21 Tips to Avoid Taking Terrible Family Pictures


21 Tips to Avoid Taking Terrible Family Pictures

Before you start reading this article, answer these simple questions: Are you at work? Are you in church? Are you in a quiet waiting room? Are you anywhere where you need to keep a straight face?

If you are, bookmark this article and come back to it later. Because there’s simply no way that you’re going to be able to get through these terrible family pictures without laughing out loud (and if you’re anything like us, you’ll have tears streaming down your face by the end).

At the Canvas Factory, we see a lot of family photos. But after seeing these hideous examples, we’re concerned that other families might make the same mistakes. That’s why we are presenting our top 21 tips to avoid taking terrible, horrible family pictures this holiday season.

Tip 1: Too Much Sunscreen Can Make Your Hands Slippery

Family Photos - Beach

From For Every Mom

Babies love to be thrown in the air and whizzed around, and done well you could grab some fabulous action shots. But if your hands are slippery, you’ll just end up throwing your child across the beach instead.

Tip 2: Wait until Your Baby Doesn’t Have Too Much on His Mind

Family Photos - Baby

From Awkward Family Photos

Babies have things to worry about too, you know: Is someone going to change my nappy? Will that stranger try to kiss my face? Will the cat suffocate me in my cot? Wait until your baby is feeling a little more at peace with their world before taking a family photo.

Tip 3: Sometimes It’s Just Easier to Go along with Everyone Else

Family Photos - Pajamas

From Awkward Family Photos

If everyone’s decided to go matchy-matchy, you’re just going to stand out horribly if you buck the trend.

Tip 4: Just Because You Can Lift Your Dog, Doesn’t Mean You Should

Family Photos - Dog

From Awkward Family Pet Photos

The look on this dog’s face and the way all four legs have gone completely stiff says it all.

Tip 5: It’s Okay to Look Different from Your Pets

Family Photos - Pet

From Oddee

Just because you love each other doesn’t mean you have to look the same, or even be the same species. Embrace your differences.

Tip 6: Take Your Child to the Toilet before the Big Santa Visit

Family Photos - Toilet

From Awkward Family Photos

Children’s bladders are so very little.

Tip 7: If Dad’s Feeling Camera Shy, Find an Appropriate Way to Soothe His Nerves

Family Photos - Babies

From Awkward Family Photos

What works for baby is not necessarily the most appropriate solution for their caregiver.

Tip 8: Resolve Any Family Squabbles Before the Photo Shoot

Family Photos - Family Tensions

From Flickkr

You may not think it at the time, but family tensions can sometimes show up on camera.

Tip 9: Even If You Were Given Magical Levitating Underwear for Christmas, It’s Okay to Put Clothes On Top

Family Photos - Underwear

From World Wide Interweb

So what if you’re the only person in the world whose underwear allows you to levitate in a seated position? We’re pretty confident the magical powers won’t be diminished if you put clothes on on top.

Tip 10: If You’re Having Issues Watching Your Child Transform into a Teenager, Try Not to Let This Impact Your Photo Shoot

Family Photos - Teenager

By Funny All the Time

It can be hard for parents watching their children mature, sometimes. One minute they’re collecting soft toys and reading The Babysitters Club, and the next minute they blossomed into young adults. Try to work out your issues in private without taking an axe to your daughter’s breast.

Tip 11: If Questions of Paternity are Plaguing Your Relationship, It’s Okay To Postpone the Photo Shoot

Family Photos - Paternity

From LolWot

It looks like this couple have some ongoing issues to resolve, so perhaps these should be resolved prior to seeing a photographer: even if you have had the appointment booked for months.

Tip 12: Now Is Not the Time to Tell Your Child They’re Adopted

Family Photos - Adopted

From Bored Bug

It’s an important conversation to have, but it’s one that can wait until after the family photos have been snapped.

Tip 13: The Perfect Hairdo Won’t Detract from a Less-Than-Ideal Facial Expression

Family Photos - Hairdo

From Funny Pics 365

We’d advise spending more time teaching your child how to say “cheeeeeeeese!” and less time perfecting their hairdo.

Tip 14: Mixed-Message Photos Often Don’t Work

Family Photos - Mixed Message

From Real Clear

Aim to be clear about the intention of your photo before you take it. For example: are you announcing a pregnancy, or celebrating your latest CrossFit achievements?

Tip 15: Make Sure You Know Where Your Children’s Heads and Hands Are at All Times

Family Photos - Skirt

From Epic Fail

Sometimes things can get taken out of context, especially when Child Services are called.

Tip 16: Choose Appropriate Captions

Family Photos - Captions

From For Every Mom

The photographer here must have simply given the crying children the wrong letters to hold, that’s all. She obviously meant to give them W.A.H. or S.U.X. instead.

Tip 17: Become Very Familiar with Your Surroundings

Family Photos - Surroundings

From iVillage

It’s all fun and games trying to get a cat or a kite out of a tree, but the fire brigade probably won’t be too impressed when you call to request help retrieving your baby.

Tip 18: There Are Some Things Even Santa Doesn’t Need to Know

Family Photos - Giant

From Buzzfeed

Santa may ask if you’ve been good this year and what you’d like for Christmas, but it would be a very strange Santa indeed who would need to know if you have a giant penis.

Tip 19: Just Because You’ve Bought the New 30 Litre Fisher & Paykel Doesn’t Mean You Need to Get in There to Prove It

Family Photos - Washing Machine

From Awkward Family Photos

Sure, you can wash a week’s worth of towels in one load, but there’s no need to show off.

Tip 20: Never, Ever Give Someone a Sewing Machine and a Bolt of Teddy Bear Fleece Material

Family Photos - Matching Pajamas

From World Wide Interweb

Because they just might go ahead and make matching pyjamas for the extended family, and you’ll be so guilt ridden that you won’t be able to say “No.”

PS: Whose boots are those in the middle?

Tip 21: Digital Cameras Make It Okay to Retake a Photo If Someone Is Blinking

Family Photos - Blinking

From World Wide Interweb

Photography used to be an expensive exercise: buying film, processing the photos, displaying the photos in albums. But with digital cameras being the norm these days, even old school photographers need to come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to retake a photo if someone is blinking: and it’s definitely acceptable to retake the photo if everyone is blinking.

Hopefully you’ve picked up a tip or two on how to take fantastic family photos this holiday season. Once you’ve put these tips into practice, celebrate your new photography skills and print the perfect family picture on canvas.



Eli is Canvas Factory's resident blogger and social media buff. She has a passion for art, craft, design, fashion and photography. She loves to explore the joys and challenges of family life, relationships, motherhood and pet ownership. Eli finds it's more funny to poke fun at herself than others. She's travelled extensively and considers herself a citizen of the world.

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