Family Portrait: 11 Tips for Creating the Best Family Portraits

This entry was posted on June 16, 2023 by Gauri Thoyakkat.

Tips for Creating the Best Family Portraits

Family portraits are a timeless tradition that can capture the essence of the love, bond, connection, and togetherness that each family member shares with the other.

A well-crafted family portrait that may be photographed or painted by you or a commissioned artist is a great way to preserve memories and make them lasting. It will be a beautiful work of art that can be cherished for generations to come.

Tips for Creating the Best Family Portraits

Source: The Shelby Studio

However, taking the perfect family portrait that captures the essence of your family as it is, is not always an easy task. From coordinating outfits to finding the proper lighting, there are many factors that you must look into before creating a stunning family portrait.

This article will provide eleven tips to help you capture the best family portrait possible. Whether you are a professional photographer or a parent looking to capture a special moment with all the family members, these tips will hopefully help you capture the essence of your family in the most beautiful way possible.

What is a Family Portrait?

A family portrait can either be a painting or a photograph that shows the various family members in a single image. It is a beautiful portrayal of a family’s history and their relationship with one another.


Source: Mavenart

Family portraits can either be formal or informal, candid or staged. Such a portrait can be taken at the best location of your choice. You can plan the photo shoot at a studio, in the comfort of your home, or even in an area that may be significant in your family's history, a site that holds a special place in the heart of every family member.

Family portraits of any kind reflect the family's identity and values and therefore is more than just a painting or a photograph. They also efficiently capture the love and bond the family members have for each other and stand as a reminder of why family, especially yours, is essential.

What is a Family Portrait?

Source: April Cristine Photography

Family portraits represent the shared history, relationships, and values and remind us of the importance of family. In addition to this, they also act as a memory that can be cherished by generations to come.

Why Are Family Portraits So Important?

There are many reasons why family portraits are important. They are an efficient way to capture memories and document the growth of the people in your family and an incredible way of showing the world your most adored relationships.

Why Are Family Portraits So Important?

Source: Jenny Grimm Photography

More often than not, family photos are a way of remembering a loved one who is no longer with you. For others, it is a way to note the changes that they and their loved ones experience. Family Portraits are also an excellent way to create bonds between family members that would last forever.

Necessity For A Family Portrait

Memories are not just a part of us but also a massive part of our families and history. Family Portraits are a physical reminder of our loved ones and help us keep their memories alive.

But there lies a more profound reason to take one’s family portrait over just for the memories. Family portraits are an excellent way to document your life as well as conserve your legacy for the generations to come.

Family Portrait

Source: Heartstory Photography

For most people, family is a massive part of their lives; they are the ones who stand by you no matter what or how hard things get. Families provide and fill us with a sense of belonging, which in turn can help shape our identity.

The family also shapes the personality of a person and their perspectives. So, it is not surprising that family portraits are important as they remind us of the people who made us who we are.

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Celebrating Heritage

Family portraits are an excellent way to connect with our ancestors and honor our heritage. They are a perfect way to take a peek into the past.

You can see your parents, grandparents, and maybe even your great-grandparents in family memorial portraits, which can thus help you understand the resemblance and traditions passed down from one generation to the next. All this can help build a sense of continuity and connection to one’s past.

Celebrating Heritage

Source: families, LoveToKnow

Family portraits also remind people of the good times they had and help them remember the beautiful and best moments they shared with their loved ones. In a world that may often be bleak and uninspiring, a family portrait can provide you with the inspiration and joy you seek.

Family Portrait: 11 Tips for Creating Best Family Portraits

You may have at least wondered why or how you can make a family portrait. You might also be curious about the things you should keep in mind while taking one. In this section, we will look into the 11 tips that you must keep in mind when capturing a family portrait

1. Find and Schedule The Best Time For The Family Photo Shoot

When deciding to shoot a family portrait, the first and foremost thing to do is to schedule an apt time that works for all your family members. It is essential that all your family members have time to spare on the shoot day, as it can sometimes be a long process.

