How to Photograph Family PortraitsIf you want to photograph families, keep several factors in mind. Most of all, however, make sure to relax and have fun because the people that you will be photographing will follow your lead. Choosing the right location, time, accessories and camera settings, however, play an important part in creating beautiful family photographs.


Just like with almost all projects, communication is key to a successful family photography session. When someone signs up for a date, send them a friendly reminder about a week before the event through email, text or a phone call. Then, the day ahead, contact them again just to answer any last minute questions.


It is essential to plan the time of day for family photographs carefully unless you want to break your back carrying equipment and pay an assistant to help you. Take advantage of the best natural light by shooting the first two hours after the sun comes up in the morning and the last two hours of the day before the sun sets. You should easily be able to photograph a family in under two hours. Try for under one hour if there are small children involved.

Wardrobe Selection

While many people have their own ideas of what they want to wear for their photographs, many will turn to you for suggestions. Start by recommending that not everyone wear the same color. Then, recommend that families avoid wearing shirts with logos or writing. If you get a chance, recommend that they limit the different textures in clothing to one or two for everyone. Have people wear a classic outfit to the photoshoot and bring a casual one along.


When you are communicating with the family find out what they love to do so that you can incorporate those items into the photoshoot. It is a great way to put people at ease allowing you to become a photojournalist. If people love to play sports, throw a football into the car on your way or if they are an angler suggest that they bring a fishing rod along. If elderly members or pregnant women will be in the photo, bring along a lawn chair.


Many photographers choose to work from a studio, but if you do not have one, then suggest some favorite locations based on the family’s interests. Try to pick an area that has a large shaded area and an open area. The family may have suggestions, but check them out before agreeing to shoot there.


The best family photos are usually captured with a 24-70 millimeter full-frame lens because it offers little distortion. Try using ISO settings ranging from 100 to 1600 for the best results. Position everyone close to each other and in a single line when possible.

You can easily take family photos by following these tips. Start by communicating with the family and choosing the right time of day. One classic and one casual change of clothes gives everyone a variety of looks. Choose a location based on the family’s interests. Keep everyone close together in a straight line.