6 Tips for Photographing Your Whole Family

photographing your whole family

Since 2020 is the year we all stay home, I know there’s a lot of families who decided not to do professional family photos this year. That doesn’t make the pictures or memories less important. But it does mean you might have to get a bit creative when it comes to photographing your whole family.

She may not have be a delicate squishy newborn we anxiously waited to meet for 9 impatient months. However, Miss Penny earned her way into our hearts in a very short period of time and quickly become an integral member of the family.

Although I made a conscious effort to document and photograph Brielle and Penny bonding those initial few weeks, we hadn’t had a chance to attempt an updated family photo between work schedules, school schedules, obedience trainings, errands, and everything else.When I began my photography journey I used to dream about the money I would save by taking our own family photos. But as any mom will attest, this is easier said than done. By promoting ourselves to family photographer, we ultimately don’t end up in any photos.

If we do try to arrange a family portrait session, the process is always much more complicated then we anticipate and takes much more time and energy than we expect, leaving the entire family grumpy and overwhelmed. Not the ideal feelings and emotions we want our portraits to convey.

This week I was determined to do the hard work and get a few family photos (with the DSLR camera) of our ‘growing’ family.  Our session from start to finished lasted about 5 minutes before the kid, dog, and husband started to getting annoyed. Many of the photos turned out like this one here.photographing the whole familyI also sadly realized after the shoot was over that my ISO was set WAY to high (2000) and my Aperture was too low (f 2.8) to get everyone in focus in every shot.

(No idea what these terms mean? You can learn with Momtography®!)

But I  had to remind myself….even in a sea of photography mishaps that my perfectionist self would like to do over, we got a few winners as well.photograph your whole family

We may never blow these images up huge and hang them on our walls, but these photos are the perfect snapshot of our family, our WHOLE family.

6 Tips for Photographing Your Whole Family

photo of the whole family

With a bit of prior planning and patience photographing your whole family photo sessions is possible to achieve without hiring a professional. However, I recommend using a few of these tips from my bag of tricks to make ’em as successful as possible.

1) Photograph your family in a familiar space

Plan to take photos of your whole family in a space that they know well. It will make your kids feel more at ease, and you’ll already know what to expect from the light and exposure when you bring your camera into the mix.

2) Eliminate distractions from your photographs

If you’re working inside try to keep toys, TV, games, etc…put away during photo time. If you decide to photograph outside choose a location away from the local playground or park.

3) Have the right equipment for photographing your whole family

The right lens, tripod, and remote will make taking family photos a lot less stressful! For the room we worked in, I needed a wide angle lens at about 24mm to fit us all into the space the way I wanted.  A tripod and remote allowed me to sit comfortably with my family instead of getting up and down to set a timer between shots.

4) Take practice photos

It’s so important to put some prior thought and practice into these photos. For our shoot I set up my camera on the tripod the night before our photos. In the morning I tested the light and used Brielle and Penny as stand into to check my focus and exposure before we got everyone else into the frame for the ‘real deal’.

5) Act natural in your family photos

Think of things to say and do before you sit down to take photos. You don’t have to all be looking at the camera for all the shots. Have a tickle fight, read a book together, or figure out who has the stinkiest feet. Whatever is fun for your family and keeps everyone calm and laughing is the best!

6) Let the kids help with your family photos

Get the kids involved in helping you plan. Let them help you find the perfectly lit room, have them strike a pose while you set your exposure, or let them help you think of things to do or wear. They’ll be more invested in being a part of the shoot if you make them a part of the planning process too.


When in doubt there’s always my bonus tip of BRIBERY. At the end of this shoot Brielle was rewarded with a piece of chocolate, the dog was rewarded with some yummy treats, and the husband was rewarded with some kid free time outdoors. Whatever works to photograph your whole family, yes?

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