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5 Family Photo Session Fails to Avoid

If you’re able to get your whole family together at one time, in one place for a family photo session, you might as well make the most of it. We know how hard it can be to coordinate any group of people, especially when asking them to smile in front of a camera, so we put together this family photo session fail list to help you avoid the common mistakes families make when planning their session. Avoid these fails and you’ll end up with family photos you’ll want to show off (and you won’t have to worry about making the next family photo joke book).

Fail #1: Not planning for your location

Choosing a location for your family photo session should be one of the first steps when planning for your photo shoot since everything revolves around it. If you want to be outside, you’ll need to find out what time of day works best for the location you have in mind.

Choosing your setting also helps you determine what style and colors to wear. Cocktail attire at the beach would be an unusual combination (but if you’re family is looking for something different it could be fun!). Generally, you want to wear what is natural for your environment. Also think about travel logistics, how many vehicles you need, and where you are meeting your photographer.

Fail #2: Busy Patterns

What’s more important – your family or what they’re wearing? Busy patterns draw attention away from people’s faces and are even more distracting when multiple family members have conflicting styles. Your clothes should not make a statement on their own, but rather compliment the people wearing them.

It’s generally best to stick to solid colors. If you have a favorite pattern, however, there are tricks to incorporating it, but work with your photographer to find the right balance. This rule also applies to logos on shirts – don’t let your son wear his favorite band’s t-shirt just because the shirt color matches.

family photos in winter

It might sound impossible to get your whole family to match, but it’s easier than you think! Choose a color everyone can enjoy and give room for flexibility, allowing family members to select different shades or tones. Neutral colors are an easy choice and create a seamless, classic look, such as navy blue, tan, or white. If your family is a little more bold, try choosing a richer color to match your style. A deep red would be a great choice in the fall to create a dramatic contrast to the changing foliage.

It’s a good idea to check out what your family members have chosen to wear beforehand so no one shows up on photo day wearing purple when you said to wear blue (especially those husbands!).

Fail #4: Wrinkled Clothes

Wrinkled clothes are not easily fixed in post-production and steal the eye’s attention. The easiest way to avoid them is by encouraging everyone to lay out their clothes the night before. This way, if the shirt you were planning to wear has been on the floor in the back of your closet, you have plenty of time to iron it. It’s also a good idea to try that shirt on beforehand to make sure it was everything you remembered it to be.

family photo at park

Fail #5: Not having fun

You can have fun getting photographed? Absolutely! There are so many ways to make this an enjoyable experience for everyone. But first it starts with your attitude. If you voice your dread at having your photo taken, it will be easy for family members to agree. Instead, involve your family in your planning for the session and they will become invested in the experience.

One of the best ways to enjoy your family photo session is by making the session unique to your family. Bring items that represent what you enjoy doing together, such as bikes or board games, or choose locations you love to visit. Look up non-traditional types of shots that would be fun for your family to try, such as playing in the leaves or jumping in the air – it doesn’t hurt to see what you get!

And of course, every family photo session should end with a treat! Pizza, ice cream, bowling – choose an activity that everyone will look forward to enjoying after the session. This can go a long way in getting everyone to have extra patience and fantastic smiles.

Family Photo Success

family photo in studio

Avoiding these five family photo session fails will help your family look great, enjoy the photography experience (and leave smiling!) and give you amazing photographs that will remind you of the fun day you spent together.

For even more tips about the dos and don’ts of a family photo session, request our Family Portrait Guide. You’ll also find advice about what to wear for different male and female body types and how to dress for your skin tone. Make your family photo session planning easier and more effective by following these simple guidelines.

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