5 Tips for Taking Your Own Family Photos

person shooting family photo of multiple generations
  • 1-5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-2,000
What You'll Need
What You'll Need

Family Photos can be stressful, but they don't have to be. If you're ready to tackle taking your own family pictures, we've got the tips and tricks that you need to make the photo-taking process go off without a hitch. Well, we can't promise it will go off without a hitch, but these tips will help the process go a lot better and a lot faster.

1. Get Dressed

When it comes to taking family pictures, there's often a lot of pressure associated with what outfits to wear. This is your official unofficial permission to let go of the idea that your outfit has to be perfect for your pictures to look great. We recommend that you wear clothing that you're comfortable in and that you like.

Some of our favorite family pictures feature our family in sweatshirts at a campground. It was a beautiful location, we were having fun, and everybody was comfortable in what they were wearing.

That picture is framed in our living room and looks great, and it has nothing to do with the clothes that we’re wearing. So get rid of the pressure to wear something perfect, and pick something that you like the look of.

If you want to dress up, do it. If you don't want to go buy outfits for your whole family, don't. When you're comfortable in what you're wearing, you're more comfortable in front of the camera, and that makes her better pictures.

2. Practice Beforehand

woman with camera taking picture of two people

Going to be using a tripod and self-timer to take pictures of your family, practice beforehand. You don't need to practice with the whole family. Don't drag everybody into this.

But you, as the picture-taking instigator, need to practice beforehand. Whether you're using a Wi-Fi remote to connect to your camera or you're pushing a shutter button and running as the timer clicks down, you need to practice so that you are ready to roll the second you show up at the location.

Time is a precious commodity when it comes to family pictures, you only have so long for everybody to behave, so being prepared is essential.

3. Bribery is Key

smiling woman waving to baby to take its picture

Got little kids? Bribery is key. Bribery actually works for the whole family, but we do recommend that you come prepared to bribe little kids. We like clean snacks like gummy worms that you can bribe kids with that won't get the outfits dirty and can be eaten really quickly.

Bring lots of bribery because you never know how the day is going to go. With older kids, or even your spouse, you can use bribery that doesn't need to be administered on-site, but if you've got a little kid, come prepared with snacks and toys that make the kid happy.

4. Over Shoot

smiling happy family taking a selfie

When you're taking your own pictures you're going to want to overshoot. Take lots and lots and lots and lots and take them quickly. You never know when you're going to snap the perfect picture, and there's nothing worse than getting home and realizing you didn't get any good pictures to frame. So take a lot of pictures.

Mentally prepare everybody beforehand that you're going to need to take quite a few pictures because you won't have professional eyes behind the camera. Run through the poses you'd like in your head, or even make a list that you can go through. And then take that list, and shoot every pose a whole bunch of times.

5. Invest in Editing

smiling boy and girl looking at camera near computer

Great pictures happen in-camera and on a computer. Editing is key to creating a picture that looks and feels the way that you want it to look and feel. If you like light bright editing, you're going to need to take your raw picture and edit it to look that way.

If you want your pictures to be dark and moody, you're going to need to do the same thing. Invest in Lightroom as an editing tool, you can subscribe for just a month or two because it will make a huge difference in the final outcome of your picture.

Lightroom does take a little bit of time to learn, so hop on YouTube or even TikTok and watch some condensed videos that teach you how to tackle the editing basics.

You can also hire out your photo editing, but if you're looking to do this all DIY we recommend investing a little bit of time and money into this step of the process. You can get a free Lightroom app on your phone if you take the pictures on your phone, but if you're working with pictures from your camera, use the desktop application of Lightroom to make your pictures perfect.

If you're having a hard time figuring out how to edit, you can also purchase presets that work almost like an adjustable filter for your picture.

Taking your own pictures can be stressful, but it's worth it to capture beautiful moments with your family.