Take Family Portraits That Break the Rules. Because You Answer to No One.

family with silly glasses

Since time immemorial, family portraits have been constructed thus:

Everybody put your nice clothes on and pose in front of this decorative interior/ body of water/ big rock. Now smile.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if you already have that picture and want something new, here are some ideas.

1) Work with contrasts: John Olson did a brilliant series for LIFE in 1970 of rock stars with their parents, including David Crosby, Frank Zappa, and Eric Clapton. The whole set’s on Google now that LIFE has put their archives online.

How you can do it: Olson contrasted scruffy rock stars with their clean-cut families. Try posing your goth cousin with Grandma in her Sunday best and you’ll get the same effect.

2) Use downtime: Katrina D’Autremont takes advantage of quiet moments like watching TV or resting on the comfy chair. Some of her best family photos don’t even have people in them, just the space they occupy.

How you can do it: D’Autremont uses stillness as her ally. Take photos of your family when they’re not posing, just being themselves. And remember to document the rooms and things that mean home to you.

3) Be a complete spaz: Akihiro Furuta takes hilarious (and definitely memorable) family pictures using silly outfits, odd situations, and matching costumes.

How you can do it: Furuta dresses his family in goofy costumes and has a lot of fun. If you must have matching outfits, go for ponchos and bunny-ears instead of white shirts and khakis.

70s Rock Stars with Their Parents
Keep clicking “more” to see the whole set.
via FFFFOUND!

Katrina D’Autremont’s Family Portraits
via Conscientious

Akihiro Furuta’s Goofy Family
via Swiss Miss

Photo credits: Akihiro Furuta and © Katrina D’Autremont

old man at tableman with accordion and doggirl with christmas tree