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The DIY Family Portrait Fail

This weekend, we (I) decided that our family portraits needed some updating.  The last ones were from 2 years ago, and the kids have grown since then.

DIY Family Portrait Fail

Ever the frugalista, we have done our own DIY family portraits before, quite successfully.  How hard could it be to do them again?

To make it even easier, I thought we would do them in our own backyard.  Less travelling to a location means more cooperative kids, right?  Right …

Our usual method is to set the camera to take pictures continuously.  We set up a shot, and hold the pose for a few minutes while the camera takes several photos.  Then we try a different pose, and usually end up getting some great photos.

So, I set up a picnic blanket and basket for ambience, and we pointed three (3!) cameras in the direction of our set.

Take a look at the video to see how it went …

Not terrible, all things considered, although there were some protests when the kids all fell over.

Here are a few of the outtakes:

Family Pic 4

We look like we’re all deep in prayer in this one, but we’re not. We’re just all blinking at the same time …

Family Pic 3

What was supposed to be a Squishy Sandwich quickly turned into an unwanted tickle fight.

Family Pic 2


Family Pic 1

No idea. None at all.

Okay, those were the not-so-great ones.

Here’s what I managed to salvage from our photo session:


20150711_200013 20150711_200028

Well, they’re not bad, but they’re not great either.

I think we may have to try again next weekend …

Have you ever attempted to take your own portraits?  How did it go?


Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!


  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    Awww, I think they are awesome. At least you can sort of get everyone to look and smile at the same time – unlike me.

  2. Joanne T Ferguson

    Family is so precious and I really treasured quality family time when I was little! The smiles on everyone’s face says it all! Where is it written that every photo has to be picture perfect, eh?

  3. Alli

    We do a photo shoot every Christmas and then I blog about the epic fails of a large family getting photos done. Last year we decided to do them ourselves and it was bad, real bad. I think we’re going back with a photographer this time around. There’s nothing funnier (to me) than trying to get that ever elusive family photo. LOL – Love this post!
    Go check out Alli’s latest post! Who Else is Watching Your Baby?My Profile

    • Megan Elford

      I agree — I do enjoy having fun taking the pictures. We usually end up getting pretty silly :-). But I may be going back to a professional as well. As much fun as the silly ones are, I still need at least one or two “proper” ones.

  4. AnneMarie LeBlanc

    I love randomly shot pictures. It shows the natural side which I think are more memorable. Your children are all beautiful! Any family picture is a treasure, squinting and all.
    Go check out AnneMarie LeBlanc’s latest post! National Geographic Kids Celebrates Shark Week With Pottery Barn Kids GIVEAWAY #SharkfestMy Profile

  5. R U S S

    I love love love family portraits! I think it’s fun that you and your family did it at your backyard – you guys could spend hours there and it would be okay.

    This set of pics are just too cute. The second one is my favorite.
    Go check out R U S S’s latest post! Side Trip: Batu Caves, Selangor, MalaysiaMy Profile

  6. Jeannette

    LOL – I totally understand this one! We’ve done family portraits and you can never seem to get everyone looking at the camera in the same shot! Yours are cute though and sometimes candid can be the best!
    Go check out Jeannette’s latest post! Keep Your Kitchen Naturally Clean & a Simple Fruit Salad RecipeMy Profile

  7. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    We’ve never tried to take our own portraits, but after seeing this I want to give it a try. I actually love most of the “fails” you showed. I think they’re far more representative of family life. I think you should go with the tickle fight, actually.
    Go check out Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle’s latest post! The Honey-Do’s of Fertility with Proxeed PlusMy Profile

  8. Christy Maurer

    Aww! These are just so cute! The candid photos that are the fails end up being the best sometimes 🙂 My son has long hair too…it’s always nice to see another mom who lets her kids be who they are!
    Go check out Christy Maurer’s latest post! Movie Sequels Yes or No? Plus a $25 Giveaway SFS Part 3My Profile

  9. Carmen Perez (listen2mama)

    I think they came out great. We actually need to update our family portrait, we haven’t had one in a while!

  10. Zan

    I saw your comment over at An Alli Event and wanted out your post. So funny. Oh, I have attempted to take our baby’s newborn photos, to no avail. Well, I ended up calling the professional…lol
    Go check out Zan’s latest post! Our Summer Front PorchMy Profile

  11. Mykidsguide

    I think these pictures are great, although they are not the ones you wanted. I like the more natural scenes and you we’re really having fun in those photos.
    Go check out Mykidsguide’s latest post! Stop the Meltdowns with Our Summer Makeup Tips for TeensMy Profile

  12. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

    The practice is half the fun, I have actually gotten pretty strong with my DSLR, but I prefer architecture, animals and Food over people subjects LOL 🙂
    Go check out Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly’s latest post! {#MotivationMonday} Can you have #SwitchersRemorse and still feel GRATEFUL? #InspirationMy Profile

