5 Tips to Take Your Own Family Photos

family taking their own family photos outside

“Grandma, look at the camera!” “Stop hitting your sister!” “Everybody’s eyes are closed!” You’ve probably said these exact same things with your own loved ones when you go to snap the perfect family photo. It’s hard to wrangle kids, pets and cranky relatives into one awesome shot, but it can be done.

This year, you might be less interested in booking an expensive studio session and more apt to try your hand at a DIY photo session. If you’re wondering how to take your own family photos, here are five tips to ensure a successful family photo shoot that will have everybody smiling bright.

Tip #1: Smile. This might seem obvious, but there’s a reason it’s number one on our list. There’s nothing sweeter than a warm, natural smile staring back at you. And it’s good for you too. Studies show that smiling releases feel-good endorphins, natural painkillers and serotonin. If the smiles feel forced, try replacing “cheese” with funnier words like “feta” or “gouda” or even made-up words to get a more natural, toothy grin coming through. 

Pro advice: If the kids aren’t cooperating, ask them to say their favorite, silliest words out loud or whisper cheesy jokes in their ear right before the shutter goes off. 

Tip #2: Squish. This is a tested and proven technique for getting a great group shot with megawatt smiles. Typically, when people gather for a photo, they naturally tend to leave little gaps and spaces between each other. It might feel unnatural, but the best way to get a cozy, cohesive photo is to have everybody squish together towards the center of the photo.

Tip #3: Strike a pose. You don’t need to know about math, but you do need to know how to make a triangle. When it comes to posing, look for ways to recreate a visual triangle among the people in your photo. Use a chair or a box to create or fix height differences so you can set up a pattern that will draw the eye around the photograph.

Tip #4: Use a self-timer or remote. Before jumping into the shot, set up your camera’s self-timer and choose an individual in your group to focus on. After posing your family, leave a small space where you’ll jump in.

Pro advice: Take a quick test shot before jumping in to make sure the background and set up look good. If rushing to beat the self-timer is too nerve-wracking, try a remote shutter. Some camera phones even take photos when you say the word, “Cheese.”

Tip #5: Set the scene. Gone are the days of cramming your family into a little room to sit like a statue. Arizona is filled with beautiful, natural landscapes that make a perfect backdrop for family photos. When you get outside and explore the fresh air, any activity or adventure can turn into a mini photo session. From the desert pastels to the greenery of the forest, there’s no shortage of smile-worthy spots in Arizona.

Perfect Your Picture-Perfect Smile

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but one of those words might be, “Ewww,” if you don’t take care of your smile before taking your family photos. Remember to stay on top of your oral health routine with these tips:

  • Brush and floss regularly—2x a day is best.
  • When you brush, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and move the brush in short, circular strokes. Don’t forget the inner and outer surfaces of the teeth.
  • Chow down on foods that naturally brighten teeth like strawberries, fiber-rich veggies, dairy, flaxseed, and pineapple
  • Schedule a regular cleaning and exam with your dentist and hygienist. During a routine cleaning, your dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can help improve the look of your teeth.
  • Consider a whitening treatment like strips, at-home bleaching or in-office bleaching to alter the color of your chompers more drastically.
  • For those with dentures, it’s important to remove and clean them every day using a denture cleaning product and soak them in a cleaning solution or water when not in use.

Whether it’s just you and your cat or your entire extended family in matching outfits, a great family photo can help preserve a memory that will last a lifetime. You don’t need to be a professional photographer; you just need to smile!




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