Family Portraits – The Do’s and Dont’s

Family Portraits

When you go to all the trouble to plan out a family photography session, you want it to go smoothly. After all, it’s not often that you can get everyone together, dressed in their best, and ready to smile for the camera. Since your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and parents are changing every day it’s important to preserve those precious memories. Whether it’s an extended family portrait, or a more intimate gathering of your immediate family, here are the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts of family portraits.

#1: DO coordinate your clothing, but DON’T dress in the exact same thing

There are some hilarious family photos that have been taken over the years where everyone is literally dressed in the exact same thing—whether it’s the same shirt, same fabrics, or complete outfits that match. While this definitely takes “coordinated clothing” to a new level, it can look awkward, dull, or cheesy. However, you do want the photo to flow, so it’s important that everyone is wearing complimentary colors and styles.

#2: DO choose colorful outfits, but DON’T go for a “rainbow” effect

Colors make photos fun, and the colors you are wearing can really bring the image to life. Choose a variety of colors from the same color family, or perhaps different shades of the same color to add dimension to the photo. You can also use different patterns (as long as they are not too distracting), fabrics, textures, and accessories to bring the photo to life. At the same time, try to avoid dressing everyone in completely different colors—this can result in your professional photography looking more like an advertisement for rainbows than a classy family portrait.

#3: DO let your personalities come through, but DON’T let it be distracting

At JayLynn Studios, we meet a lot of families that don’t just want a bunch of photos where everyone is lined up, posed, and smiling at the camera. A whole session of these shots doesn’t leave room for individuals to shine through. Instead, talk to the photographers about doing some poses or shots that allow everyone to be themselves—with the whole family actually having fun! However, be careful not to let this “fun time” get out of hand, because it can be difficult to bring kids back in for more serious shots (and sometimes you do want some of those). Consider starting with the more serious shots, then letting everyone go and have some fun so it’s not distracting.

 #4: DO dress for the season, but DON’T wear uncomfortable clothes or shoes

You may love to wear cute sundresses and sassy high-heel sandals, but if you’re getting a photo taken in a season besides summer, this may not be practical. At the same time, you want to make sure everyone is comfortable in their clothing, especially children, because the photo shoot might take a while. If you are wearing shoes that may be difficult to walk in, or uncomfortable over a long period of time, bring a backup pair to go between shooting sites.

#5: DO choose a great location, but DON’T forget to create a back-up plan

Most family pictures today are done outdoors, and why not? The beauty of a natural backdrop can add a lot to your photos. However, even when you do pick the perfect location, don’t forget to create a back-up plan. You never know when you might run into inclement weather, or some other hiccup like construction in the area, or another family already taking photos there. With busy photographers and busy families, rescheduling can be difficult, so have a secondary location planned just in case.