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Overcoming the Challenges of Creating a Family Portrait: A Photographer's Guide

Parents with their two adult daughters walking together in the fall on a pathway in the park.

For some people, the idea of having a family photo taken, can be overwhelming. They feel that it is impossible because there are too many hurdles in the way.  Common obstacles include, coordinating a time with the family members, deciding on what to wear, and even concerns about personal appearance. This is unfortunate because some families miss out on creating a meaningful heirloom that preserves their heritage and memories for future generations.

However, many of these hurdles can be effectively addressed by working with a professional photographer, who can guide you through the entire process and help create a family portrait that you will cherish.


Parents holding their two small children standing together on a pathway in a park

Choosing a Time

Some families will be limited to a certain date or time, especially if some family members live or work out of town. Once you know the exact dates when everyone will be together, contact your photographer to reserve a date for your photo session. If there are small children or babies involved in the photo session, try and choose a time when they will be well rested. Usually mornings are good for kids. For outdoor photos, it's wise to have a backup plan in case of bad weather, with the photographer's studio often serving as the alternative location.

What to Wear

Choosing the right clothes is important. It’s always best to have a planning meeting with your photographer for your session to go over the details like clothing ideas and recommendations. In general, it’s best to pick a common colour tone for everyone in the portrait and dress in similar styles.

Varying Body Types

Within your family, there will probably be a mixture of body shapes and sizes. If some members of your family are self-conscious about their body, let your photographer know beforehand. A good photographer knows how to arrange family groups in a pleasing way which will lead to more flattering arrangements and poses.

Reluctant Family Members

We have all heard someone say that they hate getting their picture taken. That usually means that they are uncomfortable with having their photos done because they never like the way they turn out. By choosing a professional photographer in Edmonton or your area you will help ensure that you will create a portrait that every member of your family will love. 

Choosing a Location

There are many great spots in Edmonton for your family photos. Try and choose a location that is convenient for everyone. Sometimes families will have a special place in mind of where they would like to have their family photo taken so be sure to mention this to your photographer when you’re arranging your photo session. Your photographer may want to check out the location before the photo session to make sure that it will work. They will be looking for areas where they can pose people along with the best time of day for the light.

Your Family Lives Out of Town

If you’ve been tasked with organizing an extended family session and some family members live out of town the best thing to do is plan ahead. Once you know specific dates when they’re coming to Edmonton for an appointment, event or to visit, book the photographer as soon as possible to secure your desired date and finally capture that long-awaited family portrait you've been thinking about.

A family of thirteen grouped together on a grey studio background smiling.

Ultimately, the effort invested in creating a family portrait is a small price to pay for the lasting memories and joy it will bring. By planning ahead, being flexible, and trusting in the expertise of a professional, you can overcome the obstacles and create a beautiful, meaningful portrait that will be treasured for years to come.

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