We’ve finally taken a family photo. Not only did we get some great shots, but I’ve got some really great tips that will help you get your best family photo.
It’s also another item knocked off the Summer Bucket List! We’re really making some progress. Good thing, since we’ve only got about 2 weeks left!
On Sunday we had our family photo taken. Since we are the Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes March for Babies this year, we needed a great picture for them to use. I’ll be blogging all about our roles and responsibilities as the Ambassador Family in a future post, but today, I wanted to share some tips for getting your own family photo taken.
First, let me give you a little background. My kids have never had professional pictures taken.
I know. I know. Some of you probably think I’m terrible for not getting them done. However, I take so many of my own. Plus, I never know where to go or who to hire. Not to mention, it’s expensive. And well, I just don’t have any other excuses. We just haven’t done it.
While I have a ton of pictures of the kids, we don’t have many of us as a family. At least good ones!
Here’s a prime example of a typical family photo. Notice the wonderful expressions, and lovely red eyes.
We also have a few where at least one family member is missing.
Although, I did like this one from last summer.
I still knew we could do better. Perhaps, shoes on the kids?! Maybe no boxes in the background?
Here are the tips I used for getting us ready for our first professional family photo.
Tips for getting the best family photo
#1 Find a Photographer you are comfortable with
With this one I got really lucky. I have a very good friend that does freelance photography. She also has three kiddos, so she is just as busy as we are. We’ve been trying to set something up for a while, and the stars must have aligned.
Since all of our family knows her, it made us all comfortable. Plus, since she’s a mom and a photographer, she’s great with kids and getting them to look at the camera. She is also super patient.
#2 Figure out your Fashion
Again, my friend/our photographer came to the rescue. I asked her what we should wear, and she said have everyone Coordinate, but not Match.
This one was a little hard for me, since I love to dress the boys in matching outfits. Often my oldest also matches. In the picture above we all match. It’s something I swore I’d never do when I was pregnant with the twins, but somehow I just can’t help myself.
So, I went through everyone’s closet and found everyone a blue shirt. One was a button up, one was a solid polo, and one was a striped polo. My husband wore a little bit different shade of blue as a polo, and I work a knit shirt with three-quarter length sleeves. We all had jeans on, but none of them were the same either.
#3 Location, Location, Location
When my photographer asked me where I wanted to do the pictures, I just figured we’d do it at our house. She had much better ideas.
She said it would be great to be in a non-residential place. Also some place that’s not too busy. We narrowed down our choices to some old abandoned train tracks, a botanical garden, or (the one we finally chose,) a historic farm.
It turned out to be the perfect place. There were plenty of different backgrounds, and the boys liked to explore a little before each set up. Luckily, there wasn’t anywhere for them to get dirty either. Plus, it was a little overcast, so no one was squinting in the sun, yet we still got the natural light.
#4 Be Prepared
From getting enough sleep the night before to eating a good breakfast to bringing extra clothes, preparation is key.
You want everyone to be well-rested and looking their best. It also helps if everyone is in a good mood, so having a full belly is a good thing. I also brought snacks with, extra clothes, and treats for afterwards. I’m not above bribing my kids for good behavior and good pictures.
#5 Ask Questions and Be Comfortable with the Answers
Again, since I knew our photographer well, I felt comfortable asking how things would work, when we would get the pictures, the cost, and what would happen if we’re not happy with the results.
It’s always best to know what you are paying for. Do you want all the pictures on a disk so you can print them yourself? Or do you want just a few edited pics and your photographer to print them? Do you need the pictures right away? Or are you OK with waiting a couple of weeks? If you’re not happy, will your photographer offer a re-shoot? Or do you have to pay for another session?
Remember to ask all your questions before you hire someone, and to be happy with the answers. It’s your Family Portrait, and it’s important for it to turn out the way you envision.
The Big Reveal
Now, ready to see the picture?
Nope. Not yet. You’ll just have to come back for the big reveal.
I hope these tips were helpful. Do you have any tips you can share for getting a great family shot?
UPDATE: You can view our picture HERE
Heather Serra says
Grrrr!! I want to see that picture!! Lol…I was totally expecting it at the end. I’m glad you found a good photographer. I bet you guys looked great. When I worked for a photographer, we always emphasized the importance of coordinating to our families. Sounds like you nailed the location too…now hurry up and get that picture up! ;-P
What great tips! I need those for upcoming pictures from the wedding with my 5 year old! He never sits still for more than a minute and I need to take advantage of every second I can.
Exactly. Thank you for stopping by. Can’t wait to see your wedding pictures!
I also find that location is everything when it comes to great family photos! What a beautiful family you have!!
Thank you so much!
