11 Family Photography Tips To Make Pictures Pop

Ever tried to capture a gorgeous family moment for eternity and you just can’t quite get it. Is it the light? The movement? Are you too far away? We’ve all been there – major disappointment and massive frustration. But here’s the good news – these 11 simple family photography tips will make you more confident with the camera.

These family photography tips may seem small but they will make a HUGE difference to the quality of your photos. You’ll soon be producing photos that pop.

11 Family Photography Tips

1. Look for the light

For those gorgeous sparkly eyes that professionals achieve, you need to position your subject so the light falls on their face. Use the soft natural light from a window or shoot them from above so they’re looking to the sky.

Natural light is always better but use a flash if you’ve no other option. That cheeky twinkle in their eye can never be captured without a light source.

family photography tips - using low light
Photo: reana/Bigstock

2. Avoid direct sunlight 

You know that picture where the background is bright but the kids are dark and hard to see? That happens either because the patches of bright light draw the focus and attention or you have positioned the kids facing the wrong way.

Direct sun is harsh and creates those dark shadows us mums hate. Try to ensure your subject is in the shade facing the light source. If you can’t shoot in the shade or it’s a candid pic you must take ‘right then and there’, make sure the light source is behind you or to the side of your subject.

innocent little american boy in red collared shirt
Photo: Rixie/Bigstock

3. Shoot with prime lenses

Prime lenses are a great addition to a photography kit and allow a shallow depth of field (blurred background), which is great for kids’ portraits. Even if you have a messy background, shooting with a wide aperture will help to focus the portrait on kids.

In low light, a prime lens will also allow you to shoot at faster shutter speeds thanks to wide aperture leaving less chance of camera shake or blurry portraits. Most camera brands will do a ‘nifty fifty’ (50mm lens) that you will be able to pick up for a great price. If you are looking for your kids to pop out of the background look to shoot with a longer focal length around the 85mm mark.

toddler playing outside, toddler behaviour
Photo: KlOnGZaD/Bigstock

4. Shoot like a pro (and that means a lot!)

A professional photographer shoots thousands of images and then culls down. Shooting a lot is the only way to get those images you really dream of.

Take thousands of pictures and be cut-throat in culling them to just your favourites. That’s the joy of digital right? It’s as easy and cost-free as just hitting delete, delete, delete. Don’t forget to back up those files!

Photo: Everst/Bigstock

5. Take tight shots that fill the frame

When it comes to portraiture there are two winning approaches.

The first is filling the frame with your subject. If they’re sitting still, you can do this easily – but kids don’t always do that! If they aren’t, you can always crop to get this composition later.

The idea is to move in close and capture those lovely details whilst distractions of the background are totally removed.

close up portrait of a boy lying in bed inside a white room
Photo: SergeyNovikov/Bigstock

6. Revisit those primary school fractions with the 2/3 rule

The second composition concept that will see you shooting like a family photography pro is the Rule of Thirds. This theory makes for interesting and well-balanced shots.

If you’re shooting with a camera that shows a grid marked onto the digital display.  It’s easy to achieve. Most simply, the rule of thirds is dividing up your image using two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. You then position the important elements in your scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet. It sounds tricky but it’s actually crazy easy – and will take your photos from meh to mesmerising!

happy mum holding her baby with her little boy kissing the baby
Photo: Goodmoments/Bigstock

7. Don’t look down on your kids; get on their level or way above them

Wondering why your pictures don’t capture the magic? Shooting your kids from your eye level to them is frankly, boring.

If you want dynamic and interesting photos, get down on their level or shoot them from high up above. You’ll see the world from their point of view and achieve more varied and more engaging images.

playful little girl
Bigstock: Alenaksam/Bigstock

8. Shoot in landscape (girl, it’s better to be wide than skinny!)

Landscape photos tell wonderful stories of where you are and the expanded area allows for all that lovely detail of the moment or landscape. 

Don’t forget to combine this tip with the two-thirds rule (above) to be really nailing family photos!

Little girl in an astronaut costume dreaming of becoming a spaceman on a background of bright blue wall with yellow stars
Photo: CHOReograPH/Bigstock

9. Ditch the real-life clutter

Truth be known my house is as much of a bombsite as yours but the trick is not photographing the chaos! Always look at what’s in the background of the shot.

A gorgeous moment with your kids can be ruined by six tonnes of laundry on the couch. If that’s the case shoot tight, or try and move your shooting direction to get a cleaner look.

Similarly, if you’re shooting outside try and find a perspective that has minimal distractions in the background – real-life stuff like cars, bins and other people are best avoided where possible.

how to introduce children to new sibling
Photo: Nestea06/Bigstock

10. Celebrate golden hour

Photography literally means painting with light. And there’s no more perfect a time to have a quick family photo session than the hour just before sunset.

Known as ‘golden hour’ this is when the light softens and a beautiful, mellow glow makes everything softer, warmer and altogether lovelier. Golden hour takes the pressure off chasing the right light and allows you to focus on better composition and making the memories!

three happy young boys, siblings
Photo: photobac/ Bigstock

11. Get the best gear you can afford 

As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. Often this will be your iPhone and all these principles still apply!

A good camera, however, is a great investment in capturing memories. The best camera for a mum is one that makes awesome photos easy – even better if it’s handbag sized and you’re not lugging a brick about.

Panasonic Lumix G7
The Panasonic Lumix is an ideal camera for family photos. Photo: CameraPro

Have a squizz at CameraPro. Their range of cameras are ideal for family photography and the team are awesome at helping you find the right camera for your budget and your specific needs.

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From the photo-mad team at Mum Central to you, please please please take as many photos of your family as you can! You’ll never regret having captured all those precious moments!


  • Use the light to make eyes sparkle
  • Shoot with the light behind you or to the side of your subject
  • Shoot with prime lenses
  • Take heaps of photos but cull ruthlessly
  • Shoot right uptight by being close rather than zooming
  • Apply the Two-Thirds Rule for interesting and pleasing imagery
  • Look to shoot from up high or down low
  • Landscape is more gorgeous than portrait
  • Avoid clutter and distractions
  • Celebrate Golden Hour for beautiful, romantic light
  • Use whatever camera you have on hand and invest in the best gear you can afford.

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Avatar of Belinda Jennings

Belinda's a passionate advocate for community and connection. As the founder of the Mum Central Network she’s committed to celebrating the journey that is Australian parenthood. Mum to two cheeky boys, and wife to her superstar husband, they live a busy but crazy lifestyle in Adelaide. Great conversation, close friends and good chocolate are her chosen weapons for daily survival. Oh, and bubbles. Champagne is key.

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