Honor What Matters Most

10 Family Photography Tips

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Two little girls laughing with flowering tree in the background

Whether they’re the ones we choose or the ones we're born with, we’re lucky enough to call them family, and they're never too far from our sides. In our photos, we strive to honor that authentic connection — to hold on to those little moments that steal our hearts, lest they someday slip our minds. Luckily, we know a few folks who have a knack for recreating that legacy of love with the simple click of a shutter, and they're here to share their favorite family photo tips. Read on for simple advice that anyone can follow to snap heartfelt candids and frame-worthy portraits alike.

Tip 01

Gather Around

Family photo with parents and five young children all wearing beanies

When you have a handful of people that you're aiming to get in one frame, coordinating can be overwhelming. Phone a friend (your self-timer!) to do the hard work for you. One of the most simple photography tips for packing everyone in is to balance your phone on an object about ten feet away — just make sure that you're using the camera on the back of your phone (as opposed to the front) to take a higher-quality photo.

Tip 02

Focus on Joy

Black and white photo of father kissing little girl on cheek while she laughs

The images that you'll look back on with tears in your eyes are the ones that capture the personalities of your family in a true light. With this in mind, focus on their joy and you'll never be led astray. Use the burst mode on your camera to document a moment as it unfolds — pick your favorites from the burst right away and favorite them so that you don't have to think twice about them being in your favorites folder.

Not sure how to use burst mode? Check out our handy guide to iPhone camera effects.

Young girl smiling with eyes closed under a flowering tree

Tip 03

Capture Candids

Blurry photo of little girl in polka-dot dress twirling whimsically

Just because you’re grabbing a candid shot, that doesn’t mean you should forget about basic photography principles. For a standout candid photo, make sure your background looks clean and uncluttered and your shot is set up properly. You’d be surprised how much you can fix in post-production, but a good photo will always have these basic elements.

Tip 04

Record for Them

Little boy holding up artwork and smiling proudly

When my children grow up, I want them to be able to look back at the photos I took and remember; their favorite stuffed animal, the shirt they insisted on wearing every day for a week, learning to ride their bike, the proud look they had after figuring something out. It’s their history and ours as a family, and I want to record as much of it as I can.

Pro tip: One of our favorite family photo tips is to save individual frames of videos as photos. It's a great way to get those in-the-moment shots that capture their personality.

Tip 05

Snap Away

Black and white photo of little girl with bow in her hair laughing

If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times...TAKE A TON OF PHOTOS! The likelihood you’re going to get a great shot of your kids in one take is minuscule. If you think you have the photo you want, take 10 more. You’ll often get something better.

Tip 06

Catch Them Off Guard

Woman bundled up in large jacket holding coffee cup with surprised smile on her face

Those split-second moment reactions really do portray real life in a way that little else can. And in favor of all that's candid — why not be an orchestrator of them? When your loved one isn’t paying attention, catch them off guard by calling their name to make them look your way. You’ll get a real take on a face that you love most.

Tip 07

Make Room for the Mundane

Four children lying in bed with new year's props

We hear it again and again — the days are long but the years are short. I end up coveting photographs of my family's mundane moments the most. These are the times that our own parents and grandparents speak so wisely of and reflect on with emotion and gratitude. Extra special outings or vacations taken afar are always valued — but never lose sight of an average day spent at the home doing nothing yet everything with those you love. Sneak out your camera only for just a few quick moments in these times so that the moment stays genuine and continues on without interruption.

Tip 08

Start With A Photo

Four kids standing against wall in order of height

Tips for taking family photos won't help much if your timing isn't right. If you and your kiddos are at an outing, and you know you’re going to want to capture a group shot, get it out of the way! Your kids will be cleaner, and hopefully less grumpy at the start of an adventure versus the end. I like to be very clear in stating my expectations for what I’m looking for before we are even out of the car. Try saying something like: I’d love to get one shot of the whole family, and if we can cooperate, then we can have a treat as a family! Make it fun!

Tip 09

Let Them Be

Photo of two young girls laughing and being silly

Let them be them, even if them is annoying 😉 Sometimes my favorite photos come from when my kids are driving each other (and me) crazy. You get real emotion that way, more of a story. And at the end of the day, a story is always more interesting than just a pretty picture.

Tip 10

Be Original

Two little boys lying in pile of fall leaves

In a world filled with social media, it can be easy for anyone to want to replicate an image that they saw and admired. While I personally find it wonderful to seek out inspiration, I also urge clients not to expect to take the exact same image they saved to their Pinterest board. Instead, let the moment naturally unfold before you. I use this at home with my own children — our photographs and homes are uniquely ours and at the end of the day, we should feel comfort and value in that.

Put these family photography tips to use...

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