WE are supporting the Amnesty International #FamiliesTogether campaign. Celebrity photographer Alexi Lubomirski shares his tips on taking great family photos - and you can send in your own below.

ALEXI Lubomirski may have photographed the likes of Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Lopez over the course of his career, but the majority of us will be most familiar with the stunning royal wedding shots of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle he captured earlier this year.

Despite his high-profile CV - and the fact that he too is a prince, descended from Polish royalty - the New York-based fashion photographer was totally shocked when he received a call from Kensington Palace.

“My mother had undergone a major operation that day and when the phone rang I was expecting the call to be news about how she was doing,” he explains.

“Harry and Meghan’s engagement had been on the TV all day, so when someone at the end of the line said it was Kensington Palace, I thought my mate was pranking me. I almost unleashed some pretty unsavoury language - luckily I bit my tongue!”

The wedding photos were a sensational success - with media around the world praising the warmth and love they exuded.

“They were such an easy couple to shoot - so obviously in love,” Alexi, 43, remembers. “It was a really cold day and I asked Harry to wrap Meghan into his jacket. I told Meghan to turn around and face Harry and to snuggle up with him and they looked so genuinely happy. Then I started shouting ‘That’s great! That’s amazing!’ - I was practically screaming.

"On reflection, this was probably not the most appropriate way to treat royalty but it made them start giggling and they became totally caught up in the moment which made such a perfect photo.”

Outside work, Alexi says that his favourite subjects to snap are his wife, Giada, and his two young sons Sole Luca, eight, and Leone, five.

“Photographs of my family are incredibly important to me - they’re littered across my house and instantly connect me to a moment of happiness,” says Alexi. “Many people would choose their phone if they had to save one thing if their home was burning down, but I think I’d struggle not to take photos.”

Which is why Amnesty’s latest project to create the UK’s biggest family photo album to support its #FamiliesTogether campaign has chimed with Alexi so much.

The campaign wants restrictive UK rules to be eased, helping refugees who have lost their homes and been separated from their families be reunited.

The photo album will be a celebration of family life today in all its glory and will be presented to the Home Secretary as a call to help the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who have been torn apart –giving them a chance to rebuild their lives and look forward to safe, happy futures together.

Earlier this year, MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of changing the rules keeping refugee families apart. Sajid Javid has the power to change these rules with the stroke of a pen.

“I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like to be a refugee who has fled their entire life as they know it and arrived somewhere many hundreds of miles away, with no way to be reunited with their family," said Alexi.

"That one treasured family photo they might have carried along the way could be the only comfort they have. It is heartbreaking and I want to help change this.”

Alexi has shared his own precious photo for the album - a candid shot that his assistant took in his studio.

“I love this picture because it shows my two passions - family and photography. I was showing the kids my new camera and how it works - the photo is a simple one, just us playing together. My dream is that my boys become my assistants when they get a bit older. You get to travel a lot in my line of work, but quite often you don’t have the closest people in your life to share it with.”

To help with Amnesty’s campaign, Alexi has offered up five top tips to help you take the perfect family photo for Amnesty’s album - and thankfully, none of them involve any expensive bits of kit.

KEEP IT REAL

It’s easier said than done, but try not to force family pictures: “When you’re taking a family photo it can be easy to lose sight of why you’re taking it - for memories. Have fun, try not to worry about the kids wreaking havoc or pulling faces. You’ll probably look back and love that picture all the more for any ‘flaws’ you find.”

BE SNAP HAPPY

Alexi says more is definitely more when taking family photos: “If you’re taking pictures of a moment, just keep pressing that button. Take 50 and review them later - there will probably be a gem in there - maybe someone hysterically laughing or maybe a really natural, happy smile.”

WALK THE WALK

Make people stay too still when taking a photo and you’ll be setting yourself up for a bad result: “I’ll often try to get my kids to run towards the camera and I’ll walk backwards taking the photo . With children it makes them laugh and with adults it takes their mind off the photo

being taken. It switches one side of the brain off and immediately helps a camera-shy person feel less awkward.”

AND TALK THE TALK

“When I’m taking photos I don’t shut up - there’s nothing worse than waiting for your photo be taken while a photographer stands there silently. You need to encourage people and sometimes direct them. Praise them if the pictures looking great. This will boost their confidence and also make sure you frame the perfect shot.”

LEARN TO USE LIGHTING

While family photos aren’t about looking your best, it’s worth remembering you’re almost guaranteed an unflattering shot if you take a photo outside in the middle of the day. “If the light’s directly above you, you’ll look awful - no matter if you’re a model or not,” he explains. “Pictures will generally look better in the late afternoon as the light is lower. And if you can take a shot under a tree, even better - here you get open shade light which is beautiful, soft and bounces nicely off people’s faces. You also get some interesting background environment in there too.’

To submit a photo to the UK’s Biggest Family Photo Album and be in with a chance of winning one of 13 Virgin Experience Days, Family Segway Rally days out, as well as one Tiki Lodge Family Adventure Week in Wales worth £950, upload a photo to www.worcesternews.co.uk or visit amnesty.org.uk/family.

FamiliesTogether is a coalition of over 20 organisations working to secure refugee family reunion in the UK including Amnesty International UK, British Red Cross, Oxfam, Refugee Council and UNHCR. Visit amnesty.org.uk/familiestogether for more details. This campaign is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

FAMILY photos can capture wonderful moments of love and togetherness - the first day at school, a holiday snap, or a shared family meal.

But for refugees separated from their families by unfair UK rules, these photos are often their most cherished possession.

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid could change these rules and make a lasting difference to refugees in the UK. You have the power to make this a reality.

How to get involved

We’re creating the UK’s biggest collection of real family photos to show the Home Secretary that the UK believes in keeping families together. We need as many photos as possible so that he can’t ignore us - that’s where you come in!

Submit a photo of your family below and we’ll add it to Amnesty’s giant album that will be displayed at Parliament in October, as well the digital version that will be found on the Amnesty website.

Use the form below to submit your picture - but please ensure you have the consent of everyone in the photo before you send it.

By adding your image you're confirming that you are over 18 and that it's okay for us to pass your details to Amnesty International. Your contact details will only be used to ask you more about your entry or to let you know if you're a winner.

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