5 Secrets to Make Your Family Portraits Amazing!

As a professional photographer in Loudoun County, Virginia, specializing in family portraits, we’re often asked by our clients (especially Mom!) for advice on how to improve the overall look of their family portraits, as well as how to be ready for their session.  

Because we’ve had years of experience in making each family look their very best in special family portraits, we’re happy to share that experience with you.  Although we know how to position you and how to set up and angle our shots to give you the most flattering views of the family as possible, there are a few things you can do too!
Here are our 5 Secrets to looking amazing in your family portraits!

Secret 1:
Good posture (It makes you look thinner!)

As a professional photographer, I would say that the number one worry we hear expressed is, “How do I look thinner in my family portrait?”  This first secret is so obvious that most people overlook it:  Stand up straight and mind your posture!  Pay attention to your posture during your session, because slumped backs and hunched shoulders will do you absolutely no favors!   If you turn slightly toward the camera at an angle, it will give you a more flattering look than a straight-on shot would.  Straight-on shots tend to make you look wider.  But don’t worry about this too much!  We’ll prompt you so that you look your best.

PRO TIP: Wear clothes that flatter your figure, and avoid bulky fabrics. Leave that shapeless, chunky sweater at home!  Well-fitted clothes (though not bursting at the seams or buttons) will give the illusion of a thinner frame when compared to baggy, loose clothes.

 Good posture and well-fitted clothing:



Secret 2:
Worried about the “double chin”?  It’s all in the positioning!

Tilting your chin out but slightly down, while elongating your neck, helps to get rid of any  double chin you may have.  Even if you don’t have a double chin, you should heed this advice because even slightly tilting your chin downwards, without tilting it out, can give you a double chin in a photo!

 Models have another handy trick:  Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you tilt your chin up slightly. This pulls the muscles under your jaw up into your neck.  It works!  Give it a try.

 Those two tricks also help define your jawline which makes your face appear thinner.

 Above all else, do as your family photographer prompts you!  If she gives you a little direction, “Tilt your chin up,” do it!  She will make sure you look amazing.

Secret 3:
If you want your kids to smile, absolutely do not tell them to smile!

Leave this one to the photographer!  Our experience as professional family photographers (even as a mother in my case) has taught us that if you tell your child to smile for a photo, it’s going to be most fake, most non-little-Suzy smile you’re ever going to see!  You want a natural, relaxed smile, a real smile, so let the photographer handle it.


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Secret 4:
You want the family to look coordinated, but not matchy-matchy?  Your family photographer will work with you regarding color and styling.

Your family portrait session should be as stress-free as possible and, believe it or not, clothing choices and decisions are often a huge stressor to our clients.  Your family’s portrait should be timeless, so they won’t look out-of-date and old-fashioned next year!  To reduce your stress regarding this, prior to your portrait session, a professional family photographer, including us, will discuss clothing and its coordination with you. After that discussion, and with the colors and styling we’ve agreed on, we’ll then create and send you visual clothing suggestions to aid you in choosing clothing for each member of the family.   This service is typically part of the process when you hire a professional, full-service portrait photographer; they should assist you with choosing your clothing.   

Secret 5:
Your family should look like themselves in family portraits.
Relax! Be natural!

Enjoy yourselves together as a family.  Show your photographer the love you have for each other. As professional family photographers, it’s our pleasure to capture the unique chemistry of your family, that love and those feelings you share together, whether it’s little Suzy joyously spinning in her dress while looking to Mom for approval, or Davy’s mischievous grin when he’s being a little cheeky, or that look Dad shares with Mom, the one that says, “These are our kids!  We did this!”




Those are our Top 5 Secrets to Looking AMAZING in Your Family Portraits, but we have 5 more for you! Watch for them in a follow-up article.

square logo Ever After PortraitsEver After Portraits

46506 Oak Lane
Sterling, Virginia 20165

Mindy@everafterportraits.com | (571) 434-0009 | www.everafterportraits.com

Ever After Portraits, located in Sterling, Virginia, is a boutique portrait photography studio specializing in creating timeless, one-of-a-kind heirloom wall art for those who cherish their family, and in providing each client with a customized professional photography experience.  

Mindy Belcher Ever After Portraits

About Mindy Belcher Ever After Portraits

Owner/Photographer | Mindy@everafterportraits.com | Mindy is a Southern girl at heart, but loves Northern Virginia and has lived here since 1989. Photography has been a part of her life since she was a child, and she has been a professional family portrait photographer for over 20 years. She specializes in creating portrait art worthy to be displayed on the walls of clients' homes and treasured for generations.