Best Time For The Family Photo Shoot

Source: Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee

But that must not be the only factor that determines your scheduled time for the shoot. When fixing the time, it is crucial to consider the lighting and even the season. Here are some factors you must consider while scheduling a family portrait shoot:

a. Lighting

The best time that most photographers recommend for outdoor shoots is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. At these two times of the day, the light is softer and more flattering. Midday sun can create harsh shadows, which can make your family portrait less appealing.

b. Schedule availability

Consider the schedules of all family members to determine a time that works best for every single one for them. It is best to avoid scheduling the shoot on a day or when someone has another commitment or activity.

Schedule availability

Source: Alamy

Shooting the family portrait can, at times, be a time-consuming process. So, rushing it because someone has another commitment soon after the session can ruin the quality of the shoot and, thus, the portrait.

c. Weather

Make sure to check the weather forecast to ensure that the day of the shoot will be comfortable for all of your family members. If it's too hot, too cold, or raining, it may be best to reschedule the shoot to avoid any hassle.


Source: Freepik

d. Ages of children

If young children are involved, it is best to schedule the shoot when they usually feel well-rested and not hungry. If they feel restless or hungry, they will be in an unpleasant mood which can ruin the family photography sessions.

e. Location

If you are planning the shoot at a specific location, like a park or beach, it is best to consider the best time of day to be in that location. You have to be at the site with your family for a hassle-free family photography photo shoot when the place is not crowded.

Sarah Kane Photography

Source: Sarah Kane Photography

Some locations like these might have specific rules or regulations about when they are open or might have restrictions for photography. It is essential to look into such rules of the place you want your shoot to happen before scheduling the family portrait shoot, if applicable.

2. Use A Great Camera To Capture Your Family Portrait

Using a good camera to shoot your family portrait can make a difference in the quality of the final image. It is best to research and get an excellent camera to get the perfect family portrait with great quality.

Henry's Camera

Source: Henry's Camera -

If you are hiring a photographer to shoot the portrait, then it is best to ask them what camera they are using. You can then check its features to ensure it can capture a great-quality image of your family.

Below are some tips regarding what you must look for in a camera to ensure it can take quality pictures:

a. High resolution

A camera with a high resolution can let you capture images with more detail, thus enabling you to produce sharper images. It is best to have a camera with at least 12 megapixels. But if you want to have the best quality family portraits, then it is best to go for cameras with 20 megapixels or more.

best quality family portraits

Source: Argos

b. Full frame sensor

A full-frame sensor will produce higher-quality images than a more miniature sensor camera. If you have the budget for it, it is best to invest in a camera that has a full-frame sensor.

c. Lens

The lens is a crucial element of a camera that can determine the quality of the equipment. You must look for a camera with a lens with a low aperture, such as f/2.8 or lower. This will allow you to blur the background and create a shallow depth of field for your family portrait.


Source: Pixabay

d. Image stabilization

Image stabilization reduces the blur often caused by camera shake, especially when shooting in low light. Buying or using a camera with excellent image stabilization is best to get a great-quality family portrait.

e. Shooting modes

It is best to get or use a camera with manual shooting modes, which allows you to control the settings for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. This way, you will have more control of the final product that you get.


Source: AtulHost

Some good camera options that you can buy for capturing family photos include the Canon EOS R6, the Nikon Z 5, and the Sony α7 IV.

3. Light the Scene for Correct Exposure

When shooting a family portrait, it is essential to ensure that the scene where you are capturing it is well-lit. Your shoot site needs to be lit well to get the correct exposure for your portrait.

Below are some steps you can follow to ensure that your family portrait looks bright and good with the correct exposure.

a. Choose a location with ample natural light

While choosing the scene or spot you want as the background of your family portrait, make sure that it is well-light with enough natural light.

If you want to shoot the family portrait indoors, looking for a spot with good window light is best. Since you are shooting indoors in this case, consider using a fill light or a softbox that can help add additional light and create a more even exposure.

Shelly Niehaus Photography

Source: Shelly Niehaus Photography

The golden hour is a great time with fantastic lighting to shoot the family portrait outdoors. The light will be softer and more flattering during this time of the day, making your family portrait look beautiful.

b. Set your camera to aperture priority mode

You have to set your camera to aperture priority mode. Then, you have to choose an appropriate aperture based on the number of subjects and depth of field desired.

