Family Pictures: My Key Learnings

Growing up my family never posed for family photos except for the annual Church Directory picture. And let me tell you, these never turned out well. The lighting sucked and they plopped you down and scooted you back out quicker than you could flash a decent smile. I’m pretty sure I cried after every picture because I knew I looked horrible.

I always wished we had more family photos, so I told C that when we started a family that we would make it a priority to capture important parts of our lives. Well, I sucked big time at arranging a newborn photographer, so I was not going to miss E’s six-month milestone.

But, as a novice family photo-taker, I had no idea how to plan where to go and what to wear. I leaned on friends for tips and here’s what they shared.

Tip #1: Consider wearing colors that compliment your home decor.


Wow, what a great idea?! You are likely going to be hanging your photos on the wall or placing them on the mantel/end tables/nightstands, so why not coordinate your colors to compliment your home color scheme?

Our house is mostly grays and blues, but with pops of yellow and green throughout. So, we put E in a navy, white and yellow dress and contrasted her with white tops and blue jeans.


Tip #2: Look for “evergreen” attire.

“Evergreen?” Yes, as in clothing that isn’t season-specific. You don’t want to have to change out your photos with each season (or maybe you do). Choose outfits that work year-round.


Tip #3: Be comfortable. Be yourself.


I love the fancy, dolled-up photos. I really do. But I’m not often fancy nor dolled up unless it’s a holiday or special occasion. So having photos taken of myself wearing a nice dress or stilettos really didn’t make sense. It LOOKED forced.

While E doesn’t wear fluffy dresses everyday, I also brought a comfortable onesie and romper for her to wear. This would give us flexibility should we want to use our photos for a special occasion (like a holiday card) or for images around the home.


Tip #4: Consider a location you’re comfortable and familiar with. 

We absolutely love this little park in South Saint Louis that we visit often. It’s not huge, but it has plenty of pretty flowers, bushes, and open space.

We took several engagement photos there, so we knew we wanted to go back for family pictures. Now our engagement and new family photos will coordinate when displayed together.


Tip #5: Don’t feel like you always have to smile or pose.



Some of the most beautiful pictures are the candids we took. Sure, I took many a picture that day where I looked at the camera and smiled. But you know what? Those weren’t the ones that turned out the best or the ones I want to print off and mount on the wall.

When we relaxed and just did our “family” thing, what resulted were true-t0-life expressions and reactions. That’s what I want to see when I flip open my album later in life to reminisce.


Tip #6: Go with the flow.

You know your kiddos best. If you’re trying to get one last picture but your child(ren) is in the midst of a serious meltdown, do yourself a favor and just call it a day. There is no sense in stressing them out beyond reason and leaving with a screaming, crying child. Your photographer will thank you and so will your spouse.


If you have any additional tips on taking family portraits, I’d love to hear them! Share your thoughts in the comments.

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