As a family and wedding photographer, I have seen my fair share of disastrous family photos. After all, who can resist those tempting photo articles of the awkward family photos? However, as a professional, I give my clients the following tips to avoid those photo faux pas:
Don't try to be something you're not.
Do you love those beautifully posed magazine photos of the perfect family wearing all white on the beach? You know, the ones with the mother's hair beautifully blowing in the wind and the father playfully lifting up his kids? I'll tell you right now, those photos are one in a million. Most real families have tears, stains and bad hair days. Find a photographer willing to work with who you really are, not who you want to be.
Don't try to be too matchy matchy.
If your family doesn't always match their outfits perfectly, why would you want a fake family portrait that shows you as something you're not? I always advise my clients to wear something the feels comfortable and goes well with the other outfits in the photo. Try to avoid heavy patterns or shirts with words on them, but the days of matching your outfits perfectly are over.
Work with your realistic schedule.
If you have young kids, your photo shoot should work around their schedule. Pick a time when they are well rested, fed and have a lot of energy. Additionally, find a photographer who is patient when your little one needs a snack or even a quick break.
Find a background that makes sense for your family.
A great family portrait is classic and timeless. Therefore, you want a background that makes sense for your family long-term. Try to avoid seasonal or holiday shots, such as a photo in front of your fire place if it's covered with holiday decorations or an outdoor winter photo with everyone bundled up in hats and gloves if you want to hang it up year round.
Consider the behind the scenes shot.
Some of the best photos are the candid photos your photographer captures when you're not posing. Ask to see all of the proofs, not just the ones your photographer thinks look perfect. You may be surprised how much you love the pictures that aren't posed and instead show your true family's interaction.