7 Unique Family Portrait Ideas

When it comes to home décor, the family portrait is a household staple. But they don’t have to be cookie-cutter. The carefully coordinated outfits and white studio backdrop aren’t for everyone.

If you want to try something a bit different – without being cheesy – check out these unique family portrait ideas from Costco Photo Centre.

1. A Real-World Backdrop

The best modern family photos aren’t taken in a portrait studio anymore – they are taken in real spaces, indoors or out. Yes, elements such as the lighting and background are more difficult to control in natural settings, but that authenticity makes it beautiful.

Take a look around your city for walls with colour or interesting textures. Brick always looks nice, but a rustic barn or a painted wall mural might catch your eye as the perfect backdrop.

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2. High & Low Angles

You can create intriguing family portraits by playing with perspective. Particularly if a family has young children, photographers can capture unique, memorable shots from above or below.

  • From above (bring a ladder) – take a bird’s eye view of the family playing together on the floor, relaxing in the living room, or tackling a craft or snack at the table.
  • From below (bring a kneeling mat) – capture the parents’ perspective as they toss their young ones up toward the sky, hoist them up onto their shoulders, or watch them soar on the swing set.

3. Step by Step

Show strength and stability in your family pictures by taking advantage of lines that occur naturally in a city’s infrastructure.

  • Find a park or public building with an open stairway. Even out the height of your family by lining them up the stairs from tallest to shortest.
  • Take a side view (The Beatles style) as your family walks across a crosswalk.
  • Take a stroll down a quiet road or laneway and let the sidewalks frame your family in a series of straight-on shots.

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4. Set of Singles

A great way to break tradition with family pictures is to swap out the group shot for a set of single portraits. Find a location and choose a few similar (but not identical) backdrops. Use a short focal length for crisp faces and soft backgrounds. When you’re done, create an unconventional family portrait by arranging the headshots as a cluster of canvas prints or framed photo enlargements.

5. From Behind

Who said that family pictures have to be taken from the front? Switch things up by standing back and capturing some family photos of the group as they head toward a beautiful scene. When people aren’t facing the pressure of the camera head on, the pictures may actually evoke a more relaxed sense.

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6. In Frame

Bring an empty frame or two as photo props on your family photo shoot. Up close, family members can hold a larger frame that outlines them all. To experiment with depth, have the kids holding a smaller frame in the foreground, framing parents and grandparents as they pose further back.

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7. Ditch the Photographer

Hiring a photographer for your family portrait will ultimately provide you with more freedom and a more polished result. But if you’re not fussed about being picture perfect, you can switch things up and create fun-loving family photos with selfies. Use your hi-res camera rather than your smartphone to ensure your best images can be enlarged and printed.