TODAY   |  November 29, 2013

How to get the perfect family photo

Professional photographer Marc Serota shares some of his best tricks of the trade for a fabulous family photo you can be proud to show family and friends.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> hard to believe it's that time of year again. getting the family together to take that perfect family photo for the all important holiday photo. the fun part getting to see the pictures of your friend or your family.

>> but the hard part is getting the perfect shot. mark is busy this time of year and he is here to share a few tricks of the trade. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> we're going to start with some of our own photos. i think we have jenna, a family photograph.

>> we did one this year. i have to say my best friend is a photographer. so that's not really fair.

>> there you go.

>> see, that's a great one.

>> come on.

>> i know.

>> but i also imported that but this was in college. we looked freshman 15ish. but you can't say something to your kids like take a pound off or two.

>> we don't do that.

>> we also have willie.

>> this is when i was a kid. we see how enthusiastic my sister and i were.

>> very brave of me to put that on television.

>> let's see if we can do better. we have a beautiful family right here. what are we looking at? what do you recommend?

>> we have a family of four and we have them seated down so they're not on the same horizontal plane with their heads and that gives you more structure with the photograph.

>> and they have the tree behind them.

>> the tree in the background.

>> you're using an iphone.

>> i'm using a smartphone.

>> say cheese.

>> i'm going to put them in here. i'm going to pick an angle higher or lower to bring the tree into the shot.

>> it's not fair that you have the most beautiful family in america. look at those kids.

>> they certainly do. this is an app called top camera which is a free app and it allows you to have burst mode which gives you a drive if you're trying to get the soccer shots of the kids.

>> you have the volume button.

>> people don't know that the volume button is the shutter. so when you're trying to push the glass and the camera won't fire right away you use the volume button and it will fire right away and when you're holding it down it fires on the release not on the push down so it will shoot when you want it to.

>> you're okay to use the smartphone.

>> if you have to, yeah. i always prefer something else but if you have to it makes a great photograph. but this app also has a self-timer on it.

>> sometimes you don't have the photographer or the friend that can take a photo. so you say you can do a selfie is that right?

>> yes and the best way is to not have your arm in the picture.

>> i always say higher. otherwise you have the double chin .

>> thank you, you guys look incredible.

>> lest look at the different set up here. emma and madison. what are we going for here?

>> this is the outdoor look. we have an slr here and a cannon here and what we're going to do now is you focus your photograph. okay girls. look at me. smile, look at each other. good, that's excellent. and lean on her a little bit.

>> there you go.

>> come together.

>> and same wardrobe is important.

>> the wardrobe is good. also in an outdoor scene look for a cloud or go under a tree. hard shadows create raccoon eyes . don't let the tree grow out of the back of the subject's head so move away from the trunk of the tree but have that.

>> always use the flash outside.

>> whenever you can except if you have glass or metal behind you.

>> can we get in the holiday picture.

>> yeah.

>> photo bomb.

>> good. good.

>> we're done.

>> look what happens afterward. people get candid.

>> and that's for the card.

>> keep shooting.

>> ladies, thank you so much. happy holidays, mark. thank you