Tips For Taking Family Photos

You’d think by now we’d be experts on taking family photos. Every other week we shoot family content for Salty Lashes and I’ll fully admit there are shoots that don’t go so well. Meltdowns, arguing, bribery, it happens, especially for family photos.

There are so many aspects that go into taking family pictures. Where do you take them? Who do you hire? What do you wear? How do you get your children to behave and enjoy them?

I am going to share all my best tips on the ins and outs of family photos!

Tips For Taking Family Photos

Tip #1:

Finding A Photographer

This is one of the most important parts of family pictures. Your photographer is going to be capturing your family in the best way! They need to be someone you trust, and who can help you create the vision you have for your pictures! While shopping around, find someone who has some of the following:

  1. Experience working with young kids. If you have young kids, it is so important to hire a photographer who can grab kids’ attention, make them laugh/smile and make the photographer session more enjoyable for them!
  2. Has an eye for detail. With all the mayhem going on in family pictures, you need someone who has an eye for detail and can catch things that need to be fixed, like a fly away strand of hair or food in someone’s teeth.
  3. A photographer who has an editing style you will love! A photographer’s editing style is important to pay attention to. If these pictures will be hung in your home, what kind of editing style would fit best? Warmer or Cooler? Formal or Fun?

Here are a few photographers we love and/or have used in Arizona/California:

Arielle Levy – she is our #1 and responsible for all the day to day images shows on Salty Lashes. We love her so so much! Find Arielle HERE 

Ben Christensen – Ben shot our wedding and is the best person to shoot family, especially kids. He is incredibly talented and based in AZ, but travels to shoot. Find Ben HERE

Ty French – if you want to laugh and lighten the mood for everyone + get great photos, you’ll love Ty! Currently based in LA and travels to shoot. Find Ty HERE

Mike and Kelsey Cowley – This dream team shoots weddings and family with the most timeless esthetic. Based in Orange County, California and travel for shoots. Find them HERE

Elli Owens – Elli shot my SIL engagement photos, they are stunning. She’s young and fun, with a great eye! Based in Arizona. Find Elli HERE

Jaci Smith – I’m sure if Jaci shoots family photos right now because she is crazy busy with blogging, but if so, you’ll LOVE HER! She is the coolest. Based in California. Find Jaci HERE

Tip #2:

What To Wear

Once you’ve hired a photographer, it’s time to find outfits for your family to wear. Again, search for clothes that will match the editing style of the photographer. If the photographer edits with more cool tones, it might be best to have your family wear lighter, pastels. If your photographer edits with more warm tones, dark colors and denims may be best!

Most important tip for this: DON’T OVERTHINK IT!! I don’t like my family to be TOO matchy, matchy. I usually set the tone of the outfits with what I am wearing first, then start putting together outfits for the girls and Jeff. Why do I pick mine first? Honestly I am the pickiest so it’s better to get mine figured out first, then build off of  what I will wear. Men/boys are typically the easiest. They like simple.  I let the girls help pick things out. Usually, I find something they really want to buy and then build outfits for them based on what I am wearing. I want them to feel included and have them show their personal style. It’ll only make the family picture experience more difficult if kids are wearing something they hate or are uncomfortable in.

Another important key to finding outfits is mixing things up. If one person is wearing plaid, don’t have EVERYONE wear plaid. Boys can wear variations of button-ups, solid t-shirts, golf tees or a jacket! Girls can wear dresses, skirts, a blouse and jeans or a cute jumper/romper.

Tip #3:

How To Prepare

If your kids aren’t used to posing for pictures, family pictures may come as a shock to them. It’s best to prepare with backup snacks, WATER and maybe let them bring something they love! They could even incorporate that item into one of their individual pictures as well.

Plan something fun to do as a family AFTER pictures! Plan to go to the movies or to grab ice cream! This way, kids know if they smile and behave for just a little bit, fun will be coming! Basically incentives aka bribes work! 🙂 

Tip #4:

Finding A Location

Most photographers have a pretty good idea of locations to shoot at! Contact your photographer and let them know what you’re looking for! Desert shoots look awesome when edited with warmer tones! Beach locations and In-home locations make a great place to shoot when editing with cooler tones!

Another location to consider is in your own home! You can really capture the essence of the family and children when they are around an atmosphere they know and love! They wont feel so out of place!

Tip #5:

Stay Calm Through The Craziness

It can be so easy to get flustered and frustrated when family pictures aren’t going the way you planned. Kids get fussy, husbands get bored and you may just want to pull your hair out. But if mom freaks out, it may just cause a meltdown between everyone! Stay calm. Remind everyone of the fun plans after pictures! And remember, there’s always family pictures for next year! Some of my favorite photos are the most candid. Don’t stress. 

There are probably so many other great tips for taking family pictures out there. These 5 are the ones that keep me sane and always give me the best results! Family pictures are so fun to look back on year after year, it’s amazing to see the way your family has grown! 


HOLIDAY FAMILY PHOTOS OVER THE PAST 5 YEARS tips for taking family photos - salty lashes Lisa allen's family tips for taking family photos - lisa allen tips for taking family photos

I am all over the place this year on what we will wear. Here is links to several pieces I have my eye on for myself. Like I said, I tend to pick mine first, then build everyone else. I’ve tried selecting kids first and it was more stressful finding something I loved for me. Do what works best for you.