The Best Family Photo Ideas

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Ideas for Your Next Family Photos

It’s our favorite time of year! Time for family pictures! Now, while you might be thinking, “Uhg, it’s nearly impossible to get a decent family photo!” Think again! Because with the many family photo ideas from this list, you will nail that family photo in a snap! The good news is that although family photos take a little bit of planning, you can almost GUARANTEE you’ll be happy with at least one photo if you follow the steps below. We’ve got you covered with so many family picture ideas you will feel more prepared than ever! So, take a deep breath with us. Ready to tackle family pictures together?

You’re not alone if the idea of family photos stresses you out. There logistically is a lot to plan: The photographer, the location, the outfits, etc. But here’s where we have your back! We have all the technicalities to family picture planning spelled out right here for you in one place! You can literally get everything you need from the information below AND save yourself time and money. Here’s exactly what we have rounded up for you:

We may be biased, but this list might just be the best list of family photo ideas out there! 😉 Come along and learn all you need to know to guarantee a perfect family photo through the helpful tips below!

Let’s get started with…

The Photographer

Ahh. One of the most important, if not THE most important part about your family photoshoot: Finding the right photographer! There’s several key components to this, however, you luckily have the perfect focus for the camera: YOUR FAMILY! Do you best to research a photographer that you’ll be happy with, but also keep in mind that you’ll be on the other end with big smiles on your faces. If you need even more help, consider these tips when choosing and working with a photographer for your family photos…

Photographer Taking Family Photos

  • Ask for recommendations! Your friends, family, and neighbors may have used or heard of someone recently who did a phenomenal job. Trust their recommendations since you know them!
  • For any photographer you’re considering, look at their portfolio/website. Usually, what you see is what you get. Plus, you’ll get a good idea of what family photo ideas they’ve used.
  • Verify their work to see if they are used to working with kids, a large group, animals, etc. where applicable to your family photoshoot.
  • You don’t have to pick the most expensive photographer in town, but remember that this is an investment of your memories.  And I’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I would have spent the least amount of money possible on our photos.”
  • Schedule in advance! Talented photographers usually fill up fast, especially in the fall. Keep in mind that you may have to reschedule if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
  • Know what you want and communicate it to your photographer ahead of time. A discussion about the style, location, props, and poses you’re planning on can work wonders to get you and your photographer on the same page.
  • Rely on your photographer for suggestions, and value their opinion. While you don’t want to be completely at their mercy, they are, after all, the professional.

After you’ve found the photographer you want to work with, give some attention to…

Looking Your Best For Family Photos

How to look good in front of the camera? Do you really need training on that? Well, the truth is, there’s some pretty valuable advice out there on how to look your best when being photographed. We don’t want you to cringe in the slightest when looking over your photos once you get them back. Included in your research on family photo ideas, study up on these tricks and tips for looking your best!

Family on Brick Wall Taking Picture

  • For a slimmer appearing waistline, angle your body toward the camera instead of facing it square on.
  • Put your weight on your back leg. This will allow you to feel more comfortable and look natural.
  • To look thinner, leave space between your arms and your body to show your waistline.
  • Remember to push your shoulders back and avoid slouching. You may get this reminder from your photographer after several shots! 😉
  • Avoid looking down to prevent a double chin.
  • Ask your photographer in advance to shoot straight on or from above.  They are much more flattering angles than from below.
  • To avoid the totem pole look, bend whatever can bend.
  • Don’t leave your arms hanging straight down. Try  touching the person next to you or resting your hand on a nearby object.
  • If going for an artistic or natural look, try looking places other than directly at the camera. Maybe look off to the side or past the photographer into the distance. Search family photo ideas beforehand that involve this type of look for inspiration.
  • Schedule your shoot at the “golden hour” near sunrise and sunset.
  • If you’re worried about wrinkles, shoot with the light in front of you. (Side lightening emphasizes wrinkles.)
  • You can minimize a big nose by tilting your head just slightly upward.
  • Self-conscious of big ears? Position yourself at an angle so only one ear is showing.
  • To avoid shine, use plenty of powder on your face and neck.
  • For small eyes, false eye lashes can be a life saver! Check out Secrets for Sexy Eyes for a fabulous how-to.
  • Beforehand, check your makeup with a camera, not a mirror. Remember, you need to apply more than usual for it to show in pictures! This Guide to a Flawless Face would be a great place to pick up tips on make-up!

Getting the Kiddos to Cooperate for Family Pictures

This can be one of the most stressful parts of family pictures! But with a little planning, and these quick tips, you’ll be totally prepared! Don’t be afraid to come back and re-read these family photo ideas and tips the day of your shoot, too!

Smiling Kids with Stuffed Animals

  • Firstly, when you first tell your kids about your family picture plans, act excited like it’s going to be SO much fun! Often your attitude will be contagious.
  • Secondly, involve the kids in the process from the beginning! If they get to have a say in the family photo ideas, they’ll feel included and be more likely to cooperate.
  • Allow for plenty of time! It’s hard to be patient and positive when you’re feeling rushed.
  • Bring along an “entertainer” to stand behind or beside the photographer to get the baby or little ones to look at the camera and smile.
  • Plan the shoot for when your kids are the happiest, not just the time that is the most convenient for your schedule. By working your appointment in around the kids’ routines, there’s a better chance they will behave how you want them to.
  • Try to give the kids breaks in between shots to stretch, run, and play. Even better, let them play during the pictures! You’ll get great candid shots and capture your little ones the way they really are.
  • Play peek-a-boo, tickle, and lightly throw the baby into the air for real, genuine smiles.
  • Bring water and snacks to avoid mid-shoot meltdowns.
  • Use fun props like suckers, toys, and bubbles to keep them happy.
  • Promise them a reward when the shoot is over. Bribing is totally allowing in this instance! 😉
  • Beth from Home Stories A 2 Z suggested using a code word (like “ice cream”) to remind your kids of the reward throughout the shoot. Genius!

