How To Take Great Family Photos

Great family photos

I have a confession to make.  We have never had a professional family portrait taken. :-(  Yep, in the 25 years we’ve been married….not one.  I’m not proud of that fact. Especially when I see the beautiful family photos of the One Good Thing By Jillee “Team that I am going to introduce to you today. (More on that in a minute.)

BUT….I have committed to rectifying the situation this month! I have warned the kids and hubster it’s happening and now that I have told all of you…I’m hoping you will hold me to it! I’m turning over a new leaf. :-)

Anyway, the whole family photo thing got me thinking about how the holidays generally mean a whole lot of picture-taking going on!

Since I am married to a professional videographer and work with the talented ladies over at Small Fry Blog who deliver stunning images on their blog everyday…I decided to ask them to share their best advice for taking great family photos this holiday season.

From the ladies at Small Fry Blog

4 tips for shooting beautiful pictures:

1. Keep it alive. Let personalities shine, the best photos are rarely posed! Especially for children, candid is key and will capture a feeling better than any forced smile will do.

2. Get in close. Capturing detail and emotion is so much easier no matter what equipment you have when you get on your subject’s level, invade personal space if necessary! Show the freckles and the flaws, those are the things we treasure as mothers and we want to remember for years to come.

3. Now step back. Capture the scene and the feeling of a room in its entirety. This is where you’ll get those beautifully understated interactions with your loved ones, tucking hair behind your daughter’s ear, laughing at a silly antic. All great things, and so much more valuable than sitting with folded legs and arms in our laps!

4. Keep it natural. When shooting in the day, turn off overhead lighting, find a window and put your best face forward toward the light. Use that natural light, its where we all look best, and it will make your photos feel natural and inviting.


beautiful family photos

Tips from The Hubster:

1. Always try to pull your subject away from a background.  The “10 Most Wanted” pose is not flattering. The depth you can create behind them only serves to accentuate your subject.

2. Zoom in. If you have a zoom lens, stand back a few feet and zoom in to throw the background out of focus and isolate your subject from the background. More flattering to your subject.

3. Use a tripod (when possible). No human being will ever be as steady as a tripod. Outdoor in sunny conditions you might be able to get away without it….but for close-ups you will get better images using a tripod.

4. Experiment! Don’t be afraid to take several pictures of the same thing using different settings on your camera. You might be surprised what you come up with.

5. Take time to learn your camera.  To get the most out of your camera…you have to learn about it, especially if you have a DSLR. Sit down with your user guide and learn about things like aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and white balance. Most digital cameras offer automatic settings that do just fine, but taking the time to learn about manual settings and tweaks is well worth the time.

beautiful family photos


A few more of my favorite tips:

1. Get in closer than you think you need to. Faces are what you really want to see – so get right up there. When you think you have a great photo…take one step in!

2. Take multiple photos. Kids and babies are notorious for wiggling at the last second, so make sure you have plenty of options to choose from. You can even use the video feature on your Smartphone, then take a screen shot from the video!

3. Steady! Many people extend their arms to see the image in the camera’s viewfinder before snapping the picture. This makes it difficult to hold the camera steady. And if the zoom feature is used, shakiness is amplified. Instead, keep your arms tucked tight against your body when shooting a photo. Old-fashioned eyeball viewfinders also reduce shakiness, as it requires you to keep the camera still as it’s pressed against your face.

4. Frame your subjects off-center. Go against your natural impulse to center all your photographs. While some shots look nice centered within the frame, off-center compositions can give your photos an artistic feel.

5.  Use the element of surpriseDon’t always let your subject know you are taking a photo and wait for the perfect moment to snap a picture.

6. Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice taking photos, the easier and more intuitive it will become, and the better photos you will produce!

beautiful family photos


OK…now that you have lots of good tips for taking great family photos….here is a little inspiration for you!  I just love all these photographs of the One Good Things By Jillee Team!

Click on the picture to learn more about the wonderful people I am very fortunate to work with!  :-)


meet the team


*********CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!*********


Now that you’ve been educated and inspired….here’s your chance to win a great tool for taking your own beautiful family photos!

One Good Things By Jillee in partnership with Small Fry Blog is giving away either an iPhone5 OR a Canon Rebel DSLR Camera to one lucky winner! YOUR CHOICE!


iphone-canon giveaway

All you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite photography tip!

You can also increase your chances with these BONUS ENTRIES:

1. Click on over to Small Fry Blog and enter to win there too!

2. Post a family pic on Instagram and tag @JillsGoodThings and @SmallFryBlog #onegoodgiveaway

3. Join One Good Thing By Jillee and Small Fry Blog on Facebook. Leave a separate comment letting me know.

3. Follow @JillsGoodThings and @SmallFryBlog on Twitter. Leave a separate comment letting me know you are following.

5. Tweet the following statement about this giveaway: Enter to win an iPhone5 or a Canon Rebel DSLR Camera hosted by @JillsGoodThings and @SmallFryBlog  #onegoodgiveaway

6. Subscribe to receive daily emails from One Good Thing By Jillee. Leave a separate comment letting me know you subscribed.

7. Follow Jillee and Small Fry Blog on Pinterest! Leave a separate comment letting me know.

Winner must be 16 years or older and will be randomly selected and announced Monday December 10th. You can select either the Canon Rebel T3 with the Canon 50 mm fixed lens f/1.8, or the iPhone 5 (just the phone, no contract necessary) in white or black. The winner will have 72 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.



Print Friendly
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter24Pin on Pinterest818Google+0

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. Renee Batson says

    I have been following you on Facebook and signed up for your emails a few weeks ago and just now added you and Small Fry to my Pinterest! I also added Small Fry to my Facebook. Sorry I don’t Tweet but I did make your homemade coconut milk revised shampoo today! LOL! I am convinced you are nothing short of a genius!

  2. Renee Batson says

    I love to get on the ground when I take photos, especially with flowers! The perspective is amazing. This works really good with kids and animals too :)

  3. Laura Lien says

    I already like One Good Thing By Jillee on FB and went over and liked Small Fry Blog on Facebook

  4. Laura Lien says

    Thanks for all of the great tips. My favorite tip is to have fun and take “natural” photos – those candid ones when no one is paying attention to the camera.

  5. jamie lynn says

    i have been following you on facebook & pinterest already but I have liked Small Fry blog on both as well. i also get your emails through my browser rss reader – i would miss so much without it!! :)

  6. jamie lynn says

    my best advice would be take tons of shots!! back in the days of film cameras that was so difficult (and expensive!) but now everyone’s gone digital and you can never have too many, and you’ll find many more you love that way. awesome giveaway!! :)