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Family Portrait Holiday

Updated on February 5, 2017
Family portraits must be updated to include the Beckham daughter.
Family portraits must be updated to include the Beckham daughter. | Source
Obama 2013 family portrait with President Obama and Michelle Obama's relatives.
Obama 2013 family portrait with President Obama and Michelle Obama's relatives. | Source

Christmas Family Portrait

Logistics of getting all family members under one roof is one of the reasons why many families do not have an updated family portrait.

Christmas might be the ideal time, but it needs some advance warning so that folks can iron their best dresses and press some men's suits or traditional attire. It's a big project that needs a coordinator to help determine the following:

  • does everybody like the idea of a family portrait?
  • which room will be used for the photography or will it be outdoors?
  • should it be done on the 24th of December or earlier?
  • should the family hire a professional photographer?

Royalty and Family Portraits

You might not like the idea that there are kings and queens in the year 2015, but you must admit that they lead the pack when it comes to fantastic family portraits.

It is the palaces. They have these magnificent rooms where they pose for family portraits. Carl XV1 Gustaf is the Sveriges Konung (King of Sweden).

This family photo demonstrates three things:

  1. There is no rule that says family portraits should be in a studio.

  2. They don’t have to be indoors.

  3. The photo also demonstrates that new born babies are an excuse to have family portraits.

Family Portrait Hotel Room

If you do not belong to the Swedish or British royal family, you just have to creative about where to have a family portrait. A hotel might be the answer.

Instagram enables people toting iPhones to take photos and instantly send them all over the world.

However, a family portrait still needs some planning and future generations will really appreciate it, when 'selfies' and Instagram have been made redundant by whatever new technology is still simmering in Bangalore India. India is the third largest base for start-ups after the U.S. and U.K.

Booking some rooms in a hotel for a day or two might be the best solution to bring people together for a family portrait. Families book hotels for wedding receptions, graduations, birthday parties and other family gatherings.

A hotel photo shoot can help re-unite nieces, nephews and grandparents who do not even see each other for Thanksgiving or December holidays.

Taking a family portrait might be boring for teenagers but they will need those photos in future when they have their own children. Who knows? They might find the idea of checking into a hotel exciting. No. Cool. They will find it cool.


Who should be in the family portrait? The easiest would be the family advertisement: mum, dad, son and daughter. I seldom see advertisements with mum, dad, four girls or two sons and one daughter.

There will be many phone calls, e-mails and text messages if the parents are in Ottawa and their son and daughter work in Toronto. Better still. The kids can give them a gift by buying their airline tickets and the family portrait is shot in Vancouver.

Giving your parents a 40 years wedding anniversary gift will involve a lot of work if they have four children who are now parents. Cost will also be a problem in terms of who pays for what. You know family and money.

The bottom line is that the family portrait does not have to be taken where you live. It should be a mix n match of fun and travel. You can even drive to the next province, sleep in a hotel, catch a music festival and of course, shoot the portrait.


You need a professional photographer for the shoot. It will be cheaper to use photographers in the city where the photo will be taken. Problem. You do not know their work. Will they show up? Some websites have great promotional photos but the photographers are no longer in business.

Most newspapers have online editions. You can email someone who covers events for the local area where you will shoot the family portrait. They will know photographers who are currently active. Take it from there.

Choose one. Hook up to Skype and iron out the details: the number of people coming, arrival time, fees and what you expect from him/her. The photographer will also send you a list of what he needs in a hotel room that will be a photo studio for a few hours.

Portrait clothes

  1. Is the tuxedo back from the cleaners or you will rent one?

  2. Should you go shopping or the peach suit you bought 10 years ago is still okay?

  3. For Nigerian women, who will tie the gele for you? Can you do it yourself?

  4. Philippines. Will all the women wear the baro’t saya?

  5. The kimono? Are all the pieces there?

  6. Which sari are you going to wear and are the jewels cleaned?

  7. When last did you wear your kilt? When you were in Edinburgh?

  8. Are dresses and shirts pressed?

Hotel Manager

Hotels use beautiful photos on their website, but there is nothing to beat visiting the hotel. Call or send the hotel manager an email. Most managers would be more than pleased to show you around. You need:

  • A conference room that can be turned into a photography studio.

  • Some hotel suites can serve this purpose quite nicely.

  • Hair and make-up can be crazy so there should be a room for that.

  • The room serving as a studio must have a waiting room where family members can sit until they are called in.

  • The photographer is the director of the show. We don’t want family members shouting ‘Say cheese.’

  • Plenty of sunshine streaming into the room will be great.

  • You are in Belgium? It will not be possible to inspect the hotel in Namur if you are in Antwerp so just believe what the manager tells you. The hotel’s reputation is at stake.

Advantages for hotels

  • They can create a new niche for themselves: we cater for family portraits

  • They do not have to wait for conferences. They can partition big rooms into make-up, dressing rooms for males and females and catering.

  • They can offer complimentary fruit platters.

  • If the hotel does a good job, the people in the family portrait will be return guests or recommend it.


Ideally, people will pay for their hotel rooms, unless it is a wedding anniversary or 21st birthday gift. Family members can split the cost of the room to be used as a studio.

Who will pay for the photographer and frames for the portrait? All photographers shoot digital nowadays so you will see the shots that will end up in the framed portrait.

How many framed portraits do you want? The photographer will show you different frames. Do you want fake gold, silver or pine frames?

The cost of the framed portrait will depend of sizes. Royalty has framed portraits that cover a whole wall because they live in humungous castles. You will order smaller frames family can put on their desks or workshops. Order more frames. They make ideal gifts.


The hotel might have a beautiful lawn and garden but shooting outside is not recommended because of mother nature. One minute she is smiling like a bride, the next second she sulks and unleash a deluge of tears. You control the situation when you shoot indoors. Ask sitcom directors.


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