Family Portrait Tips

"Here are some family portrait tips
that will help yours stand out from the crowd."

The Family Portrait

The family portrait has been around since before the camera was invented. It is often one of the first things that people see when entering a family's home.

A family portrait represents a lot of heritage and fond memories to the family. It even shows the history of styles. So if family portraits have been around so long, and represent so much, why aren't they all good?

Let's face it, most of the time when we see a family portrait all we think is,.. So that's your family. Only on a rare occasion do we say...
"Now that is a nice family portrait!"

One of the problems is that the basic family portrait has not really changed that much over the generations, so most of them seem to look alike. There is nothing to really catch your eye.

This usually happens for a few reasons: lack of preparation, poor selection of attire, not much creativity, and poor lighting.

The family portrait tips below will show what should be considered in these areas:

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Now back to Family Portrait Tips. I hope you are enjoying the article.


Before endeavoring in the blissfulness of family portrait photography, think about what would be the best time to get the family together for the event. When is the family most social? Some people are just not morning people. I know that I am not very sociable until after lunch.

Are many children going to be in the photograph? Children are usually more cooperative after they are fully rested and fed.

Would you like a formal or casual feel? I recommend casual. It seems more natural and has more of a possibility of not looking like the millions of other portraits that we have seen. Though, formal does give a more classical look of a clean cut family.

Will the portrait be taken indoors or outdoors? If it is outdoors, wear something appropriate for the weather.

Have the clothes picked out well before the photo is taken.

Selection of Attire

This is one of the most important family portrait tips.

What is your background going to be? What kind of look are you going for? One dramatic effect could be to have everyone wear white and have a white background or wear black with a black background. Make sure that what you are wearing does not clash too much with your back or foreground. The viewer should not be distracted by the attire.

Avoid patterns and trendy styles that my date the photo.

Coordinate everyone’s attire from head to toe. You may want to take some full length shots.

Family members should be complimenting each other, so what they wear should be similar. I am not saying identical, but make sure that they do not contrast.

What the family wears should be comfortable, especially for the children. A comfortable person is a happy person and it will come out more naturally in the picture.

Get Creative

Consider coming up with a theme for the photo. Perhaps dress up as pirates and have the portrait taken at the beach.

Is your family into a particular sport or outdoor activity? Try coordinating the picture with the event. Everyone will already be in a good mood and it could make for a splendid and memorable picture.

For some more detailed ideas, check out Family Portrait Ideas.


Most people take a photograph with their light source attached to the camera. This should not be done with portrait photography. It flattens out all of the physical attributes of the subjects by eliminating shadows. Try using a light source detached form the camera. This will allow shadows to appear and give more depth to the photo. For a more natural look, try reflecting your light source off of a wall or something that will diffuse the light a bit.

I hope these family portrait tips have given you some ideas to create a memorable scene. Have fun.

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