How to Take the Perfect Family Photos: Tips & Tricks

January 31, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Tips for Taking the Perfect Family Photo

The perfect family photo is one that captures a moment in time that will never be repeated. It can be a happy moment, a silly moment, or just an ordinary day. The most important aspect of your family photography session, is that is captures the essence of your family.  One thing is for sure: the perfect family photo is one that you will cherish forever.

Family of 4, mom, dad, daughter, son all holding hands standing in front of the bay on an NJ shore line during sunset.

The following are some tips to take the perfect family photos...

Choose a great location and the time of day.

In NJ we have so many great locations for a family photography session. Parks, forests, beaches, streams, downtown areas etc. I mainly shoot in and around Central New Jersey and have chosen to do yearly photographer permits for Colonial Park in Somerset, NJ. They are beautiful areas with perennial gardens, a rose gardens, bridges, water features & more. It is kid & pet friendly and a beautiful location in Central Jersey for a day trip or photography location.

The best time of day & my favorite time for a photography session is definitely at golden hour.  Golden hour is the term for the time of day one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset.  Golden hour lighting is soft and dreamy and compliments any skin tone.  To prevent squinting eyes, and hard shadows I recommend booking your session during golden hour.

Sunny days are great, but overcast days can be even better for family portraits.  The overcast sky provides soft photo lighting and ensures everyone has wide open eyes (no squinting because of the harsh sun), no bad shadows and can usually use any open areas without having to find shade.

Four siblings posing together during a family photo session in Somerset, NJ park during summer time. It's important to dress appropriately for a family photo shoot.

 You don't want to wear something that will make you uncomfortable or that your family members may not be comfortable with.

The following are some guidelines for what you should wear to a family photo shoot:

  •  Wear clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for the weather.
  • Wear clothes that are the same color as your skin tone, or a shade lighter or darker than your skin tone.
  •  Wear clothes with no logos, graphics, or words on them.
  •  Wear clothes with no visible holes in them (unless it is intentional like torn jeans)
  • Choose two colors and then a complimentary third color and have everyone dress in those color tones and hues. Clothing doesn't have to be identical, it just needs to be coordinated and look great.
  • Wear the appropriate outfit for the chosen location, theme, or look you want.   

Six cousins dressed in blue, pink, and white standing together holding hands posing for photos infront of the bridge in Colonial Park, NJ.

Kids & Family Posing Tips

Let's start with getting your kids comfortable in front of the camera.  It is really important when you arrive at the session, that we give your kids a little time to warm up to the photographer. Make sure to talk to your kids prior about who your photographer is & what their name is. Often photographers will begin each session with getting to know your kids.  Your photographer may ask them questions about their favorite activities or what they like to study in school.  Please allow your kids to answer these questions for themselves as it is their way of warming them up before they begin the photography session.

Once we get started, we will spend a lot of time giving you and your kids directions on what to do, where to stand or words to say.  This is all in an effort to move towards natural expressions and interaction between family members.  We start each session with more structured poses, and then move towards lots of tickles, giggles, funny words and phrases, etc.  These all help your photographer capture the true essence of your family at the photography session. If you are more likely to gravitate towards posed vs candids make sure you choose a photographer who may specialize in those types of photos & let them know that is what you are looking for out of your session. While we definitely want to get everyone looking at the camera and smiling, most also want to capture the in between moments.

Family with two young boys holding hands with mom & dad and their dog sitting on the side, standing on a gravel path in an NJ park during a family photo shoot.

Pets at your family photography session: Don't forget about your furry friends.

Most family photographers will always encourage you to include pets in your family photography session.  The most important thing to consider when including pets is the location of the photography session.  We need to ensure that dogs or other pets are allowed at the photography location so we don't run into any issues.  It is also encourage to bring treat and toys to the session so your photographer get the family, including your pet, looking at the camera.

If you are ready for a new fabulous photography session for your family, just let me know here.

As always feel free to leave a comment, reply, or another tip for other SarahDipity Photography families.


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