5 Tips for Taking the Perfect Family Photo

I’m obsessed with pictures to point of complete and utter torture to those closest to me. I just removed almost two thousand pictures from my iPhone. Two main reasons come to mind for my picture taking obsession. First, I’m a storyteller at heart. I love capturing the stories in my life. I find beauty in the mundane of our stories. Second, I don’t have many pictures from my childhood and I absolutely hate that. I remember taking or having pictures at some point, but life happened and before I knew it I couldn’t find any. I’m determined to change that. My family is for the most part supportive and whenever I request a family photo session they jump on board with little to no fuss. By family I mean my two younger sisters (Nikki and Nidine), my younger brother (Ninon), my mom (Bernadine), my cousin (Shauna), and my cousin (Genel). Yes, I am the oldest. Yes, we all have 'Ni' names. Thanks, mom. We are extremely close, not just my immediate family but my entire extended family. I don't know who I am without them. Family over EVERYTHING!

Back to the family photos...

While taking family photos can be fun and exciting, they can also be stressful and chaotic. It’s important to do a little research, have a plan and execute. A few months ago, I planned a pregnancy shoot for my cousin. I thought it was a great opportunity to also take a new family photo. The following five steps ensured the resulting pictures you see below:

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1. Get Your Family Excited There are few things worse than a disgruntled family member in a family photo. You know...the one that looks like they'd rather be anywhere but there. It's always a tough job to get all of your family members on the same page, but their enthusiasm for the session will make all the difference in the final product. Try your best at making it a fun and enjoyable time for all.

2. Pick A Theme One way to help create some excitement is to pick a theme. A family photo should look cohesive. That doesn’t mean that your family has to match, but you don’t want a photo with someone dressed in a ball gown and another in jeans and a t-shirt. There should be at least one element that ties everything together. That element could be a color story, an occasion, a piece of clothing or full on time period theme. You know your family best. Make the best choice for your family. Because, my cousin was pregnant, I went a goddess theme. I requested nude dresses and headbands. The theme really sets the tone for the next tip. Location.

3. Pick a location You want to pick a location that works with your theme. There is something fun and creative about choosing a contrasting location but for the most part go with a location that suits your theme. We did this shoot in the middle of the winter. Our living room was the best and most affordable option. Our photographer brought all of her equipment and transformed our living room into a studio. Those of you who live in warmer climates can definitely find a wonderful outdoor location any time of year. My family has taken photos at local parks, museums, and the beach. There are many options.

4. Find a Photographer I'm blessed to have two wonderful photographers that I work with on projects for the site. For this shoot, I asked Amy of the Hendy Image to take our photo. She is more like a family friend than a photographer. If you don't have a close relationship with a photographer, do your research. Photographers are always looking for work. You can find a local photographer with a quick google search. Also, ask around for recommendations. The right photographer is essential to the next tip!

5. Have Fun The right photographer will make your family comfortable enough to have fun. We turned up the soca music. We sang. We danced. We had fun with it! I guarantee you the happiness will flow through the photo.