family photography 12 examples to inspire you to improve your skills

Family photo ideas In today’s lesson, we will talk about family photography, and present few ideas what to do and not to do, what to look for, think about for […]

Family photo ideas

In today’s lesson, we will talk about family photography, and present few ideas what to do and not to do, what to look for, think about for a better outcome. Family photography is the most popular type of photography as everyone in this world holding a camera or a phone will take photo of his family at some point. SO I figured that it is time for some advice.

let’s get to it and explore family photo ideas with a difference

1. people line up – especially when you have large groups

academy of photography

the most obvious and easiest thing to do is to arrange people in a line and take a snapshot. You can arrange people by height, gender, clothes or whatever, you are still going to have a line up like products on the shelf. There is not much you can do about it. the image is fit for purpose and captures everyone but still nothing spectacular other than your talent to make people smile and get all of them with open eyes.

2. large groups at different levels

academy of photography


When you have large groups to photograph, a line up will generate a line and a lot of empty space, so the best thing you can do it either ask people to occupy different levels. the front can lay down, the middle row sit, and the third row stand.

another option is for you to go at a higher level and photograph the group down.

academy of photography


3. smaller family groups – use composition principles

The smaller the group the easier it gets. you can play with several ideas. ask your family to lay down and or stand up as close to each other and try to get the heads as the main interesting points in the image. Remember the rules of composition, rule of thirds, symmetry, lines, zig zags and they are starting to apply and matter. academy of photography

Focus on the heads and make sure you respect the scale. The image above would have been worse if I would have captured the entire bodies because children are significantly smaller than the parents, and I felt the need to crop. even a smaller crop would have worked.

remember to place heads as close as possible at different level so you can start reading faces in zig zag, from left to right and up and down.

variations of positions below, standing up, on the ground, it does not matter, the principles are the same.

academy of photography



4. Let’s get creative – the circle

now that we covered the almost obvious, let’s explore few things you can do to step outside the average

here is the circle where you can shoot down or or you set yourself on the ground and shoot up, and ask the group to do a circle as per the example

academy of photography


5. vertical line -up the human tree – family photo ideas

academy of photography

this image is from a website, i am not sure who the author is, and if  the owner of the photo can contact me, I will be happy to provide credit for it.

I selected the image because I thought it was different, it is fit for purpose, it follows the rules of compositions which are symmetry, repetition and rhythm. I would not make this a family portrait to be hanged on the wall, but it is a good example how to step outside the average a little bit. I have seen the same idea in many variations, but the ideas is the same

6. Run Forest, run!

one idea I always like to do is to ask the family to run towards me. The most important is to have the camera with servo focus, which is capable to continuously shoot and focus following the moving subject. Time priority or manual mode is the best choice for the shooting mode and I would go faster than 1/250th of a second to capture the action. this is a hit and miss exercise and you need to take 50 images and ask your models to do several runs until you gate what you want.

academy of photography

academy of photography

7. focus on the feet

with many variations where one can focus on the feet instead of faces, i have selected this image as it still shows the entire family. I have seen photos where the feet are the only subject and they do make a nice portrait, but I believe this is better even if the faces are slightly out of focus

This  image is taken from a blog which sources it it from and I would like to give credit to the author, which I do not know who it is.

Happy asian family enjoy summer time on the beach


8. you can use props – the frame

Just to spice up the image a little a bit and old vintage frame can work really well.

academy of photography


9. break the rules and twist the angle

the image below is again from another website called and it looks like stock photography. the reason I have selected was that I believe the angle of shooting is interesting and a good example for someone to push the boundaries a little  bit and change the view. I will be happy to give credit to the author, but i don know who that is.

academy of photography


You need to pay attention with this, as the image can be out of focus. I would set this up in aperture priority mode with a smaller F stop, just to ensure i get more depth into focus. I am sure the younger brother does not want to be out of focus.

10. play, action throw the kids in the air

this image belong to Liz Hansen  and it is a way to introduce a bit of action into the mix. you can get creative by asking your models to play with each other, even you can give them water toys and you just start shooting. I am pretty sure that you will get something interesting as your family will loose the camera focus which brings inhibitions, and they will focus on their game.

academy of photography


11. postcards scrapbooks

there is an infinity of creative ideas which can be done in post production as montages wither for your artistic family artwork to be displayed in your house, or send to friends and family as a post card. the following images have been sourced from and again, we could not identofied the authors as being part of various blog posts. I woudl be happy to find out who took these pictures so I can provide proper credit.

academy of photography

academy of photography


12. unconventional family photos

I am going to finish my topic with this image

academy of photography


I am not sure what type of family is this, but you have to give them credit for the achievement. Forget about composition rules, or lighting theory, the content is king and i cannot take my eyes form the left chick tatoo. do you have the same problem as I do?

I have receive this image by email, so whoever knows where it is coming from , can you let me know so I can provide proper credit , please?


In conclusion, the larger the group the more difficult the family portrait is and despite the fact there are not many ideas, I believe that following the composition rules and think outside the  box can help someone take the extra effort to create something with difference

Final question:

do you know other ideas that would belong here?

please do not hesitate to submit your photos here as I would love to see how others are doing. I would appreciate any creative portrait which is completely different than above


About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and