Rachel @ Parenthood Highs and Lows says
Some great tips here. Having three boys under 5 means it is hard work getting a photo of all of us looking in the same direction so this is really handy – thanks for sharing
Yes, it IS hard. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope this helps.
Gah no fair, I wanted to see the pic! Great tips though lady!
Soon! I promise!
Inspiration Indulgence says
I don’t have my own family yet, but I can imagine this is anything BUT easy to coordinate!! LOL
You are exactly right 🙂
I so wanted to see that picture lol. I’ll be back. Yes, yes, and yes to coordinating but not matching!
🙂 It will be revealed soon. All in good time 😉
Sara Strand says
My goal this year is to get an outdoor family photo for our Christmas cards. Matt almost always looks drunk (though he doesn’t drink) and Jackson is NEVER looking at the camera. He thinks he is and will yell at you that he is but he most certainly is not. *sigh*
Ha ha! You’re too funny, Sara. 🙂
Good tips! Getting a good family picture can be hard, for photographers and moms. My goal is to be a professional photographer someday, but for now I practice on my little. Pinterest has some great tutorials!
Yes. Thank you!
Angela @ Setting My Intention says
I can’t wait to see the picture! We had our first family portraits done last year and it was fun. Out boys are older so it was a little easier to get “good” photos here and there.
I bet! Thank you!
Penny Struebig says
Oh man — I want to see your pictures!! With all those great looking kids I bet they turn out fantastic! Thanks for linking up to Thinking Out Loud Thursday today!!
Awe. Thanks. Stay tuned…
Great tips! We are also bad at getting professional photos of our family! I love seeing everyone else’s but can never seem to pull it together to have our own taken! 🙂 You have inspired me to try!
Great! Thank you Pam!
angie in my 30s says
last summer’s photo looks great!!
Thank you Angie!
rachel Mouton says
Thanks for the tips! I have such a hard time getting a great photo :/
You’re welcome. I hope they help!
Debbie Woodruff says
Oh, man! I wanted to see the picture! Great, informative post. And I would never judge you for not having a professional photo. I raised two boys, both of whom are now adults, and we never had a family pictures. And I don’t feel guilty either 🙂
Phew…I’m not the only one 😉 Don’t worry. The picture will be revealed soon.
Jennifer C. says
Ohh, thank you for these tips! Seriously. My family can’t get a good photo to save our lives! We’ll break out these tips when it’s time for the Christmas photos!
Perfect. Thank you Jennifer!
Great tips! I’ll be looking forward to seeing the picture. I think the location you picked is probably awesome! Even though we don’t have kids my husband and I like to get anniversary pics done every so often. We did them at one of the resorts at Disney two years ago and they were so much fun! We had amazing photographers too.
Thank you! I will post the picture soon. That sounds like so much fun to do them at a Disney resort!
Girlfriend, you have a lot of testosterone in the house :). That’ll be me in the coming weeks :). The only good thing about my daughter moving out is I get my makeup and brushes back, but I’m really going to miss her.
I love the pics you shared. I remember how hard it was to get a fam pic…there was always one kids who didn’t want to. Now I show them and they kick out of it now. 🙂
Can wait to see the pic! Hope you’re having a great day!
Yes, we do! Thank you so much Cori! 🙂
Becky Kemp says
Great tips! I am in need of getting a family pictures this year and think I should do it before the weather changes. I need to start with what to wear. That is always the hardest thing for me. This gives me the courage to start to put it together. Thanks
Awesome! Yes, it took me a while too.
I love how many questions you asked your photographer! I’ve taken photos for friends and family and those are all great questions that almost always come up. Having a photographer you’re comfortable with (and from the photographer’s side having a client you’re excited to shoot) is key. Great tips!
Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
You are so mean!! i want that picture! Selecting a coordinating but not matching outfit is always hard for me.. I never know how to dress us! These are great tips!
Ha ha ha! It will be revealed all in good time. 😉
Picking out our clothes always intimidates me so much! We usually take our own “professional” (looking…ish) photos, but I still get some anxiety beforehand. Can’t wait to see how it turned out!
Claudette P. Esterine says
My family does this very frequently and they are now pros! Great tips!
Melody Pittman says
great tips! now we need tips for how to get the pets to behave, too. 😉
Those tips I do not have…I can only handle children right now 😉
Cynthia @craftoflaughter says
What great tips! I can’t wait to see the picture either!
Shamira West says
These tips are great! And what a beautiful family!
Thank you so much!
Wynn chow says
So loving these family pictures, I like it.
I love your pic from last summer! I thought everyone was supposed to match, but it’s smart to have everyone coordinating and not matching. A family friend has a photo with 16 people in the same black top and faded jeans. It looks too contrived. Love these tips! Can’t wait for the finished product!!!
Thank you so much!
