Family photos will serve as a remembrance of your togetherness for years to come. However, taking a photo with many family members will come with its own set of struggles. For example, a few members might be caught with their eyes closed or in awkward poses. There's also a matter of not fitting in the camera frame or unevenly distributing people of different heights that can make the photo hard to look at.

Still, if you don't want to book a family photoshoot or are simply looking for better backdrops, you might be thinking of arranging this great task on your own. To help, below are some tips to help you take an amazing extended family photo.

Set up the right equipment

Using the right equipment is inevitably the most important part of taking great photos. You’ll need a good photography camera for this and there are many options to choose from. For family photos, however, it's best to use DSLRs and mirrorless cameras because they are able to provide accurate and high-quality photos for still subjects. They also have self-timers.

Tripods are also a must for taking extended family photos, as they make the camera easier to adjust for your desired angle. For an indoor shoot, a tripod with a tilt swivel head is best since it allows the camera to be panned left and right, or pointed up or down. This way, you'll be able to angle the shot in such a way that it will include everyone.

Coordinate your clothing

To make a great family photo, everyone has to be in their best clothes. This also includes being color-coordinated to ensure that everything is cohesive and pleasing to the eye. Have a color palette of three to four colors so everyone matches, yet maintain their individuality. Next, decide on the dress code. You can choose from formal, business-casual, or casual to name a few.

Advise your members on what to wear for the family photo days prior. Inform them of the decided color palette and dress code, and remind them that they can layer or include textures in their outfits to make them more interesting.

Teach them to pose

To make sure the photo will come out as cohesive, instruct everyone on a specific pose per formal shot. A good photo should also be able to communicate the family’s relationship. One rule to follow is to have everyone be in contact with the person next to them: may it be an arm around the shoulder or waist, a hand on the back, or a head resting on the shoulder. This makes the photo look more natural and less uptight.

After that, you can have free shots that will allow everyone to pose however they want. These are the fun ones! This way, you have at least one or two good-looking photos to hang in the living room.

Create a run sheet

A run sheet would contain the order of shots to be taken during the photoshoot. This will contain who’s included in the shot, which shots are the priority, and the number of shots they want. It’s also best to ask everyone else their requests and opinions to have them ready for the sheet. Since everyone’s already in one location for a photo-taking session, it’s best to take advantage of this and get as many photos as possible.

A sample run sheet for extended families includes a group shot, grandparents only, grandparents with adult children, grandparents with grandkids, siblings only, individual family shots, and grandchildren only. A run sheet will help you stay organized and avoid missing any important shots.

Family photos are a great way to immortalize memories. Hopefully, these tips help you take the best shots of your loved ones that will last a lifetime.

And if you are looking for a professional portrait photographer to help you document your extended family, it would be my pleasure to help. Extended family sessions are so much fun.

Check my family portrait photography here.

Packages start at $1500.