The Clog’s guide to taking ‘family’ portraits for your apartment

Family Portrait
Josh Kahen/Staff

Related Posts

You know how you’d go to friends’ or family members’ homes as a kid and when you walked down the hallway, you’d stare at the portraits covering the walls? How the walls would be covered with about 20 almost identical photos of your friend’s family in matching outfits, frolicking in a field somewhere or playing on the beach? Or, hey, maybe you took part in one of these lovely photo shoots yourself. Well, if you’re feeling nostalgic for those beautiful, not-at-all cheesy-looking photos, it might be the perfect time to whip out your camera. Follow these steps to re-create those classic family photo shoots with your housemates or whomever else you’re living with at the moment.

Pick a theme

Classic family photo shoot themes include jeans with white tops, overalls, shirts with the family name printed on them and color-coordinated outfits. The key here isn’t to match perfectly but to be cohesive. Feel free to think outside of the box. Do you have to wear real clothing? No. Can the theme be hats? Sure. What about having the theme be lime green? Whatever floats your boat. Most importantly, get everyone on board with the theme. It’s no fun if everyone is wearing feather boas but one friend “forgot” to order theirs.

Pick a location

You could have the photo shoot be super meta and take the photos inside of your house. You could travel to a beach or a forest area or a grassy plain. The options are endless. Make sure to keep in mind lighting and time of day — you definitely don’t want to plan to go to the beach on a day when there is a ton of fog. You can also try to make a poster background that matches your clothing theme in your home if no other location works out.

Find a photographer

Find someone with a near-decent camera, or just convince a friend with a phone to help you out with this photo shoot. If you are asking someone to take photos of you, make sure that you’re properly socially distancing. If you don’t want to include anyone else, a self-timer will work just fine too. Believe it or not, you can actually capture some pretty candid moments with a self-timer.

Actually find a time that works for everyone

If you live in communal housing (or even with just more than one person), you probably know how hard it is to get everyone on the same page and find a time that works for all of your housemates. But if you’re taking pictures of your household, you’ve got to make sure everyone is there. If it means making a When2meet, do that. If it means yelling at your roommate, do that. If it involves an all-out house feud because some of the housemates want Sunday afternoon and the others want Thursday morning, flip a coin.

Print them! Buy frames!

If you take the pictures but never print them out, you can never cover the hallway in obnoxious photos. There are plenty of places that sell cheap photos. Try drugstores and bulk stores such as Walgreens and Costco or even apps such as FreePrints. Consider purchasing some frames or even buying a fancier print on a canvas.

Hang them in a hallway or central place

You did it; you’re done. Just hang them up, making sure to use a safe method for hanging if you’re renting the place you’re living in. Do your best to entirely cover your hallway or living room. Or if you’re really feeling spicy, you could hang them up in the bathroom. As long as you and your housemates will be constantly reminded of your own beautiful faces, you’re on the right track.

Are you feeling inspired to stage a fun photo shoot? I mean, come on, what else do you have to do during quarantine? Make sure you get super creative with your photo shoot and really break outside the norms of the kind of pictures you normally see in actual family households. Have fun!

Contact Elysa Dombro at [email protected].