25 Large Family Photo Ideas That Are Clever (and Practical)

Published September 8, 2020
man taking family photo

With these large family photo ideas, you can show off your family's personality and sense of fun and unity. Photos don't have to be a hassle either. These ideas are simple and easy to set up on your own or with a professional photographer.

Large Family Photo Ideas: What to Wear

Your choice in clothing can make a huge difference when it comes to large family photos. If you dress in simple, coordinated clothing, you can show your family's unity and give your portrait a cohesive look. These are some ideas of what to wear.

Try Light and Bright

If you're doing family photos at the beach or any other light and bright setting, let you clothing match the tone of the background. If you wear all white and light khaki, you'll let your faces be the focus of the image. This kind of bright family photo becomes an instant classic.

Family at the Beach

Wear Matching T-Shirts

If you're having a big family reunion with matching t-shirts, this is the perfect opportunity to show your sense of family. Ask everyone to keep the rest of their outfits simple - think jeans or khakis. Then wear your matching t-shirts and capture the moment. Choose a t-shirt design that's simple and clean, rather than something funky. That way, the photo will be all about your faces.

Multi generational family at reunion

Sport Jeans and Bare Feet

Keep it casual and fun by asking everyone to wear jeans and bare feet. The tops don't have to match, but they shouldn't clash. Choose a color, such as blue, and let people have some fun. Tell each family group to use no more than one plaid or print. Then snuggle together on a sofa or blanket for a fun-filled family photo.

Group portrait of family

Play With Pink and Blue

Choose two colors to wear for a family portrait that look great together, such as pink and blue, and let the family have some fun. If each person has a pop of color, the resulting group photo will look bright and fun but cohesive at the same time. For added variety, have one or two people dress in all neutral or another light color like yellow.

Large family standing in front of house

Bring in a Pop of Color

Have everyone dress in neutral tones like white, tan, grey, or denim, and then add a pop of a single color. Use the color pop sparingly in one or two people's tops or dresses and then several accessories throughout the family. The color will add a fun touch without detracting from the focus on your family. Blue is a great, classic choice, but you can also consider tones like yellow, green, red, and pink.

Family reunion portrait

Stick With Solid Neutrals

For a simple and classic large family photo, have everyone dress in solid neutral tones. You don't have to stick to grey and tan, though. Try subtle mauve and slate colors, and remember to vary the color of everyone's pants and skirts. This gentle color scheme is perfect for multigenerational family photos.

Multi generational family

Show Your Sense of Humor

If you want to create a family photo that brings smiles and laughter, try something crazy. If you had matching costumes for the family last Halloween, wear them with pride. If your family has recently overcome a major challenge, wear matching superhero capes. It will stand out from all the other large family portraits out there, especially if you use it on your holiday card.

Family of super heros

Creative Poses for Large Family Photos

When you have a large group of people, creative posing is extremely important. You don't want anyone to get lost or cut out of the photo. However, that doesn't mean you're limited to all standing in a line. Some traditional family photo poses will work, but it's best to focus on having a big group. There are lots of ways to have fun and get creative with your posing.

Create Balance

Consider the height of each of your family members before you pose them. Naturally, shorter people, such as children, should be in front, but that's not the only thing to consider. You also need balance. If you have a group of several children on one side of the image, add the grandparents to the other side for balance.

Large family standing outdoors

Lie Down

Instead of the traditional standing shot, try some photos of everyone lying in the grass. For this kind of image, you need to create a little height too. Have children lie on top of adults. It's also to make sure everyone looks comfortable and happy.

family laying grass smiling

Pose From Tallest to Shortest

Have fun with the height differences in your family! Try posing everyone from tallest to shortest. This is a great way to provide a snapshot of how your family grows over time. If you have a very large family, you'll need a lot of room for this shot. Consider a background that frames you with trees or shows the scale of the grouping in another way.

Portrait of family from tallest to shortest

Take a Seat

For a fun alternative, have everyone in the family sit together. A dock or pier is a great place to do a shot like this, since you can dangle your legs and dip your toes in the water. Shoot this from a low angle so you can see everyone's faces and give some sense of the setting.

