Ask Design Mom: Urban Family Photos

November 29, 2006

Dearest Readers, I am off helping with the Boutique today and am begging your help.

Allison Anderson writes: Dear Designmom, My family and I are getting our annual family photos taken for our Christmas cards. This year we want to do something fresh, artistic and different. Perhaps urban, to reflect our current life. We hