How to Take your Own Family Pictures

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This time of year is the busiest for Taking Family pictures, and I know I personally get excited at the idea of picking outfits, deciding on a location, and dreaming about how I’m going to display the pictures in my home. So today I’m going to talk ALL about those topics. I asked a few blogger friends if they’d allow me to post on their site for a little blog hop all about tips for Taking Family Pictures. Scroll to the bottom to HOP!

I live in this dichotomous world in my head.  I’ve always been an uber thrifty DIY gal, who loves to shop garage sales. However, I’m also a professional photographer who charges according to my expertise, which aren’t necessarily garage sale prices.  I think that every 2-3 years, investing in a professional photographer is ideal. There are many price ranges out there, and with a little research, with a little research, you can find someone in your area that meets your needs. I also know that taking Family Pictures just isn’t in the budget each year for most people, so I’m going to share some tips on How to Take your Own Family Pictures.

How to Take your own Family Pictures

{Image of my taken by my friend Jennifer Polson, more of me from my Birthday Shoot HERE}

For many years, I took our family pictures. Now, I’m blessed to have a handful of photographer friends that we trade services. {FYI–Lots of photographers are up for trades, so if you have a skill, offer it up. I personally love to have meals brought to me as a trade from friends–it doesn’t have to be an expertise!}

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think it’s more important to have the time in your life captured…than making sure it’s captured professionally. I want to cry when I hear that some families have never had an official family photo, and so many moms just don’t get in pictures at all with their families. I’m here to offer some advice on how you can get it done this year–promise me if it hasn’t happened for a while, that it will happen for you this year!

Use a Tripod

Ok, this isn’t a novel idea, but I use this a lot (even still) and think it’s worth the small investment for the random times it’s used.  I have this one with a bag carrier, found on Amazon for $14.99. It’s a handy tool for years to come.  Many times I’ve set my tripod up, and RUN into the picture. The toughest part about this method is making sure all the kids look in the right direction, and not at you running back.

~~If you have a remote, you can snap a few shots in a row, instead of running, but the distance is limited.

~~You can also tape a stuffed animal or something else on top of the camera to encourage the kids to look at that object. In the family photo below in 2008, I set up the tripod and camera on a trail near our home….and ran in (fun little fact: I was expecting #4).

Tripod Family Picture

{More pictures of this session HERE, a friend came later and took a few more}

Last summer at my extended family reunion on the beach, I went into it knowing I was going to have to figure something out. I decided to find a kind soul nearby on the beach, and ask for a big favor. I set up the entire family, got the tripod/camera in place, then nervously looked around. I thought to myself, “who is the lucky person that I will pluck from their family fun to do me a favor?” There was a nice lady not too far from us, who was in her chair reading a book. I went up to her and asked if she’d mind snapping a few for us. The reason I didn’t do the running thing this time is because there were so many of us, I needed her to just snap 30 in a row to make sure we were all looking. I said that, too. Just take a bunch in one minute, then you’re done!

Below is a collage of 3 images taken that day, and I’m in all three. The first, the kind lady on the beach took. The second with the trucks, I ran back and forth for a few (didn’t have my remote). The third action shot, I took a bunch of the fam throwing the ball, then my  husband took one of me, and I pasted them together later.

How to take your own family pictures

{More pictures of the beach session HERE}

So it can be done, you just have to work at it a little bit! It’s worth it to me, because I want my life to be documented, too. I want to be in the pictures with my family, not just take them of my kids! See more about that in my push to Capture the Joy in front of the lens.

Click “next” for more ideas, plus a “recipe” for taking your own pictures!

CapturingJoyArrowNEXT

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Comments

  1. Yours! Obviously 🙂

  2. I found your post to be informative. Crossing my fingers I win your book.

  3. We always use a tripod to take our family pictures – I’m going to try your settings this year!

  4. The tripod tip and also loved the idea of bartering. I do that with people but have not done it with someone to take our family pictures.

  5. Loved your “Secret Recipe”

  6. I like the post on your blog, about taking your own family photos.
    I’ve toyed with this before, and I really need to do it more often!
    Thankfully, a photographer friend of mine did our photos this year, but we did go out to get an extra one on our own- my hubby took it with my instructions 😉

  7. I really liked your post about photography settings. I finally got my first DSLR this month and am excited to shoot Christmas card photos of my son and some friends’ kids. But, I have no idea where we should go! That post gave me a lot of good ideas. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the great tips! Blessings!

