Whether you’re flying to visit extended family or taking the little ones on a road trip, it’s likely you’ll want to snap some great family photos this summer. But while those captured (and custom framed) memories will become the most treasured of keepsakes, actually taking them can be… well, tricky. So we turned to some of our favorite photographers for advice, and they responded with excellent tips for taking family photos that look pretty, polished and fun.
Photo by Max Wanger
- Look for the light.
No matter the subject, lighting is perhaps the single most important factor in photography. When the lighting is good, it becomes far easier to take a beautiful photo. And when the lighting is bad, even your favorite Instagram filter can feel futile.
“Shoot photos during golden hour or soft light,” recommends KT Merry of the KT Merry Fine Art Print Shop. “If it’s sunny where you live, plan to shoot in the 1-2 hour period before sunset. This will ensure you have softer and more flattering light for your images.”
Alisha Johns of Lish Creative reminds us that “harsh sun can leave everyone with squinty eyes” and the last thing you want is for someone to look uncomfortable or angry! She suggests looking for a shaded area for best results.
- Dress for success.
Dressing for a group photo requires a delicate balancing act: You want everyone to look cohesive but not too matchy-matchy; you want individual personalities to shine, but not overshadow. And we know that with family, trying to enforce a strict dress code can quickly become more trouble than it’s worth.
Alisha says: “The last thing you want is for mom and dad to bring back visions of Halloween and holiday portraits by dressing in orange and black, or red and green. Matchy-matchy definitely isn’t cool, so instead consider a complementary and easy color palette like neutrals, cool colors or warm colors.”
KT says: “Avoid bright colors or distracting patterns. While being dressed all alike is a dated trend, I do recommend a collaborative palette that will work with your background. For example, if you are shooting on a dock, perhaps opt for tones of navy and soft blues. When shooting in a green landscape, try a neutral palette of shades of ivory and tan. This strategy will help make the final photos look styled and intentional.”
Photo by Kate Holstein
- Location, location, location.
While it can be tempting to pose in front of a popular landmark, remember that your background is supposed to be just that––the background. When taking a family photo, it’s important to choose a landscape that complements your subjects instead of competing with them.
Alisha says: “Location is everything! For best results, choose a simple, clean setting. The beach, lush greenery, or a solid color wall are all great options. The fewer distractions, the better.”
Photo of the Wanger Family taken by Nicki Sebastian
- Have fun!
While corralling family members and begging them to “say cheese!” can sometimes seem like a chore, remember that taking a family photo is really a celebration of the love you all share––and act accordingly.
KT says: “The best photos come from a place of true emotion and joy, so make sure to approach the session from an optimistic and fun point of view versus simply checking another to-do item off the list. Try to create some memories and have fun in the process.”
“Don’t worry if you can’t get that perfectly posed family photo,” adds Max Wanger of the Max Wanger Print Shop. “Sometimes the best moments come when you least expect them. Just be sure to have your camera (or phone) handy!”
Family photos by KT Merry custom framed in our Natural Wood Gallery Frame
Lastly, once you’ve captured the moment to your liking, you’ll want to have that perfect family photo custom framed.
These days we receive most family photos as digital files, which we custom frame via our Print & Frame service. You can upload a photo straight from your computer or even from Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox or Google Drive. Learn more about the process and get started here. Go capture those sweet moments this summer.