The best family photo ideas

Family photoshoots have transformed from the obligatory yearly commitment of stiff poses and smiles to something much more precious and that can be captured any time of year. They’re opportunities to not only capture memories, but make them in the process too. We’ve gathered 10 family photo ideas that start with fun and end with high-quality keepsakes that you and your family members can treasure for a lifetime.

Photo: Lorenza in Vancouver for Flytographer. Stacey and their family capture memories in Vancouver with a family photo session.

Family Photo Outfit Ideas

If you’re ready to book a photoshoot, but the question “What the heck should we wear?” is holding you back, we have some easy outfit-related, family photography tips to make coordinating a breeze!

  • Coordinating over matching. Choose a basic colour scheme, such as cool blues and greens, or warm earthy tones, and pull clothing items from there. You don’t have to be wearing the exact same outfits to coordinate. If you like a matching look, go for it! Our top tip is always the same: stay true to your family.
  • Balance the patterns. The focus of the photos should be your loved ones, not the outfits, so we recommend limiting distracting patterns and balancing with solid and neutral clothing. You can add visual interest through different fabrics, shoes and accessories too!
  • Think about your shoot location. Some spots really shine when paired with certain colours. For example, we love brighter colours for a city shoot and earth tones for natural settings.
  • See our style guide for more helpful tips!

Photo: Olga in Paris for Flytographer. Nipa and their family celebrate their trip to Paris with a family photoshoot.

Family photo ideas with babies & toddlers

1. Props, props, props! 

With little ones, especially babies, props are an easy way to show their personality … even if they sleep through the session! A comfortable blanket for everyone to sit on and a toy to cuddle with are two of our favourites to bring along.

2. Get “must-have” shots out of the way

A perfect family portrait of everyone smiling at the camera is often the hardest to capture with a rambunctious toddler in tow. We recommend taking your must-have family poses at the very beginning of the session and leaving plenty of time for play and candid moments! Whether it’s a tickle fight, playing with a treasured toy or just being silly together, these real-life moments are fleeting. These shots may not be traditionally “picture perfect,” but don’t be surprised if they end up being your favourites.

Are you looking for more family photo ideas with babies or toddlers? We’ve got you covered!

Photo: Cheryl in Ft. Lauderdale for Flytographer. Harpreet and their family capture memories in Ft. Lauderdale on a family photoshoot.

Family photo ideas with grade school kids

3. Combine photos with an activity

As your toddlers grow into grade school kids (Where does the time go?), activities reign supreme. Whether it’s building a sandcastle during your summer family photo shoot, playing in the leaves for your fall family photo, a chance to hold hands on a family vacation, or a family Christmas snowball fight, brainstorm a fun activity ahead of time! Building up the excitement for photos each session is the secret sauce for a smooth shoot year after year.

4. Let the kiddos take charge

We also love letting the kids direct part of the shoot, even if for just the last 5 minutes. Dressing up in their favourite costume, telling the adults how to pose or just letting them do the funny faces they’ve been bursting to make will show off their personality and build their confidence. Kids are endlessly creative, and they may just even come up with the perfect photo idea!

Looking for more family photo ideas with kids? Check out our five more tips!

Photo: Madison in Jackson Hole for Flytographer. Christy and their family capture memories in Jackson Hole on a family photoshoot.

Family photo ideas with pre-teens & teenagers

5. Appeal to their interests

Some teens love the camera and some would rather be doing… well, anything else. For the teens that need convincing, try incorporating their interests into the shoot. The instrument they play, a sport they love, or a book they can’t put down are all easy ways to turn them into an active participant and bring out their natural smiles!

6. Get away together

Book a session during your travels instead of at home! Exploring the picturesque streets of a foreign city, enjoying breakfast at a charming outdoor cafe, or taking photos at a place they’ve been dreaming of visiting are all unique ways to capture your family (and make your family Christmas card the best yet!).

Looking for more family photo ideas with teens? Browse five more tips from our local, professional Flytographers.

Photo: Taena in Maui for Flytographer. Michelle and their family capture memories on a trip to Maui with a family photoshoot on the beach.

Family photo ideas with recent grads & university students

7. Rep the school colours

Have a recent graduate in the family? Before they jet off onto their next step in life, book a family photo session that’s all about them. Try wearing their school colours for extra spirit or capture photos in spots that are meaningful to their childhood. Save extra portrait photography time for solo shots and maybe even have them don their cap and gown once more!

8. Tour the campus together

If your not-so-little-anymore one is graduating from university, consider a portrait session around campus. Graduation represents a big next step in life, so memorialize their college years through a short campus tour around their favourite spots. (We’ll bet their study hall won’t be making an appearance.) This is also the perfect opportunity to capture a fresh headshot as they enter into their working years!

Looking for more tips for a graduation shoot? Check out our top six!

Photo: Sehee in New York City for Flytographer. Sharelle and their family celebrate a graduation at the Columbia University Campus in NYC on a grad photoshoot.

Family photo ideas with the whole family

9. Create depth with levels

If you have multiple generations and extended family together, it can be daunting to capture everyone at once. Consider bringing a chair, a bench, or use what’s around you for a more creative pose than everyone standing in a single line. Height differences can help bring visual interest to a large family photo. Your professional photographer will make sure everyone is visible and looks amazing! One of our photography tips: if you can’t see the camera, the camera can’t see you.

10. Embrace shared experiences

You can only take so many photos of everyone standing and smiling at the camera before attention starts to wane. Activities aren’t just for young ones, they’re for all ages! Roasting s’mores and sharing family stories over the campfire, taking a walk through the neighbourhood together, or even helping the grandkids write letters to their grandparents to read during the shoot are surefire ways to capture real emotion and special candid moments.

Looking for more tips for photos with large groups? Check out our post on multigenerational photoshoot tips for reunions and large group gatherings. 

Photo: Joanna in Orlando for Flytographer. Jenni and their family capture memories together in Orlando on a multigenerational family photoshoot.

Capturing memories with the fam

Great photos of your beautiful family are just a click away! Try these family picture ideas for your next photo session to capture memories you’ll never want to take off the wall. Book a local Flytographer in your hometown or on your next adventure and capture your family memories. Just don’t forget to add a little extra to your picture frame budget! 😉