Lol, I really wanted to see the picture! Okay, now I’ll have to come back.. I love the tips you gave. I have three kids also, and we RARELY get a picture with all 5 of us, looking at the camera, and smiling. I don’t even think we have one! This makes me really want to go out there and try to take one 🙂
Good! And yes, please come back…thanks! 🙂
Tara K. E. Brelinsky says
What a beautiful family, but I am totally bummed that I didn’t get to see the awesome new picture. Good way to make sure I come back. We have 6 boys and 2 girls so I totally feel your pain on getting a good picture. It usually takes several photo shoots and several dozen photos before I can snap a mostly decent picture of the kids.
I promise I will post it very soon 🙂
This is going to be super useful! We’re taking photos for our twins’ first birthday.
Liz Jo says
I loooked at the first five of these, nope, yours are better than ours, we have to take selfie pictures. We’ve never gotten professional pics
liz @ sundays with sophie
Ha Ha! Thank you!
great tips.. i need to start taking more family pics.. my kids can’t stay quite.. they always run away
Oh yes. We have 2 runners too 🙂
Elizabeth O. says
Taking family photos are fun! It looks cheesy for some, but the bond that you form during the photo shoot makes you not care at all. Adorable photos, by the way.
I agree. Thank you!
ronleyba (@ronley_ph) says
Can’t wait to see that photo. Great great tips you got here too!
Beautiful family! My family takes family photos quit a bit… they are always a fun time. But last week I took photos of my little cousins (7 and 4)…lets just say I have a new appreciation for photographers.
Ha ha! Too funny. Thank you for stopping by.
These tips are great! And I was totally bummed that we didn’t get to see the picture! Definitely coming back.
Soon! I promise. Thank you for stopping by, and for following 🙂
One of our best friends is a photographer. It’s easy to feel comfortable with her, especially doing hospital baby photos. And because she loves us. she takes awesome photos!
That sounds perfect!
My favorite picture has my boys in the same blue but not matching outfits. I really love it.
Grace Mountain Diaries says
Such great tips! We have had some great family pictures…until the last 2 years when one son drank bubbles (meant to as a distraction) and proceeded to throw up. Then last year the same son freaked because there were leaves all over the ground. This year I’m hoping we have better luck…especially since they are tomorrow! 😉
Oh my goodness! I hope your son does a great job this year, and you get some great shots 🙂
These are awesome tips. My family loves photos, so we do this every year. I can’t wait to see your pictures.
These are great tips! I find it so difficult to get a good family photo with a toddler. They just move so much!
Thank you! And yes, I have 2 runners 🙂
Jonathan Key says
These are great tips! I agree with #3 Location, Location, Location
Sharing this with my wife.
Awesome! Thank you!
Great tips. It isnt easy to get family pictures taken, especially with small kids, but it is sooo worth it.
I agree. Thanks Julia!
Location equals inspiration in my book! If you’re comfortable in the setting, the photos will reflect it. You have beautiful boys.
Exactly. Thank you!
Lol you left us hanging! Being comfortable with the photographer helps a lot!
I promise to do a reveal soon 🙂
Becki S says
Can’t wait to see the final outcome. I have always struggled with the matching or what to wear piece! I’ve never been too happy with our professional photos (engagement/wedding) but I always love the candid ones.
Thank you! Can’t wait to show you!
Ashley Servis says
I think trusting and feeling comfortable with your photographer is very important. I’m going to get photos done hopefully this Friday for the new blog. `
Awesome! Good luck with your pictures!
Shannon Hall says
All that buildup and we don’t even get to see the picture?! Haha. These are great tips, though. Getting a family photo can be super hard with little kids. We take a whole extended family picture every few years and it’s nearly impossible with all the toddlers and babies in the family.
Don’t worry…all will be revealed soon 🙂
Jane @SustainMyCraftHabit says
Thank you for the tips! Yes, with multiple kids it’s like herding cats to get everyone to look and smile at the same time. One is usually melting down or scowling no matter what! We did our own Christmas pics with the in-laws last year: the only cooperative family member was their dog!
We are enjoying co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty with you!
Michelle James says
This is awesome…a cliff hanger. LOL! I am going to find that photo now. I hope it is posted already. We never had professional family photos taken either. For us it was the money and I love the candid shots. Thanks for the tips though. I will definitely pin this for my parenting friends.
Thank you so much Michelle!
shelah moss says
I am trying to improve my photo taking skills. Thanks for the tips and I can’t wait for the big reveal!
These tips are terrific. The school photos of your boys came out wonderful. They are growing into fine young men!
Shann Eva says
Awe. Thank you!
Thanks for these helpful tips. We always struggle with family photos too – either someone isn’t looking the right way, someone is blinking etc
Nicole | The Professional Mom Project