If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my family pictures from our recent holiday vacation in Melbourne Beach. I take every opportunity I can to document our daily life, travels, and adventures. It can be difficult to get all nine of us into one picture, but I love having whole-family photos as keepsakes of special moments. I love candid shots as much as the next camera-happy mom. However, I also love classic family portraits to commemorate birthdays, special events, and time together. Here are a few ideas for getting the whole crew together in one frame-worthy shot!

Make Playtime Picturesque

Little ones can make a family photo shoot tough, but they can be the stars of the show if you turn playtime into a backdrop. Create a picturesque play area outside or in a roomy, light-filled playroom and simply play with your kids in front of the camera. Tossing your toddler up into the air under a gorgeous sunset is what great family portraits are made of. Making a family photo fun can give you candid and posed shots where your kids don’t look like they’re dreading every minute or shying away from the camera. Turn the shoot into part playtime and see what kind of magic the photographer can make out of good old-fashioned fun.

Take Advantage of the Seasons

There’s no better time to capture a magical moment than at the turn of a season. No matter where you live, you can take advantage of season changes and head outside for beautiful return-to-nature family photos. Using nature as your backdrop saves money on studio time and professional lighting, and it can feel more relaxed and carefree than a staged photo shoot. Springtime offers bright greens and colorful flowers, summer is ideal for beach scenes, fall gives you gorgeous leaves, and a winter wonderland is perfect for Christmas cards.

Relax at Home

You might be overlooking the perfect setting for your family photos – right at home! Setting up a family portrait from the comfort of your home can help with camera-shy kids. It also gives you the freedom to change children’s clothing as needed (no more punch-stained shirts in family photos!) and take plenty of snack or potty breaks. Pick out your most picturesque living area, or a room that your family uses together the most, and pose for the camera. Lie down on the living room floor, share a moment on the family sofa, capture playful shots jumping on the bed, or sit around the dinner table for a touching homage to your family suppers.

Put Your Heads Together

No, really – literally put your heads together for a remix of a classic family portrait pose. Have your whole family lie down in the grass, on a pretty picnic blanket, or a colorful (and clean) rug, and place your heads together. This fun pose is sure to get the whole family laughing and smiling for some truly great shots. Make this one festive by lying on a holiday-themed quilt or wearing holiday clothes.

Turn a Family Event Into a Photo Op

Turn an event you’re already planning into a photo op by hiring a photographer to meet you on location. A family vacation somewhere special, a Memorial Day barbecue, a birthday party, family hike, or any other event can be the perfect time to get some shots of the whole family enjoying time together. Hiring a photographer for an event can help keep your photos fun and casual. It also saves time by combining an event with your family portrait shoot – two birds with one stone!

A family photo is a great new tradition to start this year. Whether you choose to color coordinate and hit a professional studio or keep it casual around the house, these ideas will help you keep those frameable moments in life front and center.