  9. ashlee myles says:

    I love following your blogs. I am in the 2nd year of my photog business and have learned a lot from you!
    Thanks!

  10. Well, I haven’t read all of them yet since it is way past my bedtime, but I found yours very helpful. 🙂 We just had family pictures taken by a good friend of mine. We hadn’t had them done in about 4 years!

  11. Yours – of course! I have been slowly learning over the last couple of years, but always find it helpful when someone just says – set your settings at…. Thanks for the suggestions!

  12. Leah Henderson says:

    Tripod. always a must!

  13. Jill Sunshine says:

    Love this post! Also loving your what to wear for photo sessions! Thanks so much for all you do.

  14. Alicia Bliss says:

    I love your post! I love the idea of taking your own family photos! I will defiantly be setting up the tripod this fall and snapping my own family pictures! Can’t wait!

  15. Getting off auto, I love the suggested settings.

  16. Sorry to have to bring tears to your eyes, but we are one of the families you described. We’ve been married eight years and have four kiddos and have never had professional pictures taken, no NB baby pics, no pics of my home births nothing! That is SAD, I think I might just cry too :'(
    We don’t have a fancy camera, only a point and shoot Sony digital camera but it has a few manual settings! I will make use of your tips and hope to have beautiful pics of my sweet family soon. And thanks for this giveaway 🙂 – Ana

  17. All of your tips are great! But I especially liked the clothing suggestions. I struggle with that the most. I’ve been using my DSLR camera for 3 years now and I finally am comfortable shooting in manual mode (instead of Program or AV). So, with all of your tips, I will have a decent family photo to send out for Christmas! I am especially excited since we have a new addition to our family this year and she’ll be so cute dressed alike with her older sister! 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. The manual mode section was most helpful! I am new to manual (I’ve been using Aperture) and it’s already been awesome, but with family pictures I needed a few tips. So thanks!!

  19. MaryAnn Sapp says:

    The post I found helpful and really enjoyed in the blog hop was “what to wear in family pictures”. I always have trouble with that, so it was wonderful reading all the different ideas and tips!! 🙂

  20. I like the quilt in the air/ like the parachute at the library– fun idea.

  21. Thanks for this great giveaway! I desperately need this.

  22. Love Say No to Auto! I only shoot on manual, thanks to you! I have tried doing a quick tutorial for manual and ended up with mostly blurry pictures 🙁 So now I just turn the camera to auto and hand it to someone else so I can be in a few pictures.

  23. Miranda Smith says:

    Loved your tips on taking your own family photos! I always find it hard to get the one you want!!!

  24. Thank you so much for always sharing such great tips! Hoping I win;)

  25. The secret recipe. I’m going to try it out on my grandson.

  26. I loved your post. Great tips for me to remember and use for our next family picture. It has been 2 years since our last one. I need to just take our picture.

  27. I am getting family photos taken next month so Ai really enjoyed your suggestions for dressing for a shoot, thanks!

  28. Thank you so much this was so helpful, it could not have come at a better time!

  29. I follow your blog and love your ideas and shoots.
    I really liked the post about what to wear for a photo shoot. It’s amazing how much the photo captures the essence of each and everyone on the picture.

    I will definitely try this on my next family shoot. 🙂

  30. I liked the what to wear post. I will use it as a reference for sure!

  31. I found your secret formula helpful. I tend to depend on auto too much because I don’t have time to figure out the settings. Thanks for the chance to win your book.

  32. I am a beginner photographer. I really like two of your posts… what to wear and the tripod. Great ideas. I’ll be trying them out soon for a family photo shoot in the fall leaves!!

  33. Just discovered your blog and LOVING it!! I’ve learned so many photography tips already, so THANK YOU for that! 😀

    I had a question regarding PhotoShop that I was hoping for some insight on though. I’m looking into getting an editing program, specifically for the color pop that you talked about and also for getting rid of unsightly blemishes now and then, organizing, etc. Do you think PhotoShop Elements could do most of what I want with that or would I have to go for the higher levels of photoshop?

    Thanks so much!!! 😀

  34. I really enjoyed all of the blogs in this series – thinking I like this one the best though as it gives me some ideas for fall family pics.

