How To Take Family Portraits: Poses and Ideas

Use These Tips to Create Beautiful and Timeless Family Pictures

Father spending time with son

Taking a family portrait is a wonderful way to preserve a moment of your family's history. Once you've followed the steps in this article for a great family photo, why not add it to a family tree you've created yourself?  You'd be surprised how easy it can be! 

Since your family moment is likely to last for generations, you'll want to do all that you can to get the best possible shots. Here are a few ideas to help you learn how to create a family portrait that you'll be proud to display:

  1. Money matters. If you are trying to keep the cost low, you can choose a family portrait photography studio located within a retail store. This is typically the most inexpensive professional option, but allows you very little control over background and family portrait pose ideas and selections. If you have specific preferences, you might want to choose an independent photographer who will allow you more freedom in choosing the type of family portraits you desire.
  2. Set the mood. Do you want your portrait to have a formal feel or would you prefer a more casual result? Try to decide which will better represent your family. If you want to go casual, you may even want to come up with family picture ideas you can shoot yourself.
  3. Choose your locale. Whether taken in a portrait studio, your home, outdoors or another setting, be sure that the location suits your family's style. You may want to run several family portrait ideas by your family first, before choosing one. The kids may have some fun ideas for family pictures.
  4. What to wear for a family portrait? Wardrobe is a big factor in the attractiveness of your portraits. When choosing clothing, keep these things in mind:
    • Be yourselves. The best family portraits allow the personality of each member to shine through. If you live in jeans and tee shirts, dressing your family in very formal clothing will result in a picture that looks stiff and unfamiliar.
    • Be sure that all family members are dressed in a similar style. Dressy clothing is fine, as is less formal attire. Just be sure that the whole group looks like they belong together.
    • Coordinating clothing is the goal, but be careful not to dress your family in identical attire -- you do not want to look like you are wearing uniforms. Consider having everyone wear jeans or khaki pants, then select different colored shirts for each member.
    • Try to avoid large patterns and bright, flashy clothing. If you're wondering what colors are best for a family portrait, solid colors photograph best, allowing the focus to be on the people and not on their outfits.
    • Dark colors are slenderizing, so when deciding what colors to wear for a family portrait, you may want to take that into consideration.
    • With young children, look them over from head to toe. A baby or toddler is likely to be posing on someone's lap, so their entire outfit will be in the picture. Choose clean shoes in good condition or for casual portraits, consider photographing the youngest family members barefoot.
  5. Timing is everything. Schedule your family's photo shoot for a time when the children are not likely to be tired or hungry.
  6. Mix it up. Ask the photographer to pose the group in different combinations. You want different family portrait sittings when it's all over. Pictures of parents only, siblings only, each child with their parents and individual poses will allow you to choose a nice variety of photographs to be printed.

Now you know how to take family portraits. So get out there and start capturing those memories!


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