DIY Family Photo Ideas on Your Phone (Tips & Poses from a Professional Photographer!)


This year we wanted to try something new: Taking our Family Christmas Photo on our phone. With the awesome cameras that our phones have now, we knew it had to be possible!

So we invited our friend Chris Knorr, a professional photographer over to give us his best tips and tricks for DIY family photos. He helped us figure out great family poses and tips to make our family photo look pro.

And we couldn’t be more THRILLED with the outcome! Check out these awesome tips and poses for taking your family photo yourself this year.

Top Tip for DIY Family Photos

TAKE VIDEO NOT PHOTOS: The best thing we did was to take video while we were doing our family photo session and not actual pictures.

By having the video running, we were able to slide to just the right spot where everyone is smiling. This is especially helpful if you’re taking a family photo of a large group or small children.

We’d still count down and say “1-2-3-Smile!” to try and get everyone smiling at the right time, but it was really nice having the flexibility to move a frame or two forward or back to get just the right spot.

This is what we did for this large family photo above and it turned out great. I just slid through the video until I found a good spot and took a screen shot.
We’ve heard others use the “burst” feature for similar success.

What you need for DIY Family Christmas Photos:

The great thing is that you only need a couple of things if you want to take your own family photo this year:

  1. Tripod: An inexpensive tri-pod made for cell phones will work perfectly
  2. Cell Phone: Cameras on cell phones are awesome these days. They still won’t replace the skill and knowledge of a family photographer, but are a close second!
  3. Treats: If your kids are young, having some candy might not be a bad idea either!

Watch the Video of Chris Helping us with our Family Photos

*The video should display right above here, if not, you may have an ad blocker installed!

Chris was a huge help getting us all in place. He also had great ideas for where to go at our house, plus, he’s a ton of fun to be around!

Our Family Photo Poses

Sitting in the Grass

For this first family photo, we got to take advantage of the nice green grass in our front lawn with the sun setting behind us.

Tips for this Family Pose:

  1. Chris noticed that our house was working as a natural reflector, bouncing light towards our faces even with the sun behind us
  2. Have the dad or other person with the biggest stature sit down first, then add mom and then the kids
  3. Watch for stray hands! Make sure all of the hand positions look natural

Bring Indoor Furniture Outside

This is one of my favorite poses, it was really fun bringing our blue chairs outside. They looked great in front of the corn field.

Tips for this sitting family pose:

  1. Angle the camera down for a more flattering angle
  2. Have everyone sit tall and not slouch
  3. If someone has to crouch in the bag, have them squat instead of leaning forward


The blue chairs were also the perfect spot for small kids! Declan is only 6 months old and can’t sit up on his own yet, so it worked perfectly!

Tips for posing small kids on a chair:

  1. Chris jingled his keys over the camera to get them both to look
  2. Video was KEY for this one! By using the video feature and NOT trying to take still pictures, we got them both smiling!
  3. Adley’s red dress really popped!


We decide to do one last pose with all of the kids on the chair. These are all of my parent’s grandchildren, so we knew this would make a fun Christmas gift!

Family with Small Kids Outside Pose

These ages can be tough! Two years and 6 months are not the most cooperative ages. We had Diana and Princeton sit back to back.

Tips for this family pose:

  1. If the kids aren’t in the smiling mood, try giving them kisses for a cute alternative
  2. This was another where jingling the keys above the camera was helpful

Photo pose: Standing Tallest to Shortest or Oldest to Youngest

This picture is my FAVORITE! We tried to find an interesting but not too busy background. I also wanted to leave plenty of room above and below us so that I could choose a Christmas card template that had text overlay…this one worked out perfectly!

Tips for this standing family pose:

  1. Leave plenty of room above and below everyone (you can crop in when you’re making the card)
  2. Don’t cut people off at the knees! If you’re going to crop in, it needs to be at the thighs OR show below the feet. Cropping below the knee looks amateur.

Pose: Family group in front of a wall

This one turned out really well, too. Again, make sure to take note of where you’re cropping– don’t cut people off at the knees or shin!

Tips for this family photo pose:

  1. Chris said that men should face the camera to look more broad
  2. Women will want to angle slightly to look more slim
  3. Leave room around your family for your Holiday card design

Family walking down the road pose

No family photo shoot would be complete with out doing the “walk-down-the-road-pose” ;) So we had to give it a try!

Tips for the walking pose:

  1. Tell your family to NOT look at the camera, rather look at each other and smile!
  2. Understand, it may take a few times to get it right (we kept getting bunched up, or some were walking faster than others!)

Family pose with sunburst behind us

As the sun was getting lower and lower we were able to have it at our back and grab this shot.

Tips for this family photo shoot pose:

  1. Make sure there is nothing distracting in the background
  2. Tilt your chin up for the most flattering pose

Easy Photo Pose for Kids

And if you want to keep it simple, try a pose with just the kids! Here we just had them lay in the grass.

Tips for this pose with kids:

  1. Make sure the sign isn’t too bright, we had them lay under trees so the sun wasn’t in their eyes
  2. Don’t worry about them laying in a perfect circle…a little bit organic is good!

The kids with their pumpkins

It doesn’t all have to be Christmas themed! We had the kids sit with their pumpkins here for a fun fall picture.

Tips for this pose:

  1. Play around with the angle! Going a little bit higher and having them look up gave a different feel than taking the picture straight on.
  2. If anyone is getting tired of smiling, have them say “yay” for a natural smile face!

Share your family phone photos!

We want to see your family photos, too! Use the hashtag: #FamilyPhonePhotos to share your photo and to get ideas from others!

Looking forward to seeing your family pictures and we hope you have a GREAT Christmas season with your family!


Here are some other posts that will help you get ready for Christmas!

How to Create a Holiday Budget (when YOU’RE BROKE!!) & Save MONEY!

how to create a holiday budget, feature

5 Things It’s Important to Declutter BEFORE Christmas (& tips to do it QUICKLY!!)
Declutter tips before Christmas

Pre-Christmas Worksheet to reduce Stress & Anxiety

DIY Complete Gingerbread House Kit in a Bag! FREE Printable Topper with Instructions & Ideas!
DIY Gingerbread House Decorating Kit with instructions & Ideas!

…and save this post to Pinterest to re-visit later!