Having fun with family photos

Family photos are a treasured part of anyone’s photo collection. Photographs record a moment in history, sometimes special, often precious, as well as provide priceless evidence of the existence of people in your family circle.

Having given all the ‘pros’ for family portraits, there are also some ‘cons’, such as holding a fake smile ‘til your cheeks get sore whilst someone fiddles around figuring out the difference between the camera’s shutter button and its on/off switch. And what about those portraits that require such choreographed positioning of family members just so a picture appears candid? Sheesh!

Oh, and once your family pics are printed, don’t be surprised to see a look of angst battling beneath the forced smile of old aunt Hilda, who just hates having her picture taken.

So why not shake things up a little and have some fun with your family photos? Here are a few ways that you can brighten those smiles and release the pressure on those cheeks, giving you truly fun family photos that you can look back on with pride in years to come.

Frame it

Have you got an old frame hanging around the house? Well, chances are it won’t be hanging, so dig it out from wherever it is and use it as a real-life frame in your next family portrait.

Heads up

Whoever has the biggest head goes up the back, while the smallest head goes in front. The person at the rear should be the farthest face on the right hand side of the image, whilst the smallest should be farthest left. Smile!

In reflection

Position your camera at the edge of a large puddle or stream and then position your family on the other side. Aim the camera at whatever body of water you have chosen and compose your image to fit your family’s bodies, or faces at least, within the area of the water.


This is one of my favourite ways to shoot creative images. Place your family alongside you with the sun behind you. Late afternoon or early morning sun works best because it will make your shadows longer. Aim at the ground where your shadows are and you have a superb portrait of your family’s silhouette.

Run, jump, play

Position your camera on a tripod with the timer set to 30 seconds, then note the time on your watch. Place your family about 20 metres in front of the camera, then, two seconds from when the camera takes the picture, all run towards the camera, smiling, arms flailing and most importantly, looking as if you are naturally having fun – because you are!

Position your family in an even line and say “ready, three, two, one, JUMP!” just as you push the shutter button. Make sure you get all their feet off the ground. The looks on people’s faces when they jump are priceless. If you have family members who can’t jump, just ask them to look at the people jumping instead of the camera.

Once again, with your camera on a tripod, set a timer for 10 seconds then jump in front of the camera and ignore it. Do whatever you want to do. Tickle the missus, or lob a bread roll to the kids. The camera will capture you at play and will make for a ‘truly’ candid shot.

Facetime photos

Are you missing a family member because they live overseas or simply can’t make your special day? Then why not give them a Facetime call and include them in your family portrait? They’ll feel as if they’re right there amongst the action and won’t be left out of what could turn out to be a precious family photograph.

(note: if they don’t have Facetime they could use Skype. If they don’t have that, get ‘em on the phone and hold an old photograph of them whilst your portrait is taken)

Panoramic portraits

If you have an iPhone, it has a fun feature in its camera app called ‘Pano’, which allows you to shoot panoramic landscapes and is also a lot of fun for family portraits. The panorama function on your camera works more like a scanner than a camera, so, if you’re using it for portraits, for a traditional-looking portrait the posers should stay as still as possible whilst the photographer scans from left to right.

But as great as the panorama function is on the iPhone for widescreen portraits, it’s even more fun for creating some strange results when posers don’t sit or stand still. Just have a look at this as an example.

Here’s another cool composition you can create that’s a little tricky, but well worth the effort; as the photographer scans from left to right, and once it’s past the person on the far left, that person runs around the back of the photographer and tacks themselves on to the other end of the line-up. This means that the person (or persons) on the left will appear twice in the final image. You can do it with one person too. Just follow the same rules and you can have a picture with multiple instances of the one person.

I highly recommend playing around with the panorama function on your camera app, as the results can be super creative and quite funny, and, at the very least, will provide you with a truly original photograph.

Creative portraits may take a bit longer to compose than regular ones, but they can be a heck of a lot of fun and, if done right, not only will the outcome will amaze you, but it will also bring your family closer together.

For more creative family photo ideas, please visit www.ivillage.ca or www.hongkiat.com

For more terrifying panorama portraits, please visit www.buzzfeed.com

Have you got any good ideas for fun, creative family portraits? Why not share them with our members?

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writershttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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