Family photo shoots have never lost their popularity. They are a great way to document the evolution of your family and to look back on the years to watch how much your children have grown. They make great holiday cards and are the most cherished photos you’ll own. If you’re planning a family photo shoot, here are some general guidelines for pulling off a perfect family photo shoot.

Dress Code

There is no rule that says that every family member has to wear the same outfit. In fact, pushing an outfit on your teenaged children is a great way to start a fight. Generally, family members should decide if they want to dress formally or casually and older kids should be encouraged to choose their own outfits (within reason). Oftentimes, the setting and season will dictate the dress code. For instance, if you’re planning on taking your family photo on a rural farm, it might be too much to ask your kids to wear their best shoes. As a general rule of thumb, clothing with words, labels, or inappropriate language should be avoided, and you should wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Don’t wear high heels that are going to make you tower over everyone.


Every family is different. Some prefer to capture their photo on a nature trail or in front of a studio backdrop. There is no right or wrong setting to take a family photo, however, some backgrounds are better than others. Scenery to avoid: messy rooms, low-lit areas, or direct sunlight. If you want to take a photo in a public outdoor space, you may have to accept that there are going to be people in the background. The more visually appealing your background, the more engaging your photo will be.

Props & Gags

Prop trends come and go, and sometimes they’re just a bad idea. A simple google search of bad family portraits will show you what people have used as props in the past. Machine guns, chickens, puppets, even hair brushes have somehow become immortalized in family photo shoots. But what’s the point? Props have a tendency to add distraction, so if you do plan on bringing something along, Cindy June suggests taking pictures with and without your prop to find out which picture you prefer.

Humour can really enhance a photo. However, it isn’t always necessary or even recommended to turn your photo shoot into a gag. Examples of gag photo shoots include pretending to throttle your kids, tying up the parents, or taping someone’s mouth shut. It may be funny at the start, but you’ll likely appreciate it less in 10 years when you wished you could have just taken a beautiful photo.

Golden Rule: Keep it Simple

The point of a family portrait is to document your family as it is. Oftentimes, we’re so concerned about posing or “doing something” in the photo that we tend to complicate a photo that doesn’t need to be complicated. If you force yourself to sit or stand unnaturally, your discomfort is going to show up on your face. If you want to get the most out of your family photoshoot, go back to basics and keep it simple.

Of course, Cindy June will be there the whole time to help direct you and your family members. Are you interested in a family portrait? Contact Cindy June Photography to schedule your big day.