  35. Great ideas and thanks for the give away

  36. Great post!
    I captured our first DIY family picture this August. The kids got a kick out of me running back and forth!
    Will any remote do, or do you recommend one in particular?
    Have a great day!
    Jody

  37. I love the different ideas to use as backgrounds. I have to start keeping my eyes open for an interesting spot!

  38. I liked the “What to Wear” post…

  39. Katie Boscarino says:

    Your blog is always so easy to follow and understand!!

  40. We do the tripod + remote pretty much for all our pictures together, and it works great. All my pregnancy pics (which include the hubbie) were done like this.

    On another note… your oldest son looks exactly like his dad in the first picture!

  41. Ive never had professional photos done, ever. Even my engagements and my wedding pictures were just friends who offered to take some with a decent point and shoot. 5 yrs and 2 kids later and I still don’t have it in me to pay for pictures. I’m also really picky and I hats to have my picture taken so that probably has something to do with it. I take what I can with my DSLR that someone GAVE me and the few tips I pick up along the way. But like you mentioned I’m always behind the lens. These are great tips as far as having a friend help. I do have a tripod and a remote but its getting the 2 yr old and the almost 1 yr old to look AND look happy. Ive considered many times buying your say no to auto book but financially we always seem to be in a rut. Winning a copy would be awesome. And if not, maybe Christmas.

  42. Your tips have been awesome! I’m new to the family picture scene and now looking to do a little photography of my own when I can.

  43. Ive never had professional photos done, ever. Even my engagements and my wedding pictures were just friends who offered to take some with a decent point and shoot. I take what I can with my DSLR that someone GAVE me and the few tips I pick up along the way. But like you mentioned I’m always behind the lens. These are great tips as far as having a friend help. II’ve considered many times buying your say no to auto book but financially we always seem to be in a rut. Winning a copy would be awesome. And if not, maybe Christmas.

  44. I have been wanting to learn to “say no to auto”…maybe this would help me learn

  45. Holy wow! Great stuff! Now if I ever win anything………

  46. I can never seem to get the giveaway part to load…

    Anyway, your tips are great! I pester my family to get full family pictures a couple of times a year (the start of the football season or for our holiday card, or Easter). I even try to get the dogs in there, but that is usually a disaster. Even so, the outtakes are hilarious! I just use the timer on my prosumer point and shoot, so I am running back and forth. At every extended family gathering, I am the one handing off my camera to my sister or my mom or a-n-y-o-n-e to take a quick picture. I think it’s important. When on vacation recently with my husband, I just asked someone, like you did, to take a quick snap.

    My sister’s family never poses for pictures, and I think it’s sad. It’s because both she and her husband don’t like to be in pictures. She always comments on how many family pictures we have. I really don’t have that many, but when you have none, even 3 ina year seems like a lot!

  47. Most helpful post – what to wear. I’m TERRIBLE at that – I either end up way too matchy or too random. There were SUCH helpful tips in there – THANKS!!

  48. So overdue for a family photo. Gotta get out the tripod. Thanks for the inspiration!

  49. Loved you post, I used the tripod to take photos when my hubby and I celebrated our first Christmas, first home etc. but stopped when kids were born and I seem to be the picture taker, it’s really an excuse not to be photographed. Time to use the tripod again and put the WHOLE family in the family photos!!! Thanks

  50. I really enjoyed yours and I also enjoyed The House of Smith’s post about the backgrounds. Hope I win!

  51. I checked out every single post in the blog hop because family pictures every year are my favorite thing to do. The post on clothes and on hanging pictures in the home were definitely my favorite. 🙂 Thank you!

  52. I have been wanting to buy your book since I got my dslr camera a couple years ago. I shoot in manual alot but would love to get better at it.

  53. I loved your post about taking your own photos. We went to a professional this year, but middle child was super uncooperative. Will try our own next year.

  54. I’m so glad I found your site. I have been meaning to try to do some family photos. Thanks for the tips.

  55. Oh yes, the tripod. We did our pics at Death Valley on the salt flats one year with the tripod. We had a bus full of tourists come out to where we were because they thought there was some sort of attraction to see out there. The tripod & things we were doing with our shots brought them out. It was an experience for sure.

  56. Thanks for the tripod suggestion! I’m going to order it today to have in time for our annual autumn trip up north. It’s so true that I’m hardly ever in family photos. Like the idea that anyone can take the pic once set up.

  57. backdrops

    Kristen I always send my families to your What to Wear posts for ideas on how to coordinate and not match 🙂

    I’m celebrating my 3 year blogiversary with a week of giveaways, I hope you can stop by!

