How to Take the Perfect Family Pictures

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Professional photographer taking photo of family on sofa in studio

Are your kids hitting that cute, chunky-cheek toddler age? Do you actually want to see yourself wearing something besides yoga pants with your kids in a picture? If so, it is time to take a family photo and immortalize this beautiful stage of your lives! Conquering what to wear for family pictures and how to take family pictures are your next steps! 

It is easy for a family picture to go wrong. We’ve all seen them in houses of friends or somewhat awkward Christmas cards: the contrived poses, the forced smiles, the outfits that match too much or not enough. You don’t want that. 

What you want is to capture a loving, natural moment with your family while you just so happen to look flawless and fashionable. Don’t forget that behind every effortlessly beautiful photo is a good bit of, well, effort. 

However, creating your family photo can be a fun activity and doesn’t have to be stressful at all. Every family is different, and you should strive to capture your uniqueness. 

Join Twin Cities Kids Club for the best and most useful parenting advice and tips for Twin Cities parents! We have fun games, local events, and help as you navigate this parenting journey.

Whether you want a casual photo in the park or a more formal picture along a spiral railing, you can follow these general guidelines to make your photos unique and timeless. 

Beautiful Portrait of smiling happy kids outdoors. Four siblings standing together for a cute picture on a warm fall day

Planning the Photoshoot 

Especially when photographing kids, make sure you plan your photo day meticulously. Choose a day when you have a lot of free time and a time of day when your little ones are at their best. If they tend to get cranky in the late afternoon, try to schedule the photoshoot for earlier in the day. 

Remember that toys for the kids can often double as props! You can bring along bubbles, teddy bears, wildflowers, or stickers to occupy the children, but you may even be inspired to use these items in the photo. 

Since the photoshoot can take a while, it may also be a good idea to bring along snacks and drinks. You might want to bring along a compact, blotting sheets to remove face oil, a small mirror, and a hairbrush to stay fresh all day. 

Professional photographer taking photo of family in studio

Choosing What to Wear

So what should you wear for family pictures? Half the battle, of course, is choosing perfectly (but not too perfectly) coordinated outfits. The days of all white polos and khaki pants are long gone. Please don’t turn your family photo into a Gap advertisement from 1999.  

In other words, try to complement instead of matching perfectly. The best way to do this is to pick a palette, wear mostly solids, and include a few loud patterns or accessories that pop.

This palette can change depending on the season. If it is fall, try colors like deep burgundy, burnt orange, and brown. If you are at the beach in the summer, try calming shades of blue, blushing pink, and gray. 

Make sure your color scheme matches your background. If you are doing the photo in your living room, choose colors from your walls and furniture to inspire your clothing choices. 

Make sure every family member is on the same page about how casual or how formal you have decided to be. There is nothing worse than one person sticking out in their ripped denim when everyone else is wearing suits and ties. 

Because you want the children to look happy in the photo, it’s best if they are genuinely excited. This means letting them have input in what they get to wear. If your little girl hates dresses, don’t force her to wear one. Tantrum photos are funny and all, but you won’t want to hang them on the wall. 

If you are doing an outside family photo, make sure to dress for the weather. The last thing you want is pit stains showing on your sweater when it turns out to be sweltering! Most importantly, choose comfortable clothes in which you can move around and feel at ease. 

Cheerful family standing at table in garden and posing for photo.

Directing and Posing 

The ultimate goal of the family photo is to make it look like the family didn’t know they were being photographed. You all just happened to be looking fly in color-coordinated outfits while apple picking or piggyback riding or just having a big laugh. 

You don’t have to hire a professional to take your photo, especially if you already have a decent camera laying around the house. Chances are you know someone who can point and shoot. It is even better to get someone you know and trust because you want your photographer to be comfortable enough to be honest about your double chins and help you pick a different angle. 

Whoever your photographer ends up being, encourage her or him to take multiple photos with each pose. The bigger your real, the more options you have! 

When posing, try to be as active as possible. When you become still, photos can often seem awkward and stiff. Swing the children around, run with one another, tickle, and play. This can coax a genuine smile out of the children, and you may end up having some fun!

Again, having a variety of poses is vital. Some will not turn out the way you think, so it’s always best to have choices. Sitting, standing, leaning against a wall, walking, and running are all great options. Be silly! Sometimes an outtake can become the golden shot. 

Using Light to Your Advantage 

If possible, take advantage of the golden hours of sunrise or sunset. This timing can give everyone’s skin a beautiful glow, and make for some magical family photos. If shooting at this time is not possible due to time restraints, no worries. However, try to avoid shooting right at midday as the light can be too harsh. No one looks good when they squint. 

Do not face the sun directly. This angle can create shadows with cover the nose and chin. Instead, turn around and find an angle that lets the sunshine glow evenly on your faces. 

Avoid backlighting your photo. Having too much light behind the subject can make it look too dark. Although, in many cases, you can edit the balance afterward to make the subject stand out a little better.  

mother, father, and toddler in beautiful family photo

If you use these guidelines for your next family photo, we’re sure that your next family photo will be beyond frame-worthy. Remember to relax, have fun, and celebrate how lucky you are to be part of such a gorgeous family! Also, remember to join Twin Cities Kids Club today!

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