Capturing holiday-card-worthy family pictures can be about as challenging as getting your first grader to let you pull that tooth that’s hanging on by just a thread. Fortunately, if you’re willing to work with the kids and take some measures to better get them to cooperate, this year’s family photo shoot might just go as planned. Here are six tips to help you out:
1. Be willing to compromise on your family picture ideas. Know which pictures you want to get, but allow the photo shoot to progress naturally and go with the flow. If there’s one pose that you must have, try to do it first when you’re chances of a 100% cooperation rate are highest.
2. Choose a kid-friendly time… As best you can, schedule family picture day on one that has no other obligations and at a time that works well with your kids’ routines and moods. Right after breakfast or afternoon naptime is often a good time for families with young children.
3.But schedule early or late for optimal lighting conditions. If you’re doing the photo shoot outdoors, right around sunset and sundown are best since the harsh rays of the sun aren’t overhead. You might want to juggle the family’s normal routine a bit by having an early dinner followed by showers and picture prep before an 8 pm photo session.
4. Dress naturally. When deciding what to wear for family pictures, go with what everyone feels comfortable in rather than insisting everyone wear the matching snowman sweaters that Aunt Ida knit. For the most authentic photos that capture the true personality of your family, avoid anything that’s too matchy-matchy…like those sweaters. Opt for everyone wearing jeans and a top that’s either a solid red or a print that’s mostly red. You’ll be color coordinated, but the attention will be on your faces, not the fact that you’re all wearing plaid sweater vests.
5. Aim for genuine smiles. Ban the word “cheese” from the day’s vocabulary so that you don’t end up with dozens of staged smiles. Have some jokes on hand, tickle the little people and just have fun and be silly so that your loved ones get to see the kids’ “everyday smiles,” not just fake ones.
6. Stand close together. Photos where everyone is closely grouped look better than those where people are spread out, since they show the closeness and love of the family. Let your kids pile up on your laps and have larger groups stand shoulder to shoulder so that there aren’t big gaps between people.