Family portraits and pictures are certainly one of the nicest gifts that you can give to a friend or relative. They all enjoy seeing photographs of the kids as they grow, or a vacation photo of the entire bunch of you in front of the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, KS. (Yes … that's where the largest ball of twine is located.) It does not really matter to Grandma and Grandpa where the picture was taken. They simply love to have a picture of their kids and grandkids.
Tips For Photographers
Most folks fall into the rut of lining the family up in front of the fireplace or outside by a tree and have everyone stand still and smile. Not an entirely bad idea. It has been the staple of family photos for years, but there are ways to make the picture more interesting. With today's digital cameras it does not cost anything to take dozens of shots … even hundreds if if you can get the family members to cooperate that long. Photograph them during an activity such as playing a board game at the kitchen table, or wrestling on the lawn in a big pile of humans. Yes, you may have to arrange them so all faces can be seen, but if you make it a fun project they usually will not mind being stuck in a particular uncomfortable position for a few minutes. When you are done you can select the best one for your family picture.
Digital cameras usually let you to see the picture you just took on the view screen. I have found this is particularly helpful with children. If most kids are like mine, they insist on seeing all the pictures within seconds of taking it. This gives them the immediate feedback they need to go back and try it again. My twin boys look at the screen and remark that they should have been looking the other way, or smelling better, or something like that, and then rush back to let me take another picture. I get dozens of shots that way.
If you use a digital camera and have some photo editing software, then you can make family portraits that are totally unique. By cutting out the background and replacing it with a new one, you can show your family standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Sphinx in Egypt, or even on the moon! It is best to plan this out ahead of time, though. Take your family photo in front of a plain background. We go into our garage and photograph ourselves in front of the blank white wall when we decide to create a goofy picture like that. It makes it much easier to remove the background and replace it with a scene found on the internet or elsewhere.
Not all family portraits need to be on 10 "X 14" prints and mounted in an expensive frame. The other end of the spectrum would be to print them out on a piece of typing paper and give them away. The first idea is too expensive, the other is just plain dumb. There is an alternative that will allow you to provide long lasting pictures to friends and relatives without breaking the bank. Photo magnets. For less than a dollar each you can get top quality refrigerator magnets with your photos printed on them. No, they are not the kind of picture you would hang in your living room. Instead they usually find their way to the refrigerator or a computer case at work. There they are seen on a daily basis, reminding the viewer of you and your family. That's what family photos are for, right?
I suggest that along with the traditional picture in a nice frame, you have your photographer (professional or amateur, or even if it is YOU!) Look into having photo magnets made for you. There are on-line sources for them. Some allow you to design the magnet right there on their website. No sending of e-mail messages back and forth between you and the designer. No checking proofs and arguing with someone at the factory who does not understand what you want. With an on-line photo magnet design tool you can play with it until you are completely satisfied, then push a button and order as many as you want. Check it out and see if you do not agree.