  58. Enjoyed all the info you gave us. Read all the articles. Hope to capture my grandkids’s best moments.

  59. We have just scheduled our family pictures! We will have 12 people and are working on our outfits and poses now!

  60. I love you photography! starting out on my own photography adventure as well! Thanks for all the help!

  61. I LOVED the post on what to wear…. looks like I’m gonna go shopping for me first ;o) Thanks for a great group of posted all nicely packaged for easy access!!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      yes, dress you first!! glad you picked up that little nugget from the post;) so glad you like how the series was presented!

  62. The one about what to wear in family pics was super helpful!

  63. Diannalynn Claridge says:

    I am so clueless about shooting on manual. Your book sounds wonderful!

  64. I recently found you website and I love it, especially the post about what to wear in family pictures. I have a question about taking your own family pictures. Could you give more info about how you do the white backdrop (like you used in the santa pictures and snow pictures). What did you use, how did you get it to stay up, etc. I would love to try that but don’t know where to start. Thanks!

  65. I recently found you website and I love it, especially the post about what to wear in family pictures. I have a question about taking your own family pictures. Could you give more info about how you do the white backdrop (like you used in the santa pictures and snow pictures). What did you use, how did you get it to stay up, what do you put on the floor, etc. I would love to try that but don’t know where to start. Thanks!

  66. Love the “secret recipe” for a great outdoor family shot! Thanks!

  67. I really need to get a tripod. And I’m still shooting in auto so I could really use your book, too!!

  68. thank you for all of the fantastic tips! we haven’t had a “professional” family picture done since… well, ever. working on getting something set up for this year!!

  69. Fun! I’ve considered doing our own family pics these past several years, especially for Christmas cards. We haven’t done one in 15 years or so. Once in awhile a friend would get both my husband & I in the same picture. 🙂 I keep thinking “this year we’ll do it….” I enjoyed your posts here on this, esp. the What to Wear! Growing up we always tried to match to some degree in our family photos so I like your ideas to add color & variety all the while sticking to a color scheme & building around a focal piece.

    I do shoot in auto mode 90% of the time. I’m not retaining the basics of settings in manual mode so in a hurry I always resort to auto. I know, practice practice practice, but…. Thanks for your tips on settings to start with. I could use a reference guide! 🙂 Thank you!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Yes, that darn practice principle!! I understand not wanting to mess with the moment, and taking in auto, for sure. Yes, you and your husband need to be in pictures together–do i this year!!

  70. I love getting tips on how to make the family photo session a little less painless. Most in love with what to wear and how to get myself in that daggone picture!!! 🙂

  71. I’ve had a dslr for over a year now and still have no idea how to use it. I would LOVE to have a good set of instructions so I could start taking my own family pictures, it has been way too long.

  72. This post on how to take your own family pics was my fav! We’ve had a pro doing it the past few years but I don’t think it’ll be in the budget next year so these were great tips for me to keep in mind…and to get me into the pictures too!!

  73. I have been looking at getting your book for a long time and haven’t done it. I would love to win one. Thanks for all your tips. I look at your blog whenever I can. I love photography but haven’t ventured to take any classes yet. Your tips have helped so much already. Thank you

  74. I really liked the post on how to dress for pics! By the way, I was so happy to happen upon your blog! I love your Mom and Dad (they are funny and fantastic examples to all who meet them) and saw those awesome primary colors family pictures on R’s blog. She mentioned you have a blog, but never went looking for it. Glad I found you!.

  75. I actually love the What To Wear section and the photo ideas in your post were awe inspiring! I need to get my tripod out to use it for pictures! It would save us some moola!

  76. I’m just starting to do photography on a business level and I always give new clients your link about what to wear. It’s perfect advice!

  77. I like your put up. It is great to see you verbalize from the heart and clarity on this crucial topic can be easily noticed.

  78. I loved the posts on what to wear for family photos and backdrops and settings! I can’t wait to convince hubby that we need new family portraits!

  79. Elizabeth-1997 says:

    I liked “How to Take Family Pictures”.

  80. I enjoyed the post about making photo shoots more enjoyable. I’m usually the photographer, but want to photograph my family this fall so loved the one about taking your own photos as well.

  81. I have followed your blog for a while now and I just love it!! I guess I always felt like I HAD to have a professional doing family photos to get things just right. The idea of even attempting it is my favorite part, and I think I am going to give it a try 🙂 Would be so thankful to win!!!

