5 Tips to Take Your Own Family Photos plus a Peek at Ours - Pretty Real

5 Tips to Take Your Own Family Photos plus a Peek at Ours

2:58 PM

DIY family photos
Last year I took our family photos.  It was my second time taking them myself (the first was for our pregnancy announcement) so after a couple of semi-successful shoots, I want to share some things I've learned along the way. You might be asking why one would even consider DIY family photos.  Obviously it's not ideal.  But if any of these reasons apply to you, you might consider it!
DIY family photos

1- You are low on cash. Have you hired a good photographer lately?  They are expensive! I'll be the first to say it's worth it, but if you can't afford $300 and up (way up) on family photos, I feel ya.

2- Your children are animals.  I'm not saying I have personal experience with this one.  Wink.  Sometimes if you do it yourself, you take the pressure off and everyone is relaxed and better behaved.

3-  Your schedule is crazy.  Photographers' schedules fill up quickly during peak seasons. If it's hard to pin down a date to book a photographer in advance and you find yourself putting it off year after year, you might want to DIY it.

4- You just moved to a new area and haven't found a photographer yet.  This one is pretty specific to me, but worth mentioning. I'm too picky to hire just anybody and was running out of good weather.

DIY family photos

So you've decided to try it.  Now what?
DIY Family photos

1. Choose location and time of day.
Look for a couple of things: 1. somewhere scenic without a lot of buildings, cars, or people to work around and 2. An area that has various backgrounds--for example, a park with trees, a trail, and a pond. Many people assume that bright sun is best.  But it's uncomfortable and results in shadows, harsh light, and squinting. Cloudy bright days are ideal but if it's going to be a sunny day, evening works best. Pay attention to the light in the days leading up to your shoot if you're unsure.
DIY family photos

2. Decide on wardrobe.
If you don't want your photos to look like a regular 'ol snapshot, put a little effort in here.  Since I was saving cash on hiring a photographer I splurged a little and bought us new duds. Often if you shop within one store you can find similar looks/colors in the various departments. Feel free to peruse Pinterest and copy something fun you see there.
DIY family photos

3. Speaking of Pinterest: Do some research.
Unless you're a natural, I recommend getting a few pose ideas from photographers' websites or Pinterest and jotting them down. On the flip side don't get stuck trying to copy something and miss moments or keep trying for a pose that's not working, losing valuable time.
DIY family photos

4. Make sure you have a tripod and a helper.
I brought my mom along to help for these family photos. If you have multiple kiddos to wrangle, it's nice to have an extra set of hands. I used my tripod to take the pictures while grandma helped elicit smiles, swap out accessories, or take kiddos to the bathroom.
DIY family photos

5. Get the money shot first.
This is something I failed to do last time. I got caught up in the moment and started taking different arrangements before I got to our family photo. As a result of that and Dax shenanigans-- you guys. he broke my tripod! -- I was losing light big time by the time I took our photo and while it's cute, the quality isn't good enough for an enlargement. Learn from my mistake.  I made sure to get this money shot first thing when I took our announcement photos.
DIY family photos

Real moment: playing mom and photographer was tough.  I think it will get easier in a few years but with a 1, 4, and 5 year old...  Ouch.  I can also be a bit of a perfectionist (except for where laundry is concerned because 5 loads. waiting to be folded. Sitting at the top of the stairs right now.), so I get stressed trying to get the perfect shot. But at the end of the day, I got some pretty great images and paid zero dollars for them which is pretty sweet and made up for the craziness!
DIY family photos

In case you're curious, here are the items I used (affiliate links included):
Remote (Similar.  I couldn't get mine to sync with my camera but I hear it's so awesome compared to using the self timer and plan to purchase this linked one to try)

Would you ever try this?  Do you have a favorite photographer you use?  Do you take annual family portraits? I'd love to hear your story!

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  1. These are great- and what a beautiful family!

    The crazy is part of the fun, I think-- you'll look back at these pictures and remember the personality of those wild little ones!

    1. I hope so! In the moment, I'm just seeing the "wild" part! ha!

  2. Awesome tips and I couldn't agree with you more. I have yet to get a tripod so we can take family pics that actually look like something other than selfies. I'll get around to it eventually.

    And I absolutely love the pic with your son walking and your daughter in the background. So adorable!

    You have a beautiful family.

    1. Even family selfies can be cute!! thanks so much Carla!