For example, an aperture of f/5.6 or f/8 is usually suitable for shooting a family portrait.

c. Use a reflector

It is best to use a reflector that can help bounce light onto your family members and fill in any shadows that may be falling on the subject’s faces. This can help in creating an even, flattering light.

family members photo

Source: Pinterest

d. Use a light meter

You can use a handheld light meter or the light meter of your camera to help ensure that the exposure is correct.

e. Consider the background

It is essential to consider the environment and then adjust your camera settings according to it as well. You must adjust it accordingly to ensure the location is adequately exposed and not too bright or dark.

4. Wear Clothes You Feel Good In

Being in your best-dressed self while you pose for family photos is essential. Shooting for family photos may not be something that happens very often.

Family portrait shoots are often planned to mark or remember a particular occasion. Sometimes, it happens when there is a new member in your family. Or, when you haven’t shot any family portrait in recent times to mark how every family member has changed.

style your occasion

Source: style your occasion

So, it is essential to wear the best dress or outfit you have in the particular color that was fixed to have a color combination if there is any. Do get a brand new outfit of your liking to be your best-dressed self if you have to.

Below are some tips to help you choose the right clothes for your family photo shoot:

a. Coordinate but don't match

It is best to choose colors and patterns that complement each other but avoid wearing identical outfits when taking a family portrait. It might also look great and unique if you can mix and match the colors of the outfits that different family members wear.


Source: Shotkit

b. Dress for the occasion

Consider the theme of your photo shoot when choosing your outfits. You don’t want to wear bland or simple outfits that can take the life out of a lovely family portrait. However, make sure to choose the kind of outfit that will fit the setting or location.

c. Consider your body type

You have to consider your body type before choosing the clothing that can make you stand out, in a good way, in your family portrait. You must choose clothes that make you feel confident and complement your complexion.

Choosing an outfit you like but don’t feel confident in can negatively affect how you pose in the family portrait.

d. Try wearing accessories

Accessories can add interest and personality to your outfit. Finding and wearing one or a couple of accessories that go very well with your attire can take your look to another level. Consider adding a statement necklace, scarf, or hat that matches well with your outfit to complete your look.


Source: Pinterest

5. Advise the Family to Dress Appropriately

While dressing up for a family portrait, you must remember that the photo you take will be immortal, one that will be cherished for years to come. So, like it is important to dress yourself up in something nice, it is also vital to ensure your family dresses up well.

Here are some tips to follow and advise your family on how to dress appropriately for posing for a family portrait.

a. Dress according to the location

You must ensure you and your family wear appropriate clothing based on the weather and the location. This tip is especially significant if you are shooting your family portrait in one of your favorite outdoor locations.

For example, you and your family must wear comfortable shoes for walking on grass if your chosen location for the family portrait photography photoshoot is a park. If you are doing your photo shoot during winter, you must want to wear casual-looking winter clothes to match the surroundings.

Paul Retherford Photography

Source: Paul Retherford Photography

b. Coordinate colors

It is best to choose a color scheme to make your family portrait visually pleasing. While selecting a color scheme, make sure to follow a pattern that complements each other. Ensure to avoid wearing clashing colors or busy patterns that could be distracting in the photo.

c. Make sure the family members look well-groomed

Pay attention to how every family member looks and advise everyone to be well-groomed for the photo shoot. This can include anything like hair, makeup, and facial hair that needs to be trimmed to look well-maintained.


Source: ShootProof

d. Advise everyone to accessorize appropriately

Accessories are an essential element in making anyone look well-dressed. Advise everyone to wear accessories that complement the outfits they wear, thus, adding interest to the photo.

The most important thing, as mentioned above, is to wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident. So, it is best to advise all your family members to wear clothing and accessories to make them look and feel confident.

6. Get The Expressions Right

When posing for a family portrait, all the family members must have a cheerful and pleasant expression that can make your photo sweet and lovely.

Digital Photography School

Source: Digital Photography School

There are several things to consider to get the proper expression while posing for your family portrait. Here are some tips to help you and your family to get it right.

a. Relax

It is essential that you feel relaxed and comfortable during the family portrait photography photoshoot. If you have difficulty putting a constant smile on your face while posing, take a few deep breaths. This will help you let go of any tension you may feel.

b. Smile naturally

You have to avoid forcing a smile or making a fake expression. Some people may find it hard to smile while posing for a photo.

