including candles, glasses, and perhaps even the turkey itself--getting in the way. A better solution is to get above eye level and shoot down towards your subjects. Not only does this get you above the fray, but photos from a higher elevation are often more flattering to the people you're photographing. You can do that by setting the camera on a tripod, or you can stand on a chair.
5. Combine the Best Parts of a Group Portrait With Photo Fuse
I've previously recommended Windows Live Photo Gallery's Photo Fuse as a way to more easily take great family portraits. Photo Fuse lets you swap elements among similar photos. So even if there's something wrong in each shot--people blinking, sneezing, whatever--you can just select the photos, choose Photo Fuse from the Create tab, and swap in different versions of each person's face until everyone looks their best.
What you might not realize, though--and indeed, this is a subtle Photo Fuse trick that slips past almost everyone--is that Photo Fuse doesn't only let you swap out faces. You can drag a selection box around any part of a photo and instantly choose from different versions of that scene. It's like being able to construct a photo based on alternate realities, like the recent coin flip episode of the TV show Community. You can swap out clean plates for dirty plates on the dining room table, put the dog in the background even if he got up from his nap by the time you snapped the "best" shot of mom; the choices are endless.
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