Tips for a Great Family Photo

by Alaina on November 8, 2011

Family photos should be something treasured for the rest of your life but often enough, at least in this family, the time preparing for a family photo is stressful and dreaded. We recently had a family photo done about a month ago and I think I have finally learned some tips that I can pass along to make your experience enjoyable and fun instead of an anxiety  filled day. Right now many people are preparing for a family picture to be used on holiday cards sent out to family and friends near the holidays or to be used for photo gifts to loved ones for the holidays. With all the stress with the upcoming holidays though, do you really need to stress about a family photo? From experience I would say if I go into it with a fun and relaxed attitude then my kids feed off of that and will be relaxed and well behaved too. If I am uptight and tense then they sense that and it makes everyone stressed out and is no fun at all. So here are my tips on how to get a great family photo for the holidays.

  • Schedule it wisely. Whoever is taking the photo whether it is a friend or a professional photographer, you need to schedule the photo shoot with your kids in mind. If you have kids that still nap, you DO NOT want to interfere with that on family photo day. Also don’t push to close to dinner time when they kids will be complaining they are hungry. Don’t make it really early in the morning where you are going to have to wake them up. Pretty much work within their schedules and figure out a time that they are usually all happy and not tired.
  • Your family does not need to look like they just stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine. Think simple for family outfits. With four kids, sometimes I just tortured myself trying to get everything to match perfectly. I find looking back at photos though that I enjoy the ones where the family coordinates well but are dressed pretty casually and simply. If you make everything match too much then the clothes kind of take over the picture rather than the people. Choose a color or colors that coordinate and are not going to contrast with each other. If everyone is wearing conflicting colors then again, the attention will be on the clothes instead of the people. Try to wear solid colors, no busy patterns.
  • Pick casual poses that are going to be easy to get the kids to do like laying on their stomachs in the grass or something low key. Some poses I have been put in for photographs are so hard to hold I feel strained just sitting their waiting to have my picture taken. For young kids that is going to come across in the photos. If they are not relaxed and comfortable, it probably won’t be a good picture.
  • Think simple for backgrounds. Again, you want your family to be the centerpiece of this photo. Busy backgrounds will only distract from that. I personally like outdoor photos with natural light but that can be as simple as laying in your back yard.

The recent photo we had done of our family is one I treasure. Well, I actually prefer the shot I got of all the kids by themselves. They seem cuter without me in the mix! The family photo was actually done by a professional but a friend of mine and I were talking afterward and decided next time we would help each other out with family photos. We both recently bought a nice DSLR camera so those will do fine for family photos and we both have large families so we kind of know how to get everyone settled down and cooperating instead of scaring a photographer with our bunch. That is why I thought it was interesting when I came across the Shutterfly Family Photo Day initiative. This looks like so much fun and so relaxed. The kids will have a blast and in the meantime you will capture some great family photos. You can search for a Family Photo Day near you with the group or offer to host your own. The website has some wonderful ideas to use for creating a variety of different photo areas for your family photo day and they also offer a downloadable toolkit.. Sounds to me like a great way to have a day of fun with your family while also checking off those holiday cards and gifts.


** I was compensated for this post but all opinions therein are 100% my own**

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