Five Tips for Better Family Portraits

If you’re planning on taking family photos this year, here are Five Tips for Better Family Portraits. A little prep ahead goes a long way to creating family pictures you’ll love.

beautiful family photos

First a disclaimer;  I’m not saying my family is perfect, far from it. But, I must say in our few years of doing family shoots, our photos come out pretty darn well.

The truth is it has very little to do with us (the models), and everything to do with five little steps I do to make sure we are happy with our photos.

how to get the best beach photos


Tips for Better Family Portraits

1. Choose the right photographer

In my opinion this is the most important step in getting the best family photos. When choosing the photographer for a family shoot, take a look at their portfolio. Do they have photos that you absolutely love? If you’re looking for a beach family shoot, does your photographer have those in their portfolio?

Ask yourself what you love about their photos. Chances are the photographer is going to edit and photograph your family shoot in the same way they have previously done.

Lighting, style, angle and then editing will look very similar to what you see in their portfolio, so choose your photographer based on their previous work and only work with that photographer if you love everything about their photography.

2. Gather inspo images

Now that you’ve chosen your photographer, it’s time to help them give you exactly what you are looking for. A good photographer should always welcome your ideas and direction. Every time I sent over ideas and images, it was appreciated.

It’s important to remember that a photographer can’t read your mind, so if you have a vision or poses that you want to emulate, share those images. 

It’s perfectly ok to create a Pinterest board inspired images and share them with your photographer. If you look at the Pinterest board  I created, you’ll see there are poses and ideas that we copied. You can also see that the style and the photographer I chose match the board I created.


best family photography tips


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3. Make sure everyone is fed and happy

I don’t know anyone’s husband who likes doing family photos. I don’t even know if I like doing family photos. It’s stressful and when you add a dog and a baby or a toddler to the equation it can be downright miserable. Unless, you have made sure that everyone snacked before hand.

A promise of treats ( I believe I have promised Mau dinner at the brewery after almost every single year) and some bribery are a good idea.

But seriously, do not take photos on an empty stomach. Everyone will look miserable.


4. Plan ahead and get dressy

Have everyone try on what you want them to wear prior to the shoot. Make sure there are no stains on that favorite shirt, the shoes still fit and whatever else. Then, set aside that wardrobe so that there isn’t last minute disaster.

For babies and toddlers it’s a good idea to have a few options. Drive to the photo shoot in a different outfit and then change, so that your baby or toddler doesn’t have a chance to destroy their outfit. Maybe you need to do the same for your husband, or yourself.

Personally, I prefer getting dressed up a little. Your location definitely plays a role in the outfit you choose, but I think when everyone makes a little more effort rather than just their regular every day outfits, they feel better about themselves and therefore look their best in photos.

I also like coordinated looks, but not matchy matchy. But that’s a personal choice. Coordinated looks mean that everyone is dressed in similar tones. Most importantly find outfits everyone will feel comfortable in, otherwise they may look awkward and uncomfortable on your holiday cards.


5. Have fun

You shared your inspo images with your photographer, you’ve dressed everyone in their best, after that the goal is to actually have fun.

The best kind of photos are those where the subjects are authentically happy. It’s your photographer’s job to make suggestions and remind you of poses you liked, but it’s your job to make it fun.

Smile at your spouse, kiss and play with your kids. Stop and pose and then make it all about each other again.

A good family shoot should really feel like quality time with each other!

beach family shoot