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8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

December 3, 2019

Ah, the season of family photos. We all want to capture our evolving families with a sweet picture but there’s a weird amount of pressure around getting the “perfect” family photo for your holiday cards. Whatever your family looks like, whoever’s taking the pictures, and whatever you’re wearing, we know fantastic family pictures are possible. We’re sharing 8 simple tips to help your family take holiday photos that really capture the family you are.

8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

Pick your must-have shots ahead of time

It’s inevitable. Thirty minutes before the photographer arrives, you’ll realize you forgot to do approximately 1500 things. Three of those will actually be important. You’ll be rushing around trying to iron someone’s shirt, or untie an impossible knot, or finish eating breakfast without getting avocado toast stuck in your teeth. The best way to limit the day-of craziness is to make a to-do list a few days beforehand of the last minute things your family needs to do to be ready, on time, for the family photos.

The night before, jot down a short list of the shots you really want. Maybe it’s a goofy picture, a picture with just the parents, siblings-only, or a few totally candid shots of the family getting in place. Whatever they are, jot them down and share them with your photographer so you don’t walk away from the shoot wishing you’d gotten that one other shot.

A few ideas for unexpected family photos:

• Individual pictures of each person
• Kid posing with their favorite lovie
• Couple portrait
• Jumping picture
• Some people standing, some people sitting
• In pajamas, around the breakfast table
• Including your family pet

8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

Choose a kid-friendly photographer

Make your life a million times easier and hire a photographer you know is good with kids. You want someone whose photography style you love, of course, but they also need to be comfortable working with your family as their client.

8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

It’s a good idea to clarify ahead of time who will be included in the photo shoot: how many people, how many kids, if there will be pets, and if there are any other special considerations you want the photographer to be aware of i.e. Grandma will need to be seated, my nephew is autistic and won’t be making eye contact with the camera, we want to include the family dog in a few shots, etc. That way they’ll come prepared and more flexible for any surprises that will inevitably arise.

Candid shots

There are a million different styles of family pictures, but we’re in the Real Family Pictures camp. Maybe you do want a few traditional face-forward-smiling-at-the-camera family photos, but consider a few captures of your kids playing together, a whole family group hug, or a brief dance party. They’ll be spontaneous and fun-loving and really showcase your family’s genuine interactions. Who knows? You may end up loving them even more than your typical holiday card photo.

8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

Be ready to bribe

Most adults don’t like getting their picture taken so it makes sense that most kids don’t love it either. It can take longer than you think and it can be boring. Keep the session short and sweet and keep everybody’s favorite candy in your pocket so you can handout as needed. No shame in that game.

Tip: Keep your family photo session to 30 minutes or less and get pictures of the whole family first so kids can run and play once they can’t hold still any longer.

Stay home

Keep it simple. It’s always tricky adding travel time and logistics onto the pressure of pristine outfits, perfect sibling behavior, and award winning smiles. Try staying home for family pictures. Take them inside in your favorite room in your house, in your backyard, or in a beautiful open space nearby. All you need is natural light, clean clothes, and someone to help your kids smile for the camera.

8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

Taking family pictures at home can also make it much easier for family members with special needs or disabilities and their caregivers. Or, if you’re opting to take your own family picture using a timer, it’s the easiest way to set up the shot in a space you already know.

8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

Choose your time slot wisely

Even though 3 or 4 PM is the golden hour and an ideal time to take pictures, consider if late afternoon means your subjects will be cranky and restless. Even if you have to pass on the photographer’s ideal time to shoot, know that if it means happy kids and/or pets, that’s the right time for your family.

Wear what you have

There’s no reason you have to go out and buy all new outfits for the whole family after you schedule a holiday photo shoot. Shop your closet and help little kids to pick their favorites. No shame in vetoing graphic tees or holey jeans, but be flexible with accessories and colors. Instead of all matching, try to bring in an array of colors in a similar family so they complement each other and make the shots stand out.

Real vs. Perfect

Our families aren’t perfect and our pictures shouldn’t be either. Someone will do bunny ears, someone else won’t be able to hold still, and you hair will look a little weird and no one will tell you. These are the tiny details you’ll look back on and laugh about. In reality it’s not just about getting your family pictures—it’s the tradition of gathering everyone, being close, and getting your pictures taken together that they’ll remember.

8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

Once you have your photos

You did it! You have family pictures. Now you’ve got to print them :) Hey, we have a few ideas of how you could do that! If you’re wanting to turn them into Christmas cards, New Year’s cards, or any other sort of holiday cards, try our Greetings app. You can make your cards right from your iPhone.

The easiest and classiest way to get your family pictures off the cloud and on your wall, is with a professionally framed and matted family photo. We at Social Print Studio call them the Modern Framed Print. (They’re gorgeous!) Or, try our Canvas Prints, Metals Prints, or Wood Prints for something unique. Any of these options would look beautiful on a gallery wall in the family room.

8 Tips for Family Pictures You’ll Love

You can also print them as 5x7 classic matte prints and display them in a simple wood block on a nightstand or dresser. Or string up a few in your office or in the kids’ bedrooms. We’ve also seen families go for large format prints of each of their kids and display them in a row for a statement wall.

Family pictures don’t have to be stressful and they can be super easy to print and frame. We hope these 8 tips will you enjoy the family photo process a little bit more this year.

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