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Family Portrait Photography

Posted by on November 25, 2009

It’s nearly time to start sending this years Christmas cards to family and friends. It can be difficult to find the right card, so why not use a family portrait on your own styled Christmas card?

Here are some tips to create your personal family portrait, that is a little different from the standard pose.

First, make sure you think about a theme for this years card. With this I mean the clothes you and the rest of your family will wear. You can choose for a formal look, with everyone in suit / dress, with the parents seated at the centre of the photo and the children either standing behind or sitting on the lap. Make sure you have an appropriate background, one that keeps the focus of the picture on you and your family. Keep the lighting a bit subdued.

Traditional family portrait from 1895

Traditional family portrait from 1895

This is of course a very classic and well known pose, but maybe you and your family want to be a bit more creative. For example if you all like to play sports, dress up in your outfits and pose appropriately for the camera. Make sure you have the right setting and props to get the full effect.

If you like to keep it a more formal picture, but want something different, you can choose to colour coordinate your clothes. Take a colour, for example orange, and get everyone dressed up in this colour. Choose a background that will emphasise the colour even more, either by contrast or complementing it.

Why not let everyone think about a theme for this years picture? Then you can vote as a family for the best idea. Or, if you can’t decide, write the theme on a piece of paper, drop this in a hat, and pull out one piece with this years winning theme.


Second, make as many photos as possible, from different angels and with different compositions of the family members. Digital photography lets you take many pictures, without having to have to develop the negatives to choose the best one. Some digital cameras have a setting to shoot several shots after each other, on a timer. This also gives you the option to directly look at the results and make small changes. It might not be the first pose that gets you the perfect composition, so experiment. Always keep a lookout for that one family member that has their eyes closed!

Finally, find someone to take the photographs. You can of course choose for a professional photographer and work with him / her to get the right family photo. You can always ask a neighbour, friend or other family member to help in taking the pictures. If you have a local college or university, you might be able to find some photography students that would enjoy the opportunity to take a picture you can cherish. Although your aim is to have the picture printed on a card, the photo can in itself be a great family momento, worth having in a frame on the wall.

Family watching television 1958

Family watching television 1958

If you don’t have the time this year to make the pictures in time to send, why not use the opportunity of this years holiday season to take them for next year. Even if you do not want to send them, use the opportunity of having all family together to make that special, creative and fun picture that you can proudly display for all to see, well into the future.

2 Responses to Family Portrait Photography

  1. Otto Hessian

    Nice topic – respect !

  2. Mike H

    Thanks for the article. My moms 75th birthday surprise will be a family portrait with as many of us as we can squeeze in. You really opened my eyes on what is available. Thank you!

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