Inexpensive Picture Perfect Family Photos

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It seems the only downside to gathering your crew for a beautiful picture would be how expensive professional photographers can be. Nowadays, a photo session can cost an arm and a leg — maybe even your first born. If you don’t want to spend $300 – $500, here are some tips on how to get high quality photos for a minimal price.

Budget-Friendly Photo Sessions

If you are looking for only a few high quality images, there are a couple companies that offer low-cost options!

mother, sons, husband sitting on rocks near pond.
Shoott family photo

One that my family uses is called Shoott. This is a female-run company that lets families choose from an array of times and local locations to schedule a 30-minute session. The great part is you only pay for the images you purchase. There is no booking fee! Currently, in Collin County, it offers photo shoots in Frisco, McKinney, and Plano. There are also plenty of other of scenic spots to choose from in Dallas, Fort Worth, Flower Mound, and Grapevine.

Other companies that offer similar services include Local Lens and Snappr.

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DIY Photographer

If you are on a tight budget or want the flexibility of waiting until the last minute to take your family photos (or both!), consider taking pictures yourself with your phone. In 2020, my family decided to try this option. It didn’t seem right to do an extravagant picture out and about when we spent most of the year in our pajamas at home.

So, I purchased a tripod from Amazon and gave it a go. These are actually some of my favorite images I have of my boys.

family in holiday pajamas on bed
iPhone family photo

One of the benefits about taking pictures yourself is that you see the images right away. If you don’t like a shot, simply take another.

Taking pictures on your own is also perfect if you have young children. By taking them yourself, you can select the day and time when your child is in a camera ready mood.

Camera Tips 

In this day and age, you don’t need an expensive camera to take high quality pictures. If you follow these few tips, you can capture stellar shots on your iPhone with very little effort.

Also — to avoid the images looking like you took them with your phone — I recommend taking fun, candid shots. Run around, use props, let your kids play, and most important: Have a good time. The best photos are those that truly capture the love and joy of your family.

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Portrait Mode

Use portrait mode for studio-quality images. This allows you to take highly detailed, crisp images of your subject while keeping the background softer and out of focus, just like the pros.

You can also move the slider on the scale at the bottom of the phone to determine the depth you’d like image to have (a.k.a. the “blurriness” of the image). By making the background blurry, it draws more attention to the main image and gives you a studio quality appearance.

Burst Mode

When trying to capture candid moments, you may need to select burst mode. This is a quick and easy modification to your shutter button that allows you to take 10 shots per second.

Just tap and hold your finger on the shutter, and your phone does the rest. I recommend using this when capturing action, silhouettes, and, of course, children who never stand still.

Try Unique Perspective

Take your photos with a different perspective. First time photographers often shoot at only chest level, but there are plenty of more interesting points of view that will make your photo stand out. Don’t be afraid to try taking pictures from either a really high point or getting on the ground and shooting upwards.

Third Party Apps

Use third party photography apps and filters to enhance your images. There are loads of incredible options that can do anything from adding cool artistic effects, to whitening your teeth, and removing a stranger that photo bombed your shot. Two that I use and love are AirBrush and Motionleap.

Family photos are the perfect way to capture the joy of your children at every stage of their precious lives. I adore looking at past pictures and seeing how my boys have grown over the years. I truly cherish every portrait we have taken. I know my kids will appreciate the memories when they are adults . . . maybe not my older son, since there is one year he was shirtless with a bow tie.

Hope these tips help encourage you to capture more family photos and commemorate the magical moments of each passing year.

Laura Riley
Laura is a mother, children’s book author, journalist, and teacher. Her love for story telling began at Ball State University where she studied broadcast journalism. Upon graduation, she went on to work for affiliate NBC and Fox News stations. In 2021, she was able to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming an author when she published her first book,The Legend of the Stinky Sock. As a junior high journalism teacher, Laura feels privileged to share her passion for writing with her amazing students and hopes to inspire a new generation of reporters. Laura grew up in the Chicago suburbs and currently lives in Flower Mound with her husband and two boys. For more about Laura visit her website or follow her on Instagram.


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