Summer begins with family and group celebrations, especially after a year of separation. At the same time, capturing these celebrations in portraits is essential to keep the memories fresh.

The tips below are appropriate for DIYers or working with a professional photographer.

Note – I’ve taken these portraits and am amazed at the dynamics of each group and the remarkable effect it has on the outcome.

Following are the 5 elements that are important in a DIY portrait.

“If you can’t see the camera, the camera can’t see you.” Linda K.

Posing – Each portrait has an energy that is different from the rest.

Arrangements should consider first; if there is a key person, make sure they stand out as in the three large groups.

Next, arrange by height and color.

A group portrait can be formal or just plain fun.

Either is great. Both will be lasting memories.

Color – Color plays a big part in your portrait.

It should be harmonious, which helps to make everyone in the photo equal.

Bright, medium or dark colors are good when they compliment each other and stay within a contrasting range.

Location – Considering what environment you want will make the portrait more special. In any case, the people are the focus, and the background is the picture frame.

Light – The lighting in these samples is all over the place.

One was shot at noon with no overhead cover available, the interior and the three large groups required additional lighting and the others were photographed with what light was available.

The DIY can make a reflector to fill shadows by covering a piece of cardboard with foil or find bright ground such as white or beige that will bounce light up to fill the shadow..

Relax – it can be nerve-racking for parents if the kids are ‘active’ or if the party is in full swing. Two suggestions:

  • have the kids fed and hold back on the sugar just before the shoot.
  • If it’s mostly an adult crowd, take the portrait early in the event before the serious ‘paaarty’ starts.

Real memories are made when everyone is themselves and having fun.

If DIY isn’t your thing, hire a professional photographer.


Book soon. Regardless of who you use, calendars are filling up and if you have a specific date, it’s doubly important that you book ahead.

You won’t be sorry that you invested in your memories.

View additional FAMILY and PET ideas under Portfolio.

In groups as large as these families, it’s important to ensure everyone can be seen. They’ll appreciate the care you took to make them feel special.