  82. I love all the tips on how to do your own family photos. I always feel like I HAVE to have a professional do them, which makes for crazy stress and then everyone is uptight and the photos don’t look all that great anyway. Thanks for the chance to win, I would be sure grateful if I did!!!

  83. Use a tripod! Simple, yes – but kind of a “oh, duh!” moment. Also – the pinterest image on this – of the camera being held at an angle. Ok, I know that those contradict themselves, BUT an angled camera probably would make much better lines (since diagonals have better draw/movement/flow) than a basic straight on shot.

  84. favorite tip? Toss up between buy a tripod (duh!) and the manual settings to start with. I really want to find time to learn to use my slr to take better pictures. This year I was distracted with wedding planning (yay!) but maybe next year…

  85. Taking your family’s pictures was the best for me!

  86. This is a great post. Thank you for sharing. I really do need to get a remote and get into more pictures with my family!

  87. The What to wear post really helped me, I’m always so bad at that!

  88. I love the no shooting in Auto…I can’t wait to try!

  89. pretty sure I NEEEEEED this!

  90. Awesome giveaway! Can’t wait to read your book!

  91. I have just started getting interested in photography. I am a serious beginner and would love to learn more from someone who takes such beautiful photos!Thanks for the opportunity!

  92. I just bought a tripod to film my daughters play, but I never thought of using it to take our family pictures. Great idea!! Thank you 🙂

  93. I loved it all!! I have such a hard time trusting my ability to shoot that I often find myself falling back to auto as a crutch…the different settings for different lighting situations was very helpful for this budding phitographer

  94. I liked the House of Smith’s article on The Best Backdrops and Settings for Family Photos, because I take my own family photos frequently this article helped a lot.

  95. great post Kristen! I love that you shared your settings – what lens do you like to use for portraits?

  96. LOVE these ideas! Thanks!

  97. I’d love to win this! Thanks for sharing your tips.

  98. I think about doing this all the time and just never have the guts. I think I just need to suck it up and try it this year. Thanks for the push!

  99. I love all these ideas! My favorite is making sure everyone is in the picture. I would love to win!! Thanks!

  100. This post about taking my own family photos is awesome!

  101. I’m going to try the secret recipe tomorrow! I have been an “auto” gal for so long and you have given me hope that I can do better than that!

  102. Megan Bright says:

    I loved seeing how active your poses looked.

  103. This was my favorite post in the hop! Never thought of getting everything ready and then just giving a buddy a crash course on shooting!

  104. I am going to try these tips, thanks!

  105. I love these tips, thanks!

  106. Love the tripod tip, so I can be in some of the pics!

  107. I definitely need this!!!

  108. I’m branching out of auto much more these days. I think I just need help with remembering my ISO settings!

  109. I love your post. I’m going to plan for family photos this fall. We have a tripod that was my husband’s and I’ve never thought to set it up!!

  110. I always forget to use a tripod

  111. I need this!

  112. Thank you for the secret recipe to shooting in manual, going to try it!!

  113. Such a fantastic post! I love the photo at the beach!

  114. Jennifer Madigan says:

    My favorite was this one. I LOVE family photos but don’t always have the budget for them. Learning photography (very basics) I would love to use those skills to take family photos. If I can be in them even better.

  115. I need to start getting in some more of our pictures, any suggestions on a reasonable remote?

  116. Fabulous tips Kristen!!

    Thanks for linking up! I featured your post in my wrap up http://tidymom.net/2013/creative-ideas-home-family/

    Hope you had a great weekend.

  117. I really enjoyed the tip to use a tri-pod. I don’t own one, so I am glad that you recommended a cheap one to get!

  118. I try to shoot manual but I often revert to the semi-auto functions this would be great in getting totally into manual!

  119. I bought the ebook a while back, but could never get it to print, so I’m hoping I can win a printed copy!

  120. I’m gonna try out the tripod for my family’s xmas pics this year! Thanks! -Kristen

  121. I just got my first camera a few months ago, and am still learning how to use it. I love your secret recipe! I also love your post on what to wear! I love the Christmas Tree Family Session picture!

  122. I love your post and House of Smiths.

  123. I am an auto girl with an SLR. I would love to learn how to take better photos!! Thanks for the tips!!

  124. I’m gonna try this tips for the summer family pictures!!!

  125. Your was the most helpful post on taking pictures for me! I love how you remind us how important it is to be IN the pictures, not just taking the pictures!

