How To Look Good In Family Photos

Tina, here.

Family photos are so fun. That's what I've heard. From no one. There's just so much to coordinate what with the setting, the photographer, the weather, and childrens' tempers to calm and husbands to wrangle into a decent outfit, and we haven't even gotten to you yet and what you're going to wear. If you're doing holiday cards or a family portrait, here are some quick bullet points.

How To Look Good In Family Photos

1. Setting

Choose a natural background like your garden, a park or a living room with good natural light. Your photographer will know how to work with the lighting, but the point is I want you to be in a setting that is comfortable for your family. Standing in front of the formal living room fireplace may be too stiff and awkward for a family that never uses the living room and only ever lounges together in the family room. Sandy beaches or ski slopes are wonderful in theory but hard to pull off, especially if you're in matching outfits. Which brings us to the next point...

2. What To Wear

Don't wear matching outfits, like white shirts on the beach. Coordinating and complimentary, yes. Matchy-matchy, no. Avoid red, black and white, and busy or graphic patterns, unless you have a professional photographer with good equipment. By graphic, I mean polka dots, geometric or splotchy prints. Plaid is ok. Florals are tricky. Solids are just easier.

No. While I adore my hydrangea pants, I would not want to cement the memory of me in them for my family for generations to come. The simpler the better.

Here's the thing. A family portrait is not the time to try something new. It's like trying for the first time a new souffle when you have company coming over. Just not wise. So, let's talk what the safe bets are: blush color clothing is universally flattering. Avoid anything trendy (like cold-shoulder tops). Tall boots will not translate well. Avoid fussy, floppy necklines or anything that would cause you to fidget. A v-neck is perfect. Also, go light on the jewelry, and make sure it's more classic than trendy. These are pictures, after all, your children's children will use to tell stories about you. Write the story for them! The mantra is, repeat with me, the simpler the better.

Your photographer can't photoshop everything. A stray bra-strap? Yes. Adding a cami post-production? No.

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Some blush dresses for a more formal photo:

If blush just isn't for you, here are some other appropriate dress options:

If you're going for pants, here are my favorite choices:

And some good tops would be:

Putting it all together:


3. What To Do With Your Hands

And everything else.

No. You've got to do something with your hands and legs, but not this.

Women, if you sit, cross your legs at your ankles, not your knees.

If it's a more casual portrait, and you're wearing jeans for instance, you can cross at your knees.

Whether you're standing or sitting, always, always create an angle by turning your body slightly to the side and your face straight ahead, looking at the camera. Your photographer will guide you through this, but it's nice to be a step ahead so you can focus on your kids' behavior. Never leave your arms hanging to the side, but for the love of God do not strike the hand-on-hip selfie pose that every teenage girl has mastered.

Your photographer and you may decide on some candid pictures where you aren't looking at the camera. These are more and more popular as we are a more casual culture.

Will you put me on your list? I'd love to get your family holiday card!

Thanks for reading!




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