Tips for creating a great family portrait!

Published on November 21, 2012

It’s that time of year.  Families are getting together, holiday cards are being mailed, and you, like many others, would love to have a great family photo to show off to your family and friends.   To preserve this special holiday season.  Here are a few tips to help you get started…

Family Portrait

Be Ready

First and foremost, invest in a tripod so you can get out from behind the camera and become a part of the precious family memories you are creating.  Also, take some time and learn how to use the timer on your camera to make getting in the picture easier.  Scope out your location ahead of time and make sure your family is rested and fed before heading out to pose.  Sometimes kids lose patience or dads want to get back to the game, so being prepared and ready beforehand will make for a quicker and more successful photo session.  Next, remember to have fun!  With the serious part taken care of, it’s time to relax, play and interact with your kids and each other.  Tell that old family joke that always gets a laugh.    Genuine smiles always look best in photographs.

What to Wear

Coordinate, but don’t match. Avoid logos, busy patterns and trends that will look dated in years to come. Wear colors that mesh well together but do not compete for attention. Various shades of a color work well together,  and different textures add interest.  Vibrant solid colors are nice for backgrounds that are relatively neutral.  Traditional outdoor palettes are:  whites for beach settings, browns and tans for green spaces, and splashes of color are nice to help bring a pop of interest to your color palette.  Keep things natural and classic for a pleasant portrait you can enjoy for years to come.


Look for an uncluttered background.  Like the clothing, you want the focus to remain on your subject, not on a busy background.  If you are looking for a casual setting or a space that shows off your family’s personality, the options are limitless.  You can hold the photo shoot in your home, a local park, a favorite vacation spot or anywhere else that captures your imagination.  A forest or grove of trees works nicely as a backdrop, as do rocks (which can also provide seating) or the ocean.  An empty stretch of road framed by trees can be a different and attractive setting for a family portrait.


Capturing your family’s personality and joy in one another is the goal, so laugh, smile and have fun!  Now, get out from behind that camera, get in the picture and have fun with your wonderful family!

Happy Holidays!  

By Jen Kline for Spoiled Rotten Photography