How to get creative with your family portraits or holiday snapshots


A file photo of a couple and their children having fun at the padi fields in Tanjong Karang, Selangor during Hari Raya. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

Each year during festive occasions like Hari Raya Aidilfitri, families and friends will gather together to celebrate, bond, feast and simply have a jolly good time.

Many will also spend time taking family pictures, as everyone would be dressed in their best clothes; some would even coordinate their outfits so that everyone would be wearing the same colour or style, for example. This is actually a good family tradition to have, as it is fosters good relationship among one another.

You can even practice the same tradition with close friends.

Mior Irfan, 24, is a photographer who has done a handful of unconventional Hari Raya family portraits. “Many family photos for Hari Raya are still being taken indoors, whether in someone’s house or in a studio.

“What my team and I prefer to do is take these kinds of pictures outside because outdoor photography gives you more freedom to pick your background, and natural light is abundant,” he said.

If you’re still looking for ideas on where to take your festive family photos, here are some suggestions.

Beach

Beaches have long been a favourite destination for many holidaymakers. They also provide a fantastic backdrop for photography. So, if your kampung is near a beach, you may want to take advantage of that and do a simple family photo shoot session there.

To make it more special, pack some goodies along and have a picnic at the beach after you’re done taking photos, or incorporate them in your pictures.

A file photo of young siblings and cousins celebrating Hari Raya at their grandparents’ place by the beach in Pantai Sepat, Kuantan, Panag. —  AZMAN GHANI/The StarA file photo of young siblings and cousins celebrating Hari Raya at their grandparents’ place by the beach in Pantai Sepat, Kuantan, Panag. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Public park or garden

For those looking for a nature-themed venue, a public park or garden will be your best option. The lush foliage may offer just the perfect backdrop for your photos.

Most parks and gardens will also be filled with colourful flowers, and if you’re lucky, they will all bloom at the same time as when you’re taking your pictures.

If there aren’t any parks nearby, you could also try looking for a public space that’s surrounded by lots of trees or plants.

For something truly “out there”, head to the forest and get some gorgeous shots on the hiking trails ... all the while dressed in your best Hari Raya outfits!

Mior prefers to do Hari Raya shoots outdoors. — MIOR IRFAN/InstagramMior prefers to do Hari Raya shoots outdoors. — MIOR IRFAN/Instagram

Mosque

Most Muslims would be heading to the mosque or surau for prayers, especially during major celebrations like Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha, so this may not be the ideal place to take your family photos as it will be crowded.

However, you could always take your photos on other days, and in parts of the mosque where you are not likely to block other people’s way. You could also just take photos with the mosque in the background.

Mosques in Malaysia are beautiful after all, so it makes perfect sense to incorporate it in your photos. You just need to plan your photo shoot sessions properly so you don’t inconvenience others.

A Raya picture with a mosque in background? Why not? — CHESTER HO/UnsplashA Raya picture with a mosque in background? Why not? — CHESTER HO/Unsplash

Padi fields

The padi fields of Sekinchan, Selangor are famous on social media. Many people take photos there almost all year round as the fields are either fully green (when the padi is growing) or fully golden yellow (when the padi is ready for harvest).

Similarly, people also often take pictures in the many padi fields found in Perlis and Kedah, as well as a few other states like Johor, Negri Sembilan and Sabah.

If you plan to do a photo shoot at a random padi field, do remember that these are private properties so you should not be entering into the fields without permission. Also, tread carefully as the ground surrounding the field will be muddy and may get destroyed if too many people walk on it.

The best way is to take your photos by the roadside instead, though you would need to be wary of the traffic. Always prioritise safety, folks!

Murals and other street art like this one are easily found in big cities and towns around Malaysia today. — SHAARI CHEMAT/The StarMurals and other street art like this one are easily found in big cities and towns around Malaysia today. — SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

Street art

While some may view murals or street art as nothing more than a form of vandalism, it has gained quite a following among Malaysians over the past decade. Mural art in the country has become a tourist attraction in itself, and some state governments even encourage local artists to showcase their artwork on certain buildings and walls these days.

Places like George Town in Penang, Ipoh in Perak, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur, even have murals that are internationally known.

Now imagine having some of these stunning artworks as the backdrop of your Hari Raya photos. It may be a little unconventional, but your photos will definitely be special.

Historical buildings

There is something about old buildings that are attractive to many, especially visitors. Perhaps it is the architecture or history – and mystery – of some buildings that are just so appealing.

This is probably why some people choose to have their photos taken in front of old buildings – especially colonial ones – as their majestic facade and beautiful surroundings make for a great backdrop.

Malaysia has a number of heritage buildings, too, so it’s pretty easy to find at least one in any of the major cities or towns around the country. And if you can’t find one nearby, don’t worry as you can also head to a historical landmark instead, like Melaka’s A Famosa or the Fort Magherita in Kuching, Sarawak.

Shopping malls in Malaysia are known for their festive decorations, like this one at Intermark Mall in KL. — HandoutShopping malls in Malaysia are known for their festive decorations, like this one at Intermark Mall in KL. — Handout

Shopping malls

Malaysian shopping malls are known to go all out when it comes to their decorations during festive seasons. Each mall will also have different themes every year, so most shoppers and tourists do look forward to them, too.

These days, most malls will also prepare the best spots where shoppers can take their photos, as well as props that you can use and incorporate into your pictures. Shoppers are usually also considerate and will move out of the way so as not to be in your shot (no photobombs, please), or even help you take your pictures.

So, why not make use of these beautiful spaces and have your pictures taken there? It’s free, it’s decorated by professionals, and best of all, you’ll be in an air-conditioned space!

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