How to take AMAZING Family Photos anytime, anywhere!


As a lifestyle photographer, I've learned a few things over the years about family photos... how to make them meaningful, fun and something that can be accomplished at anytime.  As a professional photographer I in no way want to minimize the importance of hiring a pro for your portraits! :-)  There are some things (artistic vision, experience & technical acumen, to name a few) that can't be rivaled easily.  That being said, as much as I'd love to, I don't always have my professional gear with me and often take everyday images of my daughter with my iPhone, in between the opportunities I get to do a professional session with her.  I feel like between my camera and my phone, special moments with her have been pretty well documented!  I'd like to help you make the everyday moments that you capture just a little bit more special!

Remember, the best moments in life are not "staged" and happen naturally!  Always keep this in mind when you're snapping away :-)  Whether you're shooting with your camera or phone, here are five tips to help you along!

1. Show Connection.  Families share a special bond.... You want to demonstrate this in your images.  For example, I look for (and encourage) family members to interact, touch, play and do anything they normally would!  This will help to capture natural reaction and individual personalities.  Touch will visually show connection as a family.

Love this image of a Mama and her new baby!  In this image connection is established by both their physical connection and the way they are looking at one another.
Nothing connects a family like laughter!  Here little Rowan clearly said something hilarious that got a reaction from his mom.  Not only are they looking at one another, and clearly having fun, they are also sitting close together.
Here the family is all looking at their new addition and sitting in a close grouping.  This makes for a sweet moment and tells the story of the connection they share.
A mom and her little girl, clearly having fun!  Here we have a physical connection and two, obviously happy ladies!

2. Pay attention to light.  Whether you're shooting with a camera or your phone, lighting makes a huge impact on the quality of an image and also helps to convey a mood.  Nice even lighting is one of my personal faves!  I try to avoid harsh sunlight as it's often not as flattering and creates many shadows.  This is just my opinion and the way I roll :-)  You can also use light to create a certain mood.  Natural side lighting, from a window, for example can be beautiful and also have a more dramatic effect.

One of my favorite lighting conditions going on here!!  Even light with a bit of back light from the sun makes for a warm glow.
In this image we have natural side lighting from a window.  This contributes to the emotion in the image and makes for a pretty black and white.
Again, nice even natural light from a large hospital window is spread across little Stella.

3. Use personal props.  I love to see families incorporate family heirlooms, special blankets, favorite toys, and so on, in to a session.  You can easily do this on your own.  It adds interest, marks a place in time, and commemorates objects of importance in your lives.

In this image Rowan is sitting in a chair that's been passed down in his family.  It's an adorable photo prop but also holds meaning.
This series is from my daughter's fourth birthday session.  She loves her Fisher Price camera and it makes for the perfect photo prop as it's fun, vintage and colorful!
For Vivi's fourth birthday, she had her first trip to Build A Bear!  What better way to commemorate this birthday then to include her new friend in the photos!
Another image of Vivi with her bear :-)
Lastly, here's Vivi with a #4 balloon from her party decor!

4. Get multi-generational and include the whole family (including pets)!  Getting together with grandparents, cousins, other family members you haven't seen in a while?  This is the perfect time for creating some lasting memories and images from that time spent together.

Grandparents with their teenage grandchildren.
A cousins photo!

5. Have your photos printed.  I can't stress this enough!!  It's easy to let digital images hang out on our phones and hard drives, but they look so much better displayed in our homes.  I print both professional images as well as photos I've taken with my phone.

Here are just some of the images that hang on my wall at home.  Some are taken with my pro camera, but some are from my phone!  Actually the one of Vivi wearing the "not just a pretty face" t-shirt is one of my favorites of her and was taken with my iPhone while she laid on the lawn laughing hysterically!  I just feel like it demonstrates her smart & feisty personality so perfectly!

Hope these help!

Looking for some professional family images?  I have mini sessions coming up on Sunday, June 4, 2017.  Feel free to email me at with questions or to book your session!