Advice

How to Take Non-Cheesy Family Photos

According to Philly’s best family photographer.


family photographer

Photograph by Heather McBride Photography

Best family photographer Heather McBride gives her best advice for creating living-room-worthy portraits.

Get out of the studio.

family photographer

Illustration by T.M. Detwiler

A great photo captures who your family is in day-to-day life, not who you’re being in front of a camera, says McBride. So go somewhere you know and love as a family. Maybe visit one of Philly’s many green spaces — McBride likes the Wissahickon, Bartram’s Garden and Kelly Drive — or take a walk down a city street bordered with colorful murals. Head out for ice cream (activities make any session automatically more authentic), or, if the kids are really young, just hang at home.

Play games.

family photographer

Illustration by T.M. Detwiler

“No one looks bad laughing!” says McBride. Try tickling, peekaboo, spins and lifts, freeze dance, or even asking kids to make animal noises. (That’s to get parents chuckling.) With one-to-three-year-olds, a blanket is the best tool to have on hand. Play parachute above their heads for expressions full of joy and wonder.

Avoid matchy-matchy.

family photographer

Illustration by T.M. Detwiler

Outfit rules are simple: Steer clear of logos; pick just one person to wear a busy pattern; make sure the whole family is dressed up to the same degree. Coordinate your look any more than that and it’ll feel forced.

Don’t overdo it.

family photographer

Illustration by T.M. Detwiler

The sweet spot for sessions is 45 minutes to one hour. Move locations while you’re out, so no one gets antsy and there’s variety in your final gallery.

Published as “How to Take A Non-Cheesy Family Photo” in the August 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.