  126. Yay! I am totally inspired to take some pics of the kiddos 🙂 Thank you!

  127. Can’t wait to try the secret recipe – thanks!

  128. jessica kacoroski says:

    Im so in need of this…

  129. Your tips are so helpful! Thanks a lot…

  130. Great tips and ideas!!

  131. Alesha Bloom says:

    I loved the post on how to take your own family portrait. This is going to come in handy as I am getting ready to take our christmas card picture.

  132. I would love, love, love to have your book! Definitely trying your secret recipe.

  133. Thank you for the SLR recipe! That’s what I found the most helpful! I’ve been wanting my husband to take a couple maternity shots of me with our camera so now I have more confidence that they will come out better than our gender reveal picture which is on my blog here: http://somethingtosmileaboutt.blogspot.com/2013/06/its-a.html
    Now I can expect better quality pictures on my blog! So thank you!

  134. I am going to try your tips for our family photo’s this year!

  135. The most helpful part of the post was about getting a tripod. I have been meaning to get one, but haven’t gotten around to it….this has inspired me! 🙂

  136. I loved all the posts in this blog hop, but my favorites were What to Wear, by you Kristin, and How to Make Family Photos More Enjoyable. My husband is annoyed at the prospect of doing them, so to have these tips and tricks ahead of time will help for our next session. Thanks for the great info!!

  137. I liked the manual setting tips at the end-or the idea to have a random person come snap away!

  138. I love all of your fun poses with props.

  139. Kylie Fuller says:

    I loved the post on choosing what to wear in family pictures! We are getting some done in just a few weeks and it was extremely helpful!

  140. Thanks for the tip about shooting in manual. I’m going to try it!

  141. Great tips!! Love following your blog!

  142. So much good info here! Thank you SO much! I want to learn to take better photos. Just haven’t taken the time. And I really want to have some GOOD photos taken of our family together. I LOVE the beach photo, especially with the beach balls. How fun.

  143. 537953 686550when i was a kid, i really like to receive an assortment of birthday presents like teddy bears and mechanical toys, 8051

  144. Super helpful post, thanks! I love the picture of your family on the bed of the trucks, its just fun.

  145. I have so many pictures of my family without me in them. I’m inspired to change that! And yes, I’m guilty of using auto on my DSLR and inspired to change that too!

  146. Love your photos! What lens do you use for the group shots?

  147. Thank you for sharing these tips with us. I keep learning about photography, and that’s the area of work my blog is most needing. I’ll have to invest in your book!

  148. Kristen K. says:

    What great ideas and helpful hints! Thank you for a great giveaway opportunity! Good luck to all!

  149. Nicole Hall says:

    I appreciate the manual settings as a starter —no more auto focus! 🙂 Thanks!

  150. I love your photography posts for family pictures. I have 2 grown sons that are not married, so it is just the foour of us. Are there some ideas for settings for this size family.

  151. loved the post about how to coordinate clothing for family photos!

  152. I LOVED this post! I’m just learning more about my DSLR all the time, and the more I learn the more I want to know! I’m not seeing anything about how to enter your giveaway, though!

  153. This post was the most helpful for me.

  154. Love this! Thanks!!

  155. The info on shooting in manual.

  156. I liked How to Enjoy and not Just Endure. We love having family photos, but getting them can be so hard!

  157. What a great book for camera newbies that just want good pictures. Hope I win!

  158. What to wear in family portraits. Was the best….most helpful.

  159. What an awesome giveaway Kristen!! Love it!!

  160. I love the reminder and reality that professional photos may not be in our annual budget . . . but there are still great ways to get those family shots every year (and hopefully more often).

    My husband recently returned from a 5-month deployment to Afghanistan. I looked around at the folks waiting to board the next flight and asked a gentlemen that was sitting there if he could please take my camera and just try and get a few shots as my hubby came off the plane. I am so very grateful for those moments that he captured! They are far from perfectly composed shots, but I can see my son’s expression when he first saw his Dad, after all those months. What a blessing!

  161. Deborah K. says:

    Loved the post on back drops and the one you did here with the formula. Best thing ever!