Frank Myrland

Source: Frank Myrland

If you are someone like that or if you are in such a situation, try to think of something that makes you genuinely happy or amused. This tip can help you to produce a more natural-looking smile.

c. Keep your eyes focused on the camera

We know that the eyes are the windows to our souls. You can convey emotion using your eyes, even in a photograph.


Source: Adorama

While posing for a family portrait, ensure your eyes are open and focused on the camera. If possible, try smiling using your eyes, which can make the overall look you project more pleasant. You have to avoid squinting your eyes or looking away while you are posing, and the shooting is happening if you are not going for a candid photo shoot.

d. Posture

Good posture is essential to look flattering and confident for your portrait. Make sure to stand up straight and relax your shoulders. It is best to avoid slouching when posing for the family portrait.

e. Interact with each other

If you want your family portrait to look candid and natural, you have to make all your family members interact with each other. You can hug, hold hands, or tease each other, giving the portrait a pleasant atmosphere.

SLR Lounge

Source: SLR Lounge

7. Mostly Use Natural Light For Your Family Photography Session

There are several reasons why using natural light is essential for family photography sessions. Many photographers will prefer you gather in a place with enough natural light while doing a family portrait session.

The main reason is that natural light is softer and can flatter your family members, especially during evenings. In addition to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in the family portraits, natural light accentuates the natural beauty of the photographed people. Natural light provides a range of contrasts and colors, making the overall quality of the picture even greater.

Mint Arrow

Source: Mint Arrow

Natural light provides photographers with an opportunity to capture emotions and create more memorable and authentic family photos.

Natural light is also more accessible and saves costs since you will not need a lot of artificial lighting equipment to create light. Using natural light to take family portraits produces beautiful images in addition to being practical, which the family can cherish forever.

8. Wardrobe/Hair & Make-Up

Choosing the right wardrobe, hair, and makeup is essential, as this can change how the whole portrait looks and feels. Here are some tips that you can follow to better your wardrobe and hair and makeup to make you and your family look perfect in the family portrait.


What many people do for family portraits is that they match their outfits, but it is better not to do this. Instead, coordinate your outfits. You need to be careful not to dress everyone in the same outfit or color but choose colors that complement each other and styles that go well together.


Source: A-Fotografy

The primary focus of a family portrait should be its subjects; therefore, you need to avoid busy patterns and choose dresses with simple designs and neutral colors. Also, dress based on where you plan on shooting the Family Portrait.

Hair and Makeup

Using simple and natural hairstyles is an excellent way to highlight yourself from others. If you feel like your hair is overgrown, trim it a bit or into a length that suits you the best a few days before the planned family portrait shoot day. For men, it is better to trim your facial hair or clean shave it based on what you think suits your face more.


Source: Hitched

To ensure that everyone looks the best throughout the shooting, it is best to bring accessories such as hairspray, brush, comb, and makeup touch-up kit with you.

The ultimate aim is to create a look that enhances the personality and beauty of your family. By being prepared and coordinated, you can ensure that your family portrait is beautiful and can be cherished for many years.

9. Consider Possible Family Combination

While taking a family portrait, one thing to keep in mind is the family combination. Family combinations in family portraits refer to the different poses and groupings you can create using the various family members. Some suggestions that you can use for the different family combinations are listed below.

a. The Whole Family

This is the most common type of family portrait combination that most people use. In this type of family combination, all the members of the family will be present together. This is one of the best ways to take a family portrait, as it includes all your family members.

family portrait combination

Source: The Indian Express

b. Parents and Children

This is another common family combination that many people make use of. A family portrait using this family combination will have parents with their children. While using this family combination, you can do it with your immediate or extended family members.


Source: iStock

c. Siblings Together

If there are siblings in your family, you can take a portrait of the siblings which would not only capture the unique bond the siblings share but would also create a memory that would last for a lifetime.

Amy Kristin Photography

Source: Amy Kristin Photography

d. Grandparents and Grandchildren

Taking a portrait of the grandparents with their grandchildren is a lovely combination. Such a family portrait would capture the special relationship that grandparents and grandchildren share with each other.

best family portrait

Source: iStock

e. Generational Shot

A Generation Shot is a family combination in which members of a family, such as parents, grandchildren, and grandparents, are all included. This pose is one of the best and most beautiful ways to capture the history and heritage of a family.

