Taking a Great Family Photo at Home

There’s nothing like a family photo to document your family tree. Whether you want to hang it on your wall, keep it on your nightstand or turn it into one of these 33 cherished projects, a family photo will make your house feel like a home.

Luckily, you don’t have to hire a professional photographer to capture a great family photo. With a little planning, creativity and help from your family, you can shoot a fantastic family portrait in the comfort of your home or backyard.

Here are some tips for taking a great family photo at home:

Use the Right Equipment

A great family photo starts by ensuring your equipment will capture great pictures. Don’t settle for an iPhone; opt for a high-quality digital camera and tripod to ensure your photos are crystal clear. Also, avoid having more than one photographer, so everyone is looking at the same place at the same time.

Pose Properly

Posing your family correctly can dramatically improve photo composition and visual appeal. Use chairs, couches and other items to establish height differences while creating depth in the picture. Avoid standing too far apart, in a straight line or in unnatural positions. Ensuring everyone is visible and that family members are paired properly will make it easier for viewers to understand your family tree — especially in 50 years.

Obey the Rule of Thirds

Photography has a golden rule: the rule of thirds. Whenever taking a photo, imagine breaking the image into thirds — horizontally and vertically — so you have nine parts. Then align subjects with the intersecting points to make pictures look balanced and natural. Applying this rule to your family photo will make it look professional and appealing.

Find the Right Lighting

Finding the right lighting for a family photo is critical. While it may seem intuitive to shoot photos on a sunny day, too much light will make photos look washed out or make family members squint. The best time to shoot your family photos is in the evening, in complete shade or on an overcast day. Also, make sure subjects aren’t posed with a source of light behind them or under objects that cast unusual shadows.

Most importantly, remember to be creative — but not too creative. You want to be sure you can look back at your family photos in 40 years and not look like these families.