  162. I did it! I took my own family photos this weekend using some of your tips. And I blogged about it! I just wish Blogger weren’t distorting my pics. Just trust me- they look way better in person than on my blog!

    http://claireandcrew.blogspot.com/2013/10/family-portraits-or-crazy-that-is-claire.html

  163. Very cool, great tips. My hubby and I are taking a trip soon just to relax on the beach I told him to prepare himself I am going to do a photo shot of us. *smiles* But he is a good guy and used to that sort of thing.

  164. I loved all of the posts! They were all very helpful and had great tips. We have never had professional family pictures because of our tight budget, so taking them myself or having a friend do it is the only option. Your tips and tricks will definitely be used. Thanks so much for all the ideas and the great giveaway!!

  165. Honestly I love that you are encouraging Mom’s to get in the picture as well! I am a new Mom and I have only been in a few pics myself. So, thank you for the encouragement!

  166. It was perfect timing for me to come across this today!! I have to take our own family pictures this year & you have given me courage to do it! I do have an SLR camera, but scared about taking it off auto…so thanks for your tips!

  167. Ilove your tips – and such a beautiful family!

  168. This was great!! I hope I win the ebook, I could definitely use a little kickstart into using manual mode… 😀

  169. Thanks for the “secret recipe”! I’m a lazy DSLR owner and always use auto. I’d love to start using manual more.

  170. The Best Backdrops and Settings; as I used to think that you needed this perfect background, but I’m learning you can make a background out of the most unusual things! 🙂

  171. Randi Hess says:

    I am so glad I found this post this year! I am feeling much better about attempting to take our family pictures this year! Thank you!

  172. I found all of them to be really helpful but this one probably a little more!:)

  173. I am getting my first DLSR camera soon and I can’t wait to start taking pictures with it. I loved all the info in this post and can’t wait to learn more. Thank you!

  174. Your tip about the DSLR camera settings was the most helpful for me, as well as using a tripod!

  175. Love my camera and being able to capture such special moments together as a family!

  176. This one was really great! I love the tips on how to get yourself as a mom in the picture! It is really hard to get in there sometimes!

  177. How To Take Your Own Family Pictures! I can’t wait to try some of these ideas and save some money!!

  178. I stress every year about our family photos, trying to find a fellow photographer to take them! I loved how you use a tripod, I will have to invest for our next family photos!

  179. What a great post! I have a DSLR and am slowly learning how to use its many features. This book sounds like it would be a wonderful help!

  180. Jennifer M says:

    I liked this post for learning to take family photos. I especially love the cheat tip!

  181. -“it’s more important to have the time in your life captured…than making sure it’s captured professionally” – this point stuck out the most to me – but all the info was very useful – thank you april

  182. Thanks for the camera settings for taking on photo (off of manual)!

  183. I love how you told us what to set our camera to if we were in a certain setting like the pictures above. So helpful for a beginner!

  184. My husband wants me to take pictures of his family (with me in them) for Thanksgiving and I’m really out of my element…I’ll definitely need this!!

  185. I just got a new fancy schmancy camera right before the birth of our son and am super excited to learn to use it better. I sadly take pictures on AUTO a lot of times because I don’t know how to use the manual mode to take the kind of pictures I want to take. Your website is awesome!

  186. Hubby won’t spring for professional photos this year so it looks like I will be taking them. Thanks for the pointers.

  187. Leandra Bahler says:

    I would love to win the book! It would be such a help to me, because I am just beginning photography!

  188. Thanks for the post, super super cute 🙂

  189. Kirsten H. says:

    The most helpful for me what what color schemes to wear.

  190. Lauren Wright says:

    The House of Smiths post was very helpful for me! 🙂

  191. I loved all the information. I have still never mastered taking the camera off of auto.

  192. katie kitterman says:

    the info about shooting in manual!

  193. Would love to win a copy of your book, thanks for the opportunity! 🙂

  194. Great photos! I just LOVE those beach pictures!

  195. Love all the tips! Gives me the courage to try 🙂

  196. Great tips and I always refer to my “Say no to auto” book! LOVE it!

  197. Victoria West says:

    I think which settings to put your camera on was the most helpful but enjoyed reading all of it!

  198. Thank you so much for the tips! My family is set for family photos next week; we will definitely use them!

  199. I liked the How to Enjoy and not just Endure Family Pictures. I think my family needs to have more fun and relax during the shoot.