Cleary Creative Photography

Source: Cleary Creative Photography

f. Couples Only

If there are married couples or those in a relationship in your family, it is an excellent combination to take a portrait of just the couples together. This is a fun way to celebrate and capture the love they have for each other.


Source: Pixpa

When deciding to take a family portrait, it is best to think about the various family combinations one could try. One should also ask the photographer they hire for different pose suggestions and arrangements to try to make the family portrait memorable and unique.

10. Prep The Kids

Getting the children ready for anything, let alone a family portrait, is a challenge. However, with patience and preparation, you can make the family portrait shoot comfortable for the little kids. Follow the tips below to prep your kids for the family photography session.

a. Talk To Them

It is essential to talk to your kid before the family portrait is taken and explain what you will be doing and why it is important to behave and follow the instructions provided by the photograph. While talking to them, it is also better to show them one or two examples of a family portrait so they know what to expect.

family photography session

Source: Photography Talk

b. Choose Outfits Together

Allow your kids to choose their outfits for the family photography session. This would make them feel more involved and excited about the family portrait. However, you need to ensure that the clothes are comfortable for the kids and fit well, in addition to not having any distracting patterns or large logos.


Source: FreePik

c. Practice Posing

Before the shoot happens, it is good to take some time to practice posing with your kids. You can show them the various poses they could try and help them practice to feel comfortable in front of a camera and not feel overwhelmed.

d. Bring Entertainment and Snacks

To keep the kids occupied and engaged during the shoot. It is best to have snacks and entertainment, such as toys, books, or tablets, for them to have fun. You need to be careful with the snacks and ensure none of the snacks you give could ruin their clothes by staining.

Sunshine Picks

Source: Sunshine Picks

e. Be Patient and Positive

It is easy to get frustrated, but that will not be helpful. It is best to stay positive and patient during the family photography session by encouraging and praising their good behavior. This mood would make the family photography session enjoyable for all the family members involved.

The tips mentioned above would prepare your child for the family photography session and make the whole experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

11. Keep Kids Engaged During The Shoot

It is not an easy task to take a family portrait. It can be a long and tedious process that could result in the kids of your family feeling tired, bored, or restless.

Expert Photography

Source: Expert Photography

However, there are ways you could avoid this and keep your kids entertained and engaged in making sure that the shoot of the family portrait becomes an enjoyable, fun experience not just for the kids but for everyone involved.

a. Keep It Short

It is best to keep the family photography session short, especially if young children are in the family. It is best to keep the family photography photo shoot under 30 minutes or less by trying to get the perfect shot you need efficiently.

b. Make It Fun

Having fun during the family photography session is a great way to keep the kids engaged. Kids are easily entertained. Try to play games with them, make silly faces, and tell jokes, as this would help keep the kids entertained and laughing as they would be having fun.


Source: Photojaanic

c. Rewards

Offering small rewards if the kids behave well is something that could help keep the kids engaged. A reward can be anything simple, ranging from stickers to small treats. If they have been really good, consider offering them more significant rewards such as visiting the park or attending a movie.

d. Props

Props are a fantastic way to keep the kids engaged. In addition to this, you can also use these props in your family pictures, which will add more personality to your family portrait. Using props like balloons, hats, or sunglasses allows the kids to play with these props during the shoot, which can help keep them engaged and occupied.

e. Let The Kids Take Some Shots

An exciting and fun way to keep the kids engaged and interested in the family photography session is by allowing the kids to take some shots with a camera. Provide the kids with a disposable camera or your phone or a simple digital camera, which would keep them occupied and interested in the family portrait.

11 Tips for Creating the Best Family Portraits

Source: Click Community

f. Take Breaks

If you feel the kids are tired or restless, take a break. Let them play for a few minutes or run around. This will help them burn off some of the energy and return focused and refreshed for the family photography session.


Family portraits are virtual memorials that can pay homage to the bond and connection your family members share with each other. Family portraiture is now as popular as self-portraiture and any other kind of portrait. They can help all family members always remember the good times they spend with the family.

If you and your family want to do a family photography session soon, referring to this article can help you plan your photo session well. The article discusses eleven tips that you must remember to capture the best family portraits you and your family members can treasure forever. We hope you find this article helpful!

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