Family sitting on pier

Repeat the Shape of the Background

If you're posing in front of your home or another building, take a look at the shape of the roofline. Then pose the family to match so they are framed by the roof. You can do the same thing with trees, mountains, or any other background. It's a great way to show a connection to a place.

family smiling in front of house

Hold Hands

Just because you have a big family doesn't mean you have to avoid those adorable hand-holding family portraits. Join hands and stand together, or for a fun variation, walk holding hands. This pose shows your family bond.

family vacation holding hands

Use the Stairs

When you have a large group, it can help to vary the height of everyone in the photo. Stairs offer a natural way to do this, and when everyone crowds together on a staircase, it shows off your closeness too. To do this, select a staircase with plenty of light so the people in the back don't end up in the shadows.

family sitting on a staircase

Show Your Bond With Touch

Squeeze in and do some hugging. It may feel like you're standing far closer than you normally would, but a large family photo with plenty of contact shows how much you care for one another. Try to make sure each person is touching at least two others in the photo, and you'll have a shot that shows your bond.

Smiling family portrait

Fun Ideas for Casual Large Family Photos

You don't have to have a posed family photo, even with a large family. Embrace the candid and natural with these creative ideas for large family photographs.

Have a Casual Campfire

Does your family love camping or spending the evening by the backyard fire pit? You can create a casual campfire photo that captures these moments perfectly. Gather everyone around the fire and break out the marshmallows. The key to making this photo work is taking it before it gets dark. The fire won't cast enough light to illuminate every family member, so shoot this in the evening or on a cloudy afternoon to get some daylight. Shoot a lot of images so you can get an unposed shot where everyone looks great.

family enjoys relaxing by a fire

Capture a Family Dinner

When you have a large family, the dinner table is an important place. This is where everyone gathers to connect, and you can easily capture this moment with a photo you'll treasure for decades to come. It's easiest to shoot this outside, since the background will be simpler and everyone will have plenty of light. Choose a cloudy day, and set the table very simply. You want to avoid dishes and bright food items that will detract from everyone's faces. Then take the photo from a high angle to show the table and the faces of everyone gathered around it.

Family dinner portrait

Use Your Vehicle

These days, big families need big vehicles. Use your van or station wagon as a frame for a casual family shot. Pose with kids on the running board and adults looking out the windows. This is a great, super fun way to capture this moment in your lives. To get a great image, shoot this on a cloudy day so the sun isn't too bright on the chrome or other shiny surfaces.

Bohemian family with vehicle

Embrace Nature

Even with a big family, you can have those sun-drenched, dreamy family photos. Taking family photos outdoors adds that extra touch to your images. The key is to find a great setting and shoot when the light is right. Just before sunset, during the "golden hour" is the ideal time. Then allow kids to wander around you as you interact with your surroundings and each other.

Family of six wading in water

Show Off Your Hobbies

Is there something you love to do as a family? If you enjoy surfing, fishing, boating, or anything else, show that family hobby off in your photo. A large family can look even more connected if they are doing something together or posing with props from their favorite activities. If you add props, keep balance in mind, positioning the items evenly throughout the photo.

Family sitting on the beach with surf boards

Record Important Moments

Sometimes, the best large family photos are those that capture the whole family during an important moment. Hire a photographer or ask a friend to shoot the big moments like reunions, birthdays, and holidays. The times when you all get together offer plenty of opportunity to show your love for one another.

Female soldier embracing family

Preserve the Little Milestones

You don't have to wait for a really big moment to get a great family photo. Little things matter too. Show that first grandchild taking her first steps toward all the adults in the family. Make time for the little milestones to shine.

baby walking toward family

Capture the Action

There's no end to the action when you have a large family, and you can capture that in your family portraits. Have a photographer shoot continuously as you run toward the camera. You'll need to take lots of shots to get the perfect one, but this is an easy, unposed photo idea for a big family.

family of seven runs

Embrace Blue Hour

When you have a big family, there are also quiet times. You can capture this with a beach shot and the last of the light. Although the posing is simple, this is where it's good to hire a professional photographer. The blue tones come from "blue hour," the hour after the sun has set. It's a challenging time to shoot a photo, since you want enough light on everyone's faces but an underexposed background to show the blue color. The resulting image with be a work of art you can treasure forever.

Family sitting at beach against sky

Try a Silhouette

You can celebrate the shape of your large family by making a silhouette photo. To do this, find a bright and pretty background like the sky just after sunset. If you know how to photograph sunsets, you know how to take this photo. Simply expose the photo for the background and let the shapes of your family fall into shadow.

Family sunset silhouette

Take Professional-Quality Family Photos

You don't have to hire a professional photographer to have great photos of your family. Learn how to take professional-quality photos yourself. Then, with these posing tips and ideas, you'll be ready to take a large family photo you'll love for years to come.

25 Large Family Photo Ideas That Are Clever (and Practical)