Having a Supportive Spouse During Family Photos

We have no doubt that your spouse is likely supportive of family photos happening, but getting them to be excited about it? Maybe less likely. While you don’t need them jumping up and down in excitement, it helps to have your spouse be a part of making them as successful as possible. Consider these awesome ideas for helping get that spouse of yours on board with the picture process!

Beautiful Family Photo

  • Plan ahead so that they know it’s coming and have time to mentally prepare for it.  No one likes being surprised with something they don’t completely love.
  • Budget for the full expense to avoid any money stress.
  • Let them know WHY it’s important to you to have these pictures taken. If you know that it’s about preserving memories of your family, and not just for a cute Christmas card, they’re more likely to value it too.
  • Give your spouse a say in it! Most people don’t like to be told what to wear, how to sit, etc. So ask for their opinion and value it. Show them several family picture ideas (locations, poses, props, etc.) so they can see the vision you have. (Maybe you could even make a little shopping date and pick out new outfits together.)
  • Compromise! Discuss what is most important to each of you and make it happen.
  • If your spouse absolutely hates picture taking, look together to find poses that they’re okay with. Usually pictures where the kids are the focus are the best for that.
  • Just like the kids – bribe! Oops, I mean … reward! If they’re willing to do this just for you, then let them know how much you appreciate it!

Printing and Ordering Family Photos

So you followed all of these wonderful family picture ideas and had a fabulous shoot… Now what? We’ve even put together a list of tricks to help you order your new photos quickly and efficiently! Nothing is more exciting than displaying your new photos around your home (or mailing them out), so this should be the super fun part!

Kissing Family Photo

  • First and foremost, don’t forget to order prints! When you get the CD of all your photos, so often it ends up lost in a drawer. Instead, make it a priority to get them printed so you can have a gorgeous print on display in your living or family room!
  • Pictures can get pricey, so if you’re on a budget, consider printing only a few at a time OR going with an inexpensive canvas print. Remember, you’re not just buying pictures. You’re preserving memories!
  • Think ahead and consider how and where you’re going to be displaying your family pictures in your home. It makes ordering so much easier, especially when it comes to sizes, orientations, colors, and more.
  • If you plan on making a collage or wall gallery out of your pictures, be sure to ask your photographer for their input. In addition to having lots of family photo ideas that would look well grouped together, they can often help you plan it all out.
  • If ordering multiple copies of the same photo, shop around for the best size, price, and picture quality. Your local print shops might be running specials during the holidays.
  • Don’t forget to check your online options for ordering. You can save a lot of money AND any added heartache from going into a print shop.

Final Family Photo Ideas

We’ve thrown a lot at you when it comes to family pictures, but we hope you’re feeling a lot more prepared! We can’t stress enough how EASY family pictures can be by following these tried and true tricks. Before we bid you farewell, though, we have JUST a few more simple reminders.

Smiling Family Outside

  • Remember that you don’t HAVE to do an elaborate photo shoot. Keep it simple if you want.  Even if it’s just a quick 10-minutes session that your neighbor took in your backyard, make sure you’re capturing these family memories.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff! In 10 years, you’re not going to care that Johnny was playing with the grass instead of striking the perfect pose you wanted him to in your family picture. You’ll just be glad you caught him as he was…little!
  • Let loose and have fun! If you let “mom mode” or “dad mode” take over, and you’re constantly snapping “don’t touch that,” “no!” “hold still” …  then it’s going to be hard to get sincere smiles out of everyone. Including you. 😉
  • Family pictures don’t have to break the bank. Minimize costs by planning around what you already have. And, remember that you’re not trying to get pictures of the perfect outfit, just the people you love in them.
  • Get as creative as you want and make these family pictures your own. Who says you have to be traditional? Use any family photo ideas you find as a starting point and then take it from there with your own ideas!
  • Remember the best family photos don’t show “picture perfect” smiles and poses. The best family photos show emotion and affection between family members. That takes a lot of pressure off, right? Love is all you need!
  • Go with the flow! No matter how much you prepare and plan, you never know what is going to happen. The more flexible you are, the better results you’ll have. (And the happier everyone will be.)
  • Have a sense of humor. Laughing makes almost any problem better. (And it looks better in pictures than crying or yelling.) Remember why you’re doing this in the first place. It’s not about the pretty card, or the perfect family picture. It’s about the memories!

So you made it through all these family picture ideas…Now how can you go wrong? Worst case scenario is that no one cooperates. Maybe you don’t even have one picture where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. But at the end of it all, you still have captured memories of the ones that you love most!

Don’t forget to check out this excellent list of Family Photo Prop Ideas and Family Picture Pose Ideas so you’re officially squared away for your family photos!

Here’s to having the perfect family photo taking experience!


I'm a mama to 3 little redheads and wife to my studly red-headed husband! I love game nights, running, chips and guac, and a good Netflix series to binge. I thrive most when my kitchen is clean, cookies are baking, and it's a little rainy outside. Mmm a perfect day!

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