How to capture the perfect family photo

Between choosing the right clothing, background and pose, taking a family portrait is anything but easy. Check out these tips to capture your perfect family photo.

family photo at beach

Choose clothing wisely

There is a fine line between coordinating clothing and appearing matchy-matchy. In order to strike the right balance, start by setting a broad color scheme. Keep colors as neutral as possible, choosing either a light or dark palette. White clothing could prove to be tricky, because without a professional photographer it may be difficult to get the exposure right. And try to steer clear of very bright colors, large logos and patterned clothing. Remember, you want the focus of the portrait to be on your family, not your clothing!

Use your camera properly

For those of you who are amateur photographers, figuring out the camera settings can be overwhelming. Jim Harmer, professional photographer and creator of, makes it simple: “If you have a point-and-shoot type camera, you’re best to set the camera on portrait mode (the icon of a person on your mode dial). If you own a DSLR camera with interchangeable lenses, then set the camera on aperture priority mode (the “A” or “AV” on your mode dial) and set the aperture to f/7.1 and the ISO to 400.” Using a camera with a high autofocus speed and continuous shooting, like the new Canon EOS Rebel T4i, will capture high-quality photos quickly.

Keep it simple

The key to the perfect background is simplicity. Find or create a background free of obtrusive or distracting objects. Harmer suggests alleyways in a downtown area, or even a public park. Be sure to keep several feet of distance between your family and the background. If you’re shooting indoors, Harmer recommends trying a fun pose on the family couch (as long as it is not up against a wall).

Strike a pose

Finding the right pose may be the most important part of the family picture, so you want to choose one that looks natural and flattering. If you opt for the traditional side-by-side pose, be sure to have your family angle inwards toward one another and tilt their heads slightly. Want to try something a little more creative? Harmer recommends searching “family pose” on Pinterest to find inspiration for a nontraditional pose.

Let loose with the little ones

Family photos don’t need to be stiff and uncomfortable! Instead of making the little ones stand in the same position, take one or two “nice” photos, and then let them interact and be silly. Often the best family portraits are the ones that capture your family’s unique personality, so try not to focus on the small details, and have fun with it!

Fun with baby

Need more great ideas for spending quality time with your baby? Check out Baby’s Day Out City Guide — you’ll discover all the top baby-friendly destinations and how to enjoy them with your little one.

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