8 Keys to Looking Spectacular in Your Family Portraits

Every so often, you see a bad family photo go viral. You certainly don’t want your family photos to get that kind of attention!

With that in mind, this article offers some tips and insights into what you can do to help your photographer take the best photos of your family.

Resist Bold Colors or Patterns

Bold colors and patterns are great in everyday life, but in a family photo, they can be extremely distracting.

The point of the photo is to show off your family, not the clothing you wear. So, leave that floral print dress in the closet and opt for something a little more subdued.

Not only will that help keep the attention on the faces of your beautiful family, but more subdued clothing is less likely to go out of style. You don’t want to look at your photo in ten years and think, “What was I wearing?!”

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Coordinate Colors

A common mistake that families make when they get their portraits taken is to match their clothing.

And though there’s something to be said for consistency, having everyone in the family wear the same color shirt or the same type of pants looks repetitive.

Mix things up a little bit by selecting two colors that go well together. For example, rather than having everyone wear a blue shirt, have some members of the family wear blue and others wear gray.

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Plan Ahead

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is waiting until the day before the photo session to start thinking about what you and your family will wear.

Likewise, it might be a good idea to prepare your family for what to expect (and what you expect of them) during the photo shoot.

Kids, in particular, can benefit from understanding what’s happening and when. Giving them a little head’s up that family photos will be taken soon and how long it will take might help them give their attention to the photographer for a few more shots!

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Let Your Kids Be Silly

Not every family photo that’s taken has to be of all of you standing up straight with your shoulders back, sporting a perfect smile.

Instead, have a little fun and let your kids be kids. Let them play. Let them be silly. Encourage them to interact with one another.

You’ll likely find that the photos taken of your kids when they’re simply being themselves will be your favorites of the bunch!

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Insist on the Hard Photos First

The longer your family is in front of the camera, the less likely they are to cooperate. That means insisting that the photographer get the most difficult shots first.

That includes the photos of the entire family together, as well as any posed portraits you want of your kids.

Save the photos of you and your significant other for last – adults usually have more stamina for photo-taking than kids!

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Take It Easy on the Styling

It might be en vogue right now to wear brightly colored eyeshadow, but in a few years, that fad might be long gone.

Much like you need to be careful with the clothing you choose for your family portraits, you also need to be careful with styling choices like hair, makeup, and accessories.

Strive for a timeless and classic look for you and everyone else in your family, and the result will be a much better portrait that stands the test of time.

family portraits

Layers Look Great

While busy patterns and bright colors are usually a no-no in family portraits, layers of clothing are a big YES.

With various layers, you help create more depth and visual interest in the shot without it being overwhelming.

Layers can be different types of clothing – a t-shirt under a V-neck sweater, for example – or it can be different colors or even patterns.

Again, the key is to use complementary colors to get a coordinated look without being matchy-matchy. And if you include a pattern (like plaid), cover it up with a layer on top to help mask some of the pattern to tone it down.

family portraits

A Perfect Photo Doesn’t Exist

As noted earlier, letting your kids be kids is a great way to get more genuine and authentic photos of your kids.

The same goes for you, too.

The point of having family photos made isn’t to look perfect – there’s no such thing as a perfect photo.

So, instead of stressing about who’s smiling and who isn’t, try to let go, let your photographer work their magic, and concentrate on encouraging everyone in the family to show their personality in the photos.

If you can let yourself go even just a little bit, the photos of your family will look markedly better!

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Since 2009, PhotographyTalk has been empowering photographers of all skill levels and abilities to create better photos. With thousands of tutorials, guidelines, and lessons, PhotographyTalk has the resources everyday photographers need to develop new skills. PhotographyTalk has been featured in Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, and many others.

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