Tips for Great Family Photos + Canvas Print Giveaway!

Every year Thanksgiving draws near and I start contemplating Christmas cards, gifts, foods…and that family photo. Often I procrastinate on the family photo…cause well, usually at least one kids is complaining and another is already in tears. In fact, this photo was taken just after my family-photo-attempt this year…all of us covered in prickers from head to toe. The dog actually had to be shaved after this not-so-successful-trip. But then…we did get that photo I wanted. It isn’t perfect, but the dysfunction of the day only became part of the fun memory. You cannot plan for everything, pricker bushes
included. But a little fore-thought can make the whole process a lot more successful.

1. Meaningful Location

A family photo is just that…your family. YOUR FAMILY! Your awesome, unique, quarky, sometimes absurd, not always perfect, but beautiful family! Choose a location that is meaningful to you. Or common to your family. A place that holds dear memories or maybe is as simple at your front stoop.

Photos are about so much more than everyone’s eyes being open, or lips turned up in a smile. They have potential to hold the smells of early morning coffee, pillow fights, freshly planted gardens, or first snowfalls within their four edges. Have you ever looked back at your childhood family photos? And rather than just glancing at the faces you see your Dad’s old Jeep cap that was nearly affixed to his head for a year straight. And you remember the smell of your mom’s shirt? Or your Grandma’s coffee cake sitting in the background on the kitchen counter. Sometimes those little things… the things of everyday life, can make a family photo memorable, because down the road those everyday things will be unique. Precious. Prized.

2. Find an Unique Angle

Maybe I am picky, but those family photos that look like your first grade class photo, just don’t sit well with me. Everyone shoulder-to-shoulder, standing like strangers. I mean, come on! Sometimes simple movement can take an otherwise boring photo and spice it up.

For a fun and flattering look, take the photo from higher ground looking down on the group.Β Or, for a more intimate feeling, get down on their level, shooting from roughly chin level. If they are sitting, this will mean getting down on the ground or using a tripod.

3. Please, no looking into the sun!

This is one of my biggest pet-peeves: you know those bright, sunny, beautiful days? A family photo op is a must and no one wants a back-light photo so…instead they turn everyone directly into the sun, ask them to open their tear-filled eyes and “smile” at the camera. Um yeah…you trade a group silhouette for a group of squinting, miserable people, all trying to smile but looking like a grizzly caught in the head lights.

Here are a few quick thoughts on lighting:

  • If mid-day or in bright sun, take it to a shading area and position the people facing the indirect light. Look for trees, buildings, porches.
  • If you can manage, take advantage of cloudy days!
  • If you are orchestrating the whole photo ordeal, plan it early or late in the day. First sun and last sun makes for beautiful photographs.
  • The photo below was taken on a hike when the sun was especially harsh and bright. We parked our group in the shade. It worked well.

4. Make it Fun

This is probably the tip I need to apply most in my own family. Most the time I have my perfect photo arranged somewhere in my mind and I nearly force the kids to tears trying to accomplish it! Let go of your preconceived notions and go with the moment! I am not just saying “silly faces” but maybe everyone should run across a field together, or making a dog-pile is called for. Maybe that candid moment, where not every face is looking right at the camera, and not every eye is open will be more meaningful, because every face is really and truly smiling…

Printcopia 11×14 Canvas Wrap Giveaway!

Now for the real reason we are here! Printcopia has agreed to give one 11×14 canvas wrap print away to a Kid Project reader! But first I want to share a little of my Printcopia experience.

Now every photo site is not equal. The print quality, paper quality, and final product can differ greatly from site to site. So I was excited to see just how Printcopia measured up! About a month ago I put in my 11×14 order (thank you for helping me choose the photo on our Facebook page)! I am very pleased with the final product.


Here is a break down:


  1. Packaged securely for safe shipping
  2. Product turned out according to my designs.
  3. Secure mounting hardware already installed.
  4. Completed and shipped in a timely fashion.
  5. Prices are very competitive compared to similar sites!


None really! The sharpness of my photo was diminished slightly, but I think this was due to the medium (printed on canvas) than it was the quality of printing.

Follow the Rafflecopter instruction below to enter the giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

34 comments on “Tips for Great Family Photos + Canvas Print Giveaway!
  1. I would hang it over my desk to give me a nice break when I’m doing all those pesky things like paying bills. Right now the blank wall is no fun!

  2. What a great family photo Alyssa! I’ve always wanted a canvas shot in my house. Now if only I had a photo of my family…I’ll have to work on that.

  3. I would LOVE to hang a canvas photo of our family above the mantel in our new house…we plan to make the chimney ourselves out of local rocks and this canvas would look stunning against that background:)

  4. I would hang the print in our living room. The mister has a beautiful black and white photo of his grandparents that would be perfect on a canvas. The photo was taken right after his grandfather returned home from WW11.

  5. Great tips! Thanks for sharing and scoring an awesome giveaway. I have been looking into different wrap companies so I appreciate the honest review!

  6. I’d hang it in our entry, so I could see my favorite smiling faces every time I come and go!

    About your #4 “make it fun”: the hysterical family tradition of my husband jumping around like a lunatic, pretend pouring things on my head or passing them through my ears, etc, while I take the picture has developed over the years of trying to get five kids to smile at the same time. Now the kids look forward to our group photos because they can’t wait to see what he’ll do. If he and I are to be in the picture, I use the timer but do prat falls as I “run” to join the group. Also a crowd pleaser πŸ™‚

  7. Pingback: A Candid Perspective: 6 tips for taking photos outdoors - the kid project

  8. Pingback: A Candid Perspective: 6 tips for taking photos of kids - the kid project

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