Are you an avid photo-taker? Do you have a family portrait photographer on retainer? Or are you just waiting for the perfect time to take family photos (when the braces come off… when we move… after I lose a few pounds… when we can afford a better wardrobe…)

When is the best time to take family photos?  It’s kinda like planting a tree…  you know the saying: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.  If the years have gone by and you feel like you haven’t done a great job capturing the moments, it’s not too late!  Whether you bring in a pro or snap your own pics, start capturing the moments now!

Capturing the Moments

DO capture the special occasions, but DON’T only wait for a special occasion

DON’T miss the small moments. Everyone scrambles to capture baby’s first steps, but just as memorable (and just as fleeting) are the moments when the kids are sitting on the floor playing a board game or running around in the yard.

DO capture the moments however you can. For some events you’ll hire a professional photographer, but other times you may have your 8-year-old take their best shot at capturing Mom and Dad together.

DO be yourselves! If you are having professional portraits taken, talk with the photographer in advance about how you can capture your family’s personality. Maybe matchy-matchy, formal pictures aren’t right for you. Your pictures don’t have look like anyone else’s!

DON’T wait for perfection. Take pictures even when the house is messy, and even if (gasp) everyone’s clothes aren’t color-coordinated!

But DO remember to grab the camera when people are dressed up. Just back from church? Headed out on a date? Snap a pic!

DON’T hide! DO get in front of the camera! If you find yourself shying away from the camera, ponder this: what would it mean to you to have more photos of you as a child with your parents?Β  When you look at photos of your family and loved ones are you judging their appearance?Β  We are harder on ourselves than anyone else would be. Your loved ones will love seeing photos of you in any circumstance!

DO share and display your photos. Use your computer, tv, or digital frame to display your photos around the house. Share your camera roll or digital albums with family members. Have a family viewing night where you look through old pics and videos and mark your favorites. Print some of your favorites (not just the portraits) to hang on the wall or keep in your wallet. Use a photo printing service to make albums of special events, or an individual or the whole family over the years.

Having said all of that… DO put the camera down at some point. Once you’ve snapped a few photos at an activity or performance, put the camera away and live in the moment. The photos will be more meaningful if they remind you of an experience you enjoyed, rather than just reminding you of the time you spent taking the photos!