Tis the season for taking pictures! No matter what holiday you celebrate, it's nice to have some pictures of the family. Now I don't know about your kids, but my kids hate taking pictures, especially together! Over the years I have become a pro at it, but I guess it helps that I'm a professional photographer. From newborn to teenager (and some grown ups!) taking a nice family portrait can be a huge challenge! Don't worry though, I promise you can get at least one good shot.
First things first, gather up all the patience you can muster. I'm only partially joking about that! Getting a good shot can take a lot of patience, so make sure you do it during a time where you have no time constraints. You don't want to have to rush. It's important to have a good time too. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your subjects will be. They might even listen too!
*With young children I suggest blocking out an hour of your time, just in case!
Once that patience is ready, start setting up. Get your camera on all the right settings. I like to use my 50mm lens for these shots. Make sure the lighting is how you would like it, because you don't want to spend forever on editing (at least I don't!).
Get everyone together! Place them where you want them and pay attention to everyone's clothes and hair. Fix anything out of place. Tell everyone to sit or stand tall and smile! You can now start taking some practice shots to make sure they are ready. I always take some practice shots to make sure my lighting is good. That way you can see if the pose is good, or if anything needs to be fixed.
Keep this a positive experience! Make sure you're telling everyone that they are doing a great job, even if the little ones are bickering! My kids are teenagers and in the pictures you see above they were punching and biting. That's right, they don't grow out of that! Ha ha! They also had a hard time paying attention. I told them they were doing great and then the funny faces happened. Which is great! That meant I was close! So then I told them I needed just a couple more with bright eyes and bright smiles and we will be done, and that's when it happened! They sat up, smiled and posed. What a relief!
You're done! Congratulate your family, kids, and especially yourself! If you survive this with no tears everyone gets cookies! At least in my house they do.
Of course you're not actually done, next would be to edit (if you need to) and get them printed and mailed off! I recommend Shutterfly, aside from the printing lab I use, I find them pretty easy to use and they always have good deals!