  200. I have to admit that this post was very helpful for me!

  201. Great Tips for family photos. I like how you talk about the ISO speed based on weather factors.
    Thank You

  202. My favorite was How to Take your Own Family Pictures

  203. I liked the reminder to get out from behind the camera and get in a few shots!

  204. My fav is how to take your own family pics!

  205. Saying No to Auto. I have been trying to use my manual settings more and more but I will have a great photo but blurry subject. Not to sure about how to change my settings on my camera. Need to practice more.

  206. Thanks for sharing the great tips! I appreciate that even though you’re a professional photographer that sometimes moms just want to snap a few photos on their own too. 🙂

  207. Julie Pike says:

    Great post…thanks for the tips!!

  208. I want to learn!!!!

  209. Great tips!

  210. These were all great ideas! I liked that you gave which settings to use based on location and what colors everyone is wearing. We’re DIYing family pics this year, so I hope I win! 🙂

  211. So many great tips Kristen! I really need to try to do some family pictures and SOON! Thanks for the motivation 🙂

  212. Love these tips! Thanks!

  213. How to take your own family photos

  214. What a great article. Thanks so much. Plus I love your use of colors in your pictures

  215. My favorite was learning how to take family photos!

  216. I’ll bet running into the picture is a good way to get the kids to smile 😉 That’s probably my biggest challenge.

  217. Love this article. I have the expensive camera and only use auto. Any tips on shooting active three year olds? I had to buy a camera because every photo shoot I took my twin boys to was a nightmare. Someone always doesn’t smile so I do a lot of photoshopping. Help….need ideas.

    • Here’s somewhere you can start: Try shooting in Shutter Priority Mode, and pay attention to the shutter speeds that are necessary to freeze the action of your boys. Also, don’t forget to make sure that your drive mode is set to continuous, and that your focus mode is AI-servo (as opposed to one shot autofocus). If your photos are too dark, or the apertures needed to capture the light for your shots results in too shallow of a depth of field, don’t be afraid to boost up your ISO – a grainy shot is often better than a blurry shot. Also, flash can be your friend if your boys are really quite fast :).

      To the author, thanks for this article. Useful!

  218. This couldnt have come at a better time. We are having extended family pictures done in the spring but I need something for my Christmas cards, so we are headed to the park this weekend to do our own pictures. Thanks for all of the tips.

  219. SO cute; I love your family pictures and am always needing tips on how to get in the pics myself! haha

  220. This is good 😀 Great tips. I just wish I could get my family to cooperate 😛 They hate it when I point a camera in their direction and they run (which is why there’s nothing but dolls on my site).

  221. Hi Kristen, love your posts, I have a question, I just purchased a remote how far from the camera can you be I noticed you said that you can’t be that far, any suggestions on using one? thanks Sue

  222. What time of day is the best for taking pictures outside

  223. I’ve learned so much from this post. I use a tripod to take my pictures. I have a great camera but my pictures don’t always come out great. This makes me so sad. Because I want to provide great quality pictures for my readers/views. Thank you so much for sharing

  224. Wow Kristen, we’ll said 🙂 the entire article made me smile so many times :)never knew family pics hav so many dimension 🙂 I’m glad I found your page 🙂 keep writing and yes I’m going to take your advice on documenting life.

  225. I love to take photos and often miss out being in them. Love all your tips and I’ll definitely be experimenting more with the manual setting, setting with your recipe! Thanks!!

  226. Thank you for your tips! I am never in pictures with my family and I want to change that.

  227. I love how to take family pics.

  228. Michelle Huegel says:

    Thank you for the tips!! We’re definitely in that position this year, can’t afford pro pics but I still want to do something!

  229. Love these tips!

  230. The photos on the beach, what were the settings there? And if you don’t mind me asking, what lens did you use? All three photos seem to have come out so well, and everyone’s in focus. I always end up with someone out of focus.

  231. You really have the family shots wired! I need to practice being in the shot more.

  232. Great tips! I love all of the summer colors everyone is wearing too.

  233. Thank you SO much for your website, it so packed with fabulous tips!

  234. This is great!!! I am always the one taking photos and hardly ever IN them!

  235. What terrific photos! They will be treasured for years to come. Thanks for the tips!

  236. Your family shots are so much fun and inspiring! Brilliant concept!

  237. This is seriously an awesome post!!! Great way to save money too.

  238. This is so cool! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Capturing Joy–How to Take your Own Family Pictures […]

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  7. […] put out your lights when the weather is freezing and their is snow everywhere!3.  Take your Family Christmas Photo for your family Christmas Cards.  Often if you start early, you can get great prices […]

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