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Home /DIY / Photographing Your Family

Photographing Your Family

By Shelby Burr

Getting ready for those Christmas cards? Or are you looking to get the whole family together to take some fun, family photos? We all know that taking family photos can sometimes be...well...a little overwhelming. One kid is grumpy, two others are fidgeting in every photo, grandma is having a hard time hearing directions, and your dog decided it would be the perfect moment to go to the bathroom once everyone finally gets situated. Yeah, we’ve been there. 

No matter the size of your family, these moments are special!
They are meant to be captured, shared, and cherished for years to come. So, how do you take the perfect family photo? We have some great steps to help you take great photos with a group of people!



Pick Your Location

When wanting family photos, it’s best to figure out the “where” first. Why? You know what to anticipate environment wise: grassy field, windy beach, farm where you might want to watch where you step, etc. You’ll want to scout out the area and also see where the sunlight hits well, or where there is the most shade (depending if you’re going during a hot day). 


Timing is Everything

Now that you have the place, pick the time! We all know there is a golden hour right when the sun starts to sweat, but you also need to take in account whether there will be lots of people in the area during that time, what traffic to get to the location will be like, and knowing what the weather might be like. Again, as stated above, know what to expect whether wise for certain times! Once you have a great time, let your family members know when and where to meet! To accommodate the crowd and please the masses, try to pick a location that is central to everyone. 


Set Expectations

Know what you want to get out of this photoshoot, and list it out. 

  • Group photo of everyone together
  • Photo of just the kids
  • Photo of the dog
  • Photo of grandparents with grandkids

You get the picture. Write out what you want from this photoshoot so that you can walk away knowing you got the shots you needed! This is also a great time to figure out if you want everyone to match clothes, who you want there, who will be calling the shots, etc. All in all, make this fun! Set your expectations and communicate how much fun this will be, and how great the outcome will be! Speaking of communication...



Communicate Well

When you have your expectations listed out, it’s time to communicate to your family! This will help everyone be on the same page without any confusion or misinformation. This will also help set the tone for getting some photos done and done quickly. Let’s face it, no one wants to take photos for over an becomes draining and can lead to stress. BUT by listing your expectations and communicating well with your family members, it can be done in under an hour! Let your family know what to wear, when to meet, where to meet, what photos you’re wanting to get so that they can all have a copy, etc. Also let them know that you’re wanting it to be a fun, but quick experience! That way, they know they won’t be winded or too tired. 



Incentive, Incentive, Incentive

So, now that your expectations are set and you’ve communicated, let’s bring in the incentive. This is especially helpful if there are little one’s around! We all know that kids can be fussy or get bored quickly - this is where you bring in the big guns of incentive. Plan to have a yummy dinner or lunch planned after the shoot! Whether that’s going back to your house, or going somewhere fun to eat. Let them know that ice cream will be the family treat once all the photos are done! Or plan on having a fun, family movie night after the photoshoot. That way, both relatives and kids know that the quicker the photos are done, the faster you can eat / have fun!




This is a must for helping your family be more comfortable and satisfied during the shoot:

  • Pack snacks
    • Snacks that won’t stain clothes! Like pretzels, carrot sticks, veggie straws, grapes, etc.
  • Bring water
  • Pack any lawn chairs or picnic blankets if someone needs to sit down and wait before their turn for photos.
  • Toys! Kids love to have toys at the ready that they can play with while they wait (toys, coloring with colored pencils ***not markers***, outdoor toys).
  • Paper fans if it’s hot outside or blankets if it’s chilly.
  • Bring face wipes and tissues - someone might have something on their hands or face

If you plan on taking the photos yourself:

  • Camera
  • Batteries
  • EXTRA batteries
  • Tripod
  • Camera Strap
  • Lens cleaning fabric
  • A step stool (if you need to take higher angled shots) 

Digitize Your Photos

Now that you’re going to take some stellar photos, it’s time to share them with everyone! These moments will be captured forever and will be cherished for a lifetime, so it’s a fantastic idea to have these images digitized! What does that look like? Have them digitized on a thumb drive, DVD and digital download - that way you can share with your families and relatives. 

Your family photos are going to be fantastic and will run so smoothly now that you have clear steps! Enjoy these family moments. Your family is your everything. 

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