7 Unique Family Portrait Ideas

Last Updated: July 15, 2019

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 Center.

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.

Wondering how to make your next outdoor family photo truly creative? Take a look around your city for walls with color or interesting textures. Brick always looks nice, but a rustic barn or a painted wall mural might catch your eye as the perfect backdrop. Scout out commissioned graffiti or murals completed by local artists and use those unique works-of-art as your background. Vibrant colors will look even better and truly stand-out when your family portrait is produced using a metal print as your selected medium. 


2. High & Low Angles

You can create unique 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.

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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 (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.

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.

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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. An Annual Family Photo Tradition

Looking to make family portraits a yearly tradition? Why not try something entirely new with a creative family photo approach? For the first year, plan to take the photo in a location which you can return to year-after-year with minimal background changes. Following the photoshoot, finalize your family portrait and frame it in a canvas print.

Next year, have your family hold the framed family portrait from the year before within the new shot. By continuing to do this year-after-year, eventually you will have a unique family portrait which provides a glimpse into all the family portraits taken previously. See how long you can keep the tradition running and who knows, you may even have some new additions to the photo as time continues.  



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