1. Choose a setting that matches your family’s style and that everyone will be comfortable in.
If your family is the laid-back type, don’t try to dress in formal attire and take pictures at a swanky place. Let the setting match the vibe for your family so that nothing feels forced. Sticking to this idea, taking your family photos at a horse ranch may reflect your casual, outdoor style but will terrify little Johnny because he’s afraid of horses. If everyone isn’t comfortable with the atmosphere, someone will end up looking awkward, bored, or terrified. If you need help choosing the right setting, try thinking of places that mean something to your family: It may be in the backyard, outside your favorite restaurant, or the park you like to visit. Wherever the place, just make it you!
2. Let each person feel unique.
This tip is for everyone who was ever forced to wear an outfit against their will for a picture. While new, matching outfits may help avoid color clashing, it also takes away the individuality of each person in your family. Try letting each family member wear their favorite outfit (and one that will be appropriate for the setting); if the colors or patterns in the outfits clash or look too busy all together, make small adjustments to tone it down. If you want to match, don’t match completely. Choose a general color family for one component of the outfit, and let family members make it their own with different patterns, clothing items, or accessories.
3. Get creative!
Family photos don’t always have to be posed. Get a photographer who feels comfortable catching candid photos or who can work without a concrete plan. Some photos can follow the traditional poses, but don’t be afraid to get up and move around. Photos of families in action can often be more special than the well-planned pictures of perfection. Think of wedding photos as an example; is the posed picture of the bride and groom in front of the flower arrangement more special than the candid shot of the couple laughing on the dance floor? Energetic, candid photos of your family is a great way to preserve specific memories and capture the spirit of your family as a whole. Also, feel free to experiment with angles, zoom, and black and white. When used well, these elements can add a little extra oomph for beautiful, creative family photos.
4. Don’t strive for perfection.
Sometimes trying to get everyone to look at the camera with flawless smiles, perfect body angles, good lighting, and natural expressions is as difficult as finding the Holy Grail. Don’t focus on getting the perfect photo of the perfect family but rather on getting the shot of your family as they are. Your hair may get ruffled and the kids clothes may get a little dirty, but it is all worth it for a genuine family moment to put in the photo albums. If you let go of the pressure and expectations and simply enjoy the time with your family, the pictures that result may pleasantly surprise you.