  13. Kisa Johnson

    I’ve never taken family portraits actually. 🙁 Which is bad considering the oldest of my five is almost 15!! I need to start getting them done yearly I think. I bought a groupon for a portrait place, and still haven’t used it. I need to get off my rear and just do it. Who cares if I’m fat and feel ugly?
    Go check out Kisa Johnson’s latest post! “So one of your tests came back positive….”My Profile

    • Megan Elford

      I hear you on that one! One of the reasons I’ve put off these pics is because I kept saying I wanted to lose a few pounds first. But you know, something terrible could happen tomorrow and I may have missed out on the chance to get in the photos with my kids and hubby. Honestly? Nobody else (that matters!) cares how you look in the photos — they just want you to be IN the photos. Go do it! And I bet you’ll look great anyway ;-).

  14. Mistee Dawn

    We also tried to take our own photos, and ours too was an epic failure. lol. But you got some good ones there. Good luck next weekend!
    Go check out Mistee Dawn’s latest post! 4 Tips to Ensure Academic Success of Your Teen.My Profile

  15. lisa

    We have not had a family portrait done in about 6 years. I think it’s probably time to have another one taken, it is just hard to find the time.
    Go check out lisa’s latest post! Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament Giveaway!My Profile

  16. Liz Mays

    Haha! I guess the trick is to take as many pics as possible. You have to end up with at least a couple good ones!
    Go check out Liz Mays’s latest post! 5 Ways to Relax More on VacationMy Profile

  17. Stephanie

    We just did some family pictures this past weekend. We were all dressed up for a wedding and I managed to get a couple of keepers. 🙂
    Go check out Stephanie’s latest post! 7 Pallet Ideas for Simple Weekend ProjectsMy Profile

  18. ricci

    I think these are great!! I love “action” shots and real photos, not fake family pics where everyone always looks perfect. Because we all know that’s not real at all! LOL!
    Go check out ricci’s latest post! Treat Yo’self with an Oreo Frappe from McDonaldsMy Profile

  19. Krystal

    I can’t take pictures of us. It’s just not possible. I need to hire someone to get behind the lens.
    Go check out Krystal’s latest post! Kiwi Mint Infused WaterMy Profile

  20. Jeanine

    Yep we can’t ever get photos done because theres always a few not wanting to be apart, and cooperate! LOL. Makes for some great stories though!

  21. Rosey

    I love getting family portraits. We’re overdue to get ours done here too.

  22. Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies

    Even if the photos didn’t turn out the way you had hoped I’m sure they make for great memories! We always have a hard time getting our two-year-old sit still for photos. lol
    Go check out Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies’s latest post! Blueberry Pie FillingMy Profile

  23. Lynndee

    Yes, we have tried taking our own portraits and they were not perfect either. The best thing about it though was we all had fun. It looks like you had fun too. 🙂
    Go check out Lynndee’s latest post! Five Things to Do in Downtown AshevilleMy Profile

  24. Lauren R

    This was such a funny post! I love coming across things like this, it just makes me smile! Thanks for sharing!

  25. CourtneyLynne

    Hehehe when my daughter was itty bitty we use to have the best family photos!!! Now that’s she’s 3 and thinks she can do what she wants ….Ughhh… I swear she secretly tries to savatage ever picture-_-

  26. Winter White

    These photos look really good, I love that you made a video out of it. What program did you use?

    • Megan Elford

      It’s an Android app called PicPac. I’ve used it a few times for the time lapse feature, and it works great!

  27. Erin

    You know what? I love these pictures! They’re so real and fun! Ive never attempted my own family photos. Maybe I should try!
    Go check out Erin’s latest post! Bows by Blondie {a review}My Profile

  28. Bonnie @ wemake7

    I actually just added that to my list of to do’s this week. We are in dire need of new pictures and we planned on doing them ourselves as well. Yours came out great.

  29. Ann Bacciaglia

    Now that my kids are older it is not as hard to get good photos. My Dad loves to take pictures so we get a lot of practice. I love looking at photo fails.

  30. Uplifting Families

    It’s been a while since we have done family photos. I might try for some when it gets cooler outside. These are some fun shots that you will remember forever.
    Go check out Uplifting Families’s latest post! Enter to Win $100 Gift Certificate to Define Walls Giveaway Ends 7/26My Profile

  31. Alyssa C

    I actually enjoy looking at the “fails” when I take pictures, some I even print and use. You did a great job with your family portraits. Did you use a phone or camera when taking your pictures?
    Go check out Alyssa C’s latest post! House of BBQ fun with MillerCoors and Price Chopper♥My Profile

  32. Jessica Simms

    I’m glad you were able to still get some good photos out of the shoot. I can relate to this with my kids, it seems like as soon as you turn your camera on all of those kodak moments fly out the window.
    Go check out Jessica Simms’s latest post! Peppa Pig Birthday Party IdeasMy Profile

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