How to Take Family Portraits and Family Group Pictures

Go Outside

Take your standard group family photo first with everybody arranged in rows. If sunny, position the group so the sun is lighting their faces. If cloudy, no special care is needed. Then get creative with your posing and props.

Use a car, a tree, or a picnic bench as a prop for arranging your family group portrait.

Take portraits while having the group strike up varied poses: some family members looking directly at the camera, others looking at the first group; some standing, some holding hands.

Create two or three different small arrangements within the bigger family portrait. One or two loose triangles of three people each looks nice.

Use a plain background that doesn't distract from the group. When taking a family photo, hold the camera at the person's eye level to capture those captivating eyes and beaming smiles. For children, that means crouching to their level. Family members don't need to stare at the lens. The angle of the camera will create a feeling that pulls you into
the picture.


Arrangement of indoor group pictures will be based on using a flash. Its limited range also limits your creativity.

Keep the group inside the maximum flash
distance range.
Position the group so they are no more than two rows deep.

Self Portraits

Make sure you know how to use your camera's self timer. Or use your camera's close-up mode. Simply hold the camera and point it back at yourself.

If your camera has a zoom lens, use its
wide-angle portion.

Be playful with the environment you photograph yourself in. In the car, at work, at the dinner table, twittering on the phone, or petting the cat. Remember you are creating memories to share with family members.

Decide what you want to say about yourself: serious, playful, introspective, or lonely.

Semi-formal family portraits

Good family portraits seldom happen all by themselves. They take planning. Even casual-looking family pictures are often planned. The hallmark of a family portrait is that you take control and leave little to chance. Will a portrait simply be a flattering likeness or a glimpse into your family's personality?

Buy a tripod to make sure that your image is not tilted.

Use soft lighting (such as cloudy day or indirect window light) to show your family in a flattering way.

Keep the background simple, but add a prop, make it relevant to the portrayal of your family.

Move in take an above-the-waist or make it just headshot.

Position your camera at or slightly below your subject's eye level.

Pay particular attention to the position of hands and the angle of the head. In a portrait, hands and head can easily look awkward.


Remember the FamilyCrossings family website that you are creating is for your family. Images that you upload can remain securely online for many years. With our exclusive Crossings you can add location links, cloud tags and search description. Don't forget to include the names of everyone in those family portraits and family group pictures.