Family Photography Tips & Tricks

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. All opinions are my own.

With the holidays right around the corner, everyone has family photos on their mind. I spend most of September, October, and November photographing families for their yearly holiday cards. I have had the pleasure to photograph a wide-range of families. And, of course, I have met my fair share of kids, including those who are reluctant to get their photos taken.

There is a lot of pressure on those days. Mom wants the perfect the picture. Dad just wants to get it over with so he can go home and watch the game. And the kids? Some are happy, some are shy, some are just flat-out cranky. No matter what the day brings I have a few tips and tricks that I use when trying to get the perfect holiday picture

Family Photography Tips & Tricks

Family Photography Tips & Tricks

1. Bring bribes: Back before I had children, I am sure I said I would never bribe my children. Oh how naive I was. Now, I highly encourage my clients to bring bribes. The most popular are goldfish, smarties, and M&Ms.

It wouldn’t be the first time that I caught a mouthful of goldfish in a picture. Which brings me to…

2. Play games: Of course, I play the standard games of Peek-a-boo and Ring Around the Rosie. But there are two that get a great reaction, Hide the Goldfish and Magic Trick. If using goldfish as a bribe, I’ll take a few pictures with the child munching away and make a big deal about catching a picture of the fishy in their mouths. Next, I tell them to try and hide the fishy so the camera can’t see it. This gets them to close their mouths and smile.


Magic Trick is similar to Hide the Goldfish. If a child is being particularly shy or not really into the session, I will snap a picture and then make a big deal about it. I will tell them that they must be magic because they jumped into my camera. I’ll show them the picture on the screen and then ask them if they want to do it again!

3. Eyes Forward: Parents tend to try to get their children to smile when taking a group picture. When they do this, they aren’t looking forward, they are looking at their children. When the kids finally crack a smile or look at the camera, we have a smiling child and the side of mom and dad’s head. When I take a family picture, I make sure to tell my parents that they should always keep their eyes forward and let me get the child’s attention. Also, if there are older siblings, I remind them to look at the camera at all time. This way we are always getting everyone’s smiling faces, not sides of the head!


4. Don’t force them: The worst thing you can do is force a child into taking pictures when they don’t want to it. Trust me, it won’t end well. You will have zero pictures of your child and they will leave in a grumpy mood. Instead, just let them be themselves. If they need to go off and play for a bit, let them. As the photographer, I will sneak around and capture them just being them. And most of the time, they are my absolute favorite!


If they want to be goofy, let them be goofy! After all, this is all about capturing their little personalities. Or maybe they want their favorite lovey in the photo. I say why not? This lovey is what their little world is all about in this moment. Capture it because it won’t last forever!



Now that you have my tips and tricks to take the perfect family photos, it’s time to pick out your photo Christmas cards. Basic Invite to the rescue!
Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This is what we feel sets us apart from almost any other online stationery company and is what we feel is our biggest draw.
Over 250 completely customizable holiday cards and photo Christmas card designs, which includes their newly introduced gold and silver foil which is now available in the holiday line.

New for this holiday season an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process! 


Take 30% off all holiday cards and photo Christmas cards using code HOLI30!!!

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  1. Wow, that family in tip #3 is adorable! Haha, just kidding. 😉 Those are great tips, and truly, tip #3 is the BEST when you have little ones you are trying to capture in photos.

  2. Tis the season for family photos! I love the goldfish trick! Will have to use that one for sure!

  3. Wow, this is a fantastic list of tips! I’m totally going to use the goldfish trick. Thanks!

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