Family photos are a big deal.
It’s easy to stress out about family photos because you want them to be perfect. After all they may go on holiday cards, they will probably be sent to some family members, and they will surely go on the wall!
We just took family photos, and they came out great.
They show our family living life, playing together, and doing so at one of our local beaches.
This is our family as we are in 2019.
If you are looking to have photos taken, and you want to make sure that they are awesome, follow these 6 tips below to get the best family photos!
1 – Hire a photographer whose style you like
Find a photographer whose go-to style of photography and editing aligns with what you want.
You can find your photographer of choice by doing a broad google search, asking around on local facebook groups, or asking your friends who they have used!
Seeing as we have little ones who might not tolerate a photo shoot, or might not understand how to both look at the camera and smile at the same time, we needed somebody who was familiar with doing family shoots, and had the skill to capture those millisecond moments of picture perfection.
For this year’s family portraits, we decided to go with Aimee from The Heart’s Haven. She recently photographed a friend’s family and the photos turned out fabulous. Aimee has also been highlighted recently in the SD Voyager for her rock star photography, so I knew we’d be in good hands. If you’re in San Diego and need a photographer, check her out!
2 – Figure out your outfit first
Mamas come first!
It can be so much harder to dress ourselves in clothing that we feel good in — postpartum bodies, limited time to workout, eating our children’s leftovers… you know what I’m talking about — than it is to dress everyone else.
My mother-in-law bought me this gorgeous green gown last time we visited her in England, and I knew that was what I was going to wear.
If you have your clothing nailed down, you know it won’t be so hard to pick things out for your spouse and kids. With my dress picked, I knew that my husband would have a shirt and a pair of trousers that will work with it.
So if there is something you own that you love, wear it. If you don’t own anything that you feel rockin’ in, do a little shopping! If you don’t have time to hit up the brick and mortar shops, online shopping may just be your best friend.
As for the kids, they look good in everything. And let’s face it, they probably have a nicer selection of clothes to choose from than you do.
Once your outfit is decided, you can move on to step three.
3 – Plan your clothing to coordinate colors instead of being matchy matchy
In years past, it has been common or recommended that everyone wear matching outfits. If this is your jam, run with it!
I used to be in support of this, but for a while now I have preferred to choose a color palette.
As a color palette as your inspiration, photos look more organic and more visually pleasing. If you do it right, you don’t even notice the clothing in the pictures — everything just looks good.
With the help of Pinterest and Google searches, I found this color scheme for my family’s photo shoot. With my green dress in mind, along with the backgrounds of bougainvillea and the ocean, I wanted the rest of the colors to work. See my inspiration below!
See the olive green of my dress in that palette?! I just love the whole color scheme. *swoon*
Now I just had to look through my family’s clothes to see if they had anything that fit in with this color palette.
My husband had dark grey trousers and we borrowed the same color of trousers for my son from a friend (thanks Hill!). I bought my son a cream and grey heathered long sleeve t-shirt, and I bought my daughter a dusty pink long sleeve dress.
4 – Consider introducing textures in the clothing instead of big patterns
For all the clothing, be sure to consider their textures, which brings visual depth to a photo, but keep print to a minimum, which can make a photo look busy. My son’s shirt had textured stripes, and my daughter’s dress had eyelet detailing on the front
You’ll notice that the color maroon is not in my color palette inspo, but I thought it would mix in nicely, so we went with maroon colored shoes for the kiddos.
Accessories can be helpful in bringing the colors together. Seeing as I was only wearing one color from the palette, the olive green, I made sure that my earrings and bracelet had another of the colors. You can see below I chose shades of pink to match my girl.
5 – Keep the kids engaged
We had a baggie filled with Hershey’s Kisses for the kiddos as rewards for following the photographer and our directions.
When the kids were having moments of “this is enough already!”, we’d remind them of the next treat on it’s way if they would smile or engage or at least not run away.
(There was lots of running away with our son. One and a half is a hard age for an hour-long photo shoot!)
Note: our treats worked well enough, but the downside of chocolate is if your kids are drooly, which both of ours are, there is a fair bit of brown drool to clean off their chins in the process. So maybe there is a better, less messy treat that your kiddo enjoys.
6 – Go with the flow of your kiddos and allow for non-posed, more organic pictures
While my mom would disagree, as she is a fan of the traditional, posed photo variety, I love a less posey photo.
These images showing our interactions and movement are some of my favorites.
With this style of photography, you get to see real life in action, captured in a moment.
Plus, this allows you to not be constantly correcting your little ones to behave for the photo.
And you’re probably more likely to get some genuine smiles out of your kiddos.
Best of luck with your family photos!
Another post you may enjoy! The Small Ways Your Partner Can Help You Feel Loved
27 thoughts on “6 Tips for the Best Family Photos – From Clothing Choices to Keeping the Kids Engaged”
This wAs a really great reaD and a great help! I have been postponing my family photos Because i am Trying to make sure eveRything is perfect and we have yet to take them! This helped ease some anxiety and i feel like im more ready now????
This was a great read! I love your tips on using a color palette and textures in the clothing instead of busy patterns. You have a beautiful family and your photos look amazing. thanks for sharing.
I loved this!!! Great tips! Its always so hard trying to get everything ready for family photos! I’M saving these tips for next time! 🙂
These pictures are completely amazing! great tips!
Those photos did turn out fabulous! It reminds me that I need to get family pics made! I love the pallet idea as well1
The family photo session resulted in what looked like fun and great pictures in the end. Lovely family and great tips for everyone to make the most out of the time you get to do photos!
You have sich a beautiful family. Thank you for the tips. I love the more action filled photos too. It feels more of a day in the life instead of the posing.
i like the color tones. i think that is a simple step most people can take to help improve their photos overall
That shot of your daughter running to your Hubby is absolutely priceless! Thanks for your tips on color PALATE! I’m hopeless when it comes to this stuff.
Beautiful pictures of your beautiful family! I wish i would have read this post years ago when my children were little – we always went for the well posted pictures… how much nicer the relaxed organic ones are. Great tips for wardrobe Choices too!
This is such great information!!! I don’t think that I have ever put that much thought into a family photo, but would love to give it a try.
We did a family photo shoot a few years back and had so much fun. We all wore jeans and solid colored shirts in different colors. our photographer knew our family pretty well which really helped.
#7…it certainly helps to have such a photogenic family too. 🙂 seriously though, I really dig candid family pics that look organic and unstaged. And I agree, the “matchy-matchy” stuff is a bit much, and that’s coming from a dude like me who just wants to survive the photoshoot. LOL!
These are great tips! I love the less posed photos (ps yours turned out great!) Also,your 1.5year old makes my 1.5 year olds look tiny, hes so tall, lol.
Great tips! I much prefer the coordinating colors as well, but I need to remember to choose my outfit first. ????
Beautiful family and gorgeous shots! Never have been that organized to coordinate, but it really makes the difference.
Your photos are beautiful! I was happy to hear your advice about not being to matchy matchy with colors, and your advice to add some texture makes a lot of sense. You are a gorgeous family!
Beautiful photos!! We just had our family photos done too and I agree, finding a photographer who shares your style is key!
Great post and fabulous pix! What a gorgeous family you have!
Beautiful family photos. Thank you for sharing.
This is helpful! Thank you. Grat photos, by the way
This is sooooo helpful, thank you! I always struggle in this area.
Firstly, you have a beautiful family, so your photos were bound to be beautiful. Secondly, your tips are terrific, particularly the idea of textures and coordinating colour family instead of being matchy matchy.
These are wonderful suggestions! And i love your “less posey” photos. You captured such special moments.
These are gorgeous photos. You have a beautiful family. Thank you for the tips. We have a photoshoot next month for our Christmas photos. These will come in handy.
I love the tip about picking my outfit first. I usually pick my son’s first, and then I’m left trying to find something I actually feel good in. I’m going to pick mine first next time!
Great tips. Our best family photos have been when it’s been casual. I like everyone to dress in what matches their personality.