Snapping a family portrait on your own is not as easy as it sounds. From clashing outfits to restless kids, we have seen it all at Michael Broyles Photography and can safely say that an opportunity to capture a priceless moment can quickly turn into a headache for the photographer (not to mention the portrait’s subjects). However, with knowledge and advanced prep it is possible to snap a family portrait that is memorable for all of the right reasons. Here are three common challenges and how you can overcome them for a great shot every time.


Deconstructing the Dress Code

Coordinating outfits work best when taking any type of group portrait. This can be a challenge for families with young children, especially if one child insists on wearing his or her favorite t-shirt or shade of neon green. To avoid last minute tears and frustration, hash out the color scheme and style well in advance of the photo shoot. Everyone will have a chance to weigh in on their choice of outfit, as well as have plenty of time to prepare. When choosing outfits, stay away from patterns, loud colors, and logos and plan on wearing solid, coordinating colors that flatter your complexion.


Striking a Pose

So, you have managed to gather everyone together for the portrait…now what? Posing for a picture can be harder than you think, especially for a group portrait. If done incorrectly, faces get hidden, people’s “flaws” become more noticeable, and posture can come across as unnatural. You want a family portrait that is relaxed, casual, and shows that you are truly a family, just like the photo above. Here are some tips to help you pull off some great poses:

  • Get close…really close. Having your family gather in tightly makes a big difference in a picture’s overall tone. It conveys warmth and closeness, the essence of a family.
  • Play around with height. Use some props, like chairs or stools, to encourage some family members to sit instead of stand for the portrait. The varied heights add visual interest and prevent faces from getting obscured, as well as having to resort to everyone standing in a straight line.
  • Act natural. Everyone bends at least a body part or two when they are standing or sitting…it just comes naturally. So it should come as no surprise that asking someone to “stand or sit straight” is going to come across as stiff or rigid in your picture. Instead, get those who are standing to shift their weight to one foot and stick out their hip, or if they are sitting to lean forward a bit. Even subtle gestures, like hooking a finger through a belt hoop or sticking a hand (thumb out) in a pocket, lend authenticity to a pose.
  • Flattery never hurts. Everyone has a body part or some aspect of themselves they do not like. Work with each person to find an angle or a pose that makes them feel comfortable so that they can be proud of the final shot.


Keeping your Family Engaged

Taking a worthwhile portrait is a process and keeping everyone engaged, especially young children, can test your patience. And you always seem to have one person who will not smile, no matter what. Instead of obsessing over the “perfect shot,” have some fun with your family and the camera. Strike goofy poses, have children include a favorite stuffed animal or toy, catch a few action shots (e.g., running, jumping). While a formal portrait is always a nice memory to cherish, it is these types of moments that really define who you are as a family.


Taking your own family portraits is a great way to capture lasting memories while saving a few dollars. However, there are times when you want to turn to a professional photographer to do the job instead. Michael Broyles Photography specializes in capturing family portraits, and we will work with your family to create a portrait worthy of passing down to future generations. Treat your family to a photo session in February and take advantage of our Sweetheart of a Deal. You will receive a leather wrap photo album with eight prints for $150. Contact us today for your free consultation.