The Do-it-Yourself Family Photo (part 1)

As moms, we are naturally obsessed with taking pictures of our kids. And we can’t just take one…we must take somewhere between 2-8 photos of the SAME shot, just to make sure we get the right one. After getting pregnant and reading a million blogs on how this baby will change your life, no one seems to mention that you will be spending a significantScreen-shot-2012-09-09-at-8.59.26-AM amount of your time making room on your smartphone for more pictures. Look familiar?


And even though we all have 16,000+ pictures of our kids since birth, we still always obsess over getting that perfect family photo; maybe even one good enough to have framed and hung on your wall. Sound familiar?

Luckily, the moms behind the Moms Guide and The Leo Loves photography are here to provide you with some do-it-yourself tips to getting that great family shot (even on your smartphone)! Thanks to the lovely Erin, from The Leo Loves Photography, for helping us demonstrate the following suggestions!

Tip #1. Get your camera settings (and your kids!) ready to go before you start snapping away. Take a few “practice” shots before they’re even paying attention to make sure your settings & lighting are correct. That way your camera will be prepped and you will avoid frustration from the kids if you need to adjust things!

Tip #2. Use your kids’ energy levels early on to get the best shots first! Don’t forget that food and sleep before pictures can do wonders!

Tip #3. Keep it natural! Take great candid shots of them on the swing or at the park, or maybe playing with their favorite toy. It will encourage a smile, and will let their personality shine through! Let them do what makes them happy, and don’t force awkward, unnatural poses.

Tip #4. Use burst mode, or take multiple shots to increase your chance of getting “the one”.




Tip #5. If you are indoors, have your group/family face, or be near a window or other source of natural light. If outdoors, try to keep blotchy shadows off faces by keeping your family in full shade or full light. Avoid having the sun behind you  (the photographer) so that people aren’t squinting, or directly behind them so that your subject doesn’t become a silhouette.

Tip #6. Use your camera’s sport mode, or high shutter speed, for fast moving children and Auto AF point selection for accurate focusing!


Tip #7. Center your subjects in the viewfinder, and make sure you don’t have too much “air space” in your shot.

Tip #8. Choose a location that makes everyone feel happy and comfortable, and also represents that “stage” of your life. In 20 years when you look back at your photos, you will always remember those days you enjoyed at the playground, or running in the waves at the beach, or climbing trees in your favorite park.

Need local suggestions for where to capture your next frame-able shot? Here are a few of our favorites!

  • Balboa Park. Yes, every family takes their pictures at Balboa Park, but it’s because there are SO many beautiful opportunities. Forests, stairs, fountains, gardens, architecture, ponds, history….it’s got it all and it’s an iconic San Diego landmark! For a fun splash of color, head over to the Spanish Village Art Center!
  • The Beach. Yep, every family has the typical beach shot too. But, isn’t it fun to post these on Facebook in January when all of your friends across the country are scraping ice off their windows?! Find a less crowded opportunity at Blacks Beach in La Jolla, or Imperial Beach.
  • The Ferry Landing at Coronado. Head to the Ferry Landing during sunset to capture the light bouncing off the distant buildings. Here you can actually get a shot of your family on a beach, with the bay and the city skyline behind you!
  • Sunset Cliffs. The name says it all. Amazing sunsets and amazing cliffs. Bring the kiddos down here at low tide for some fun shots in the tide pools. Always be careful of steep cliffs and loose dirt.
  • Piers. On them, in front of them, under them…Scripps pier in La Jolla is a great place to start.

Still don’t trust your skills? Thinking about forking over the dollar for that professional family photo shoot and want to make sure you make the best of it? Stay tuned for a featured guest post brought to you by The Leo Loves Photography

Coming Soon! Part 2: Making the most of your family photo shoot AND special discounts just for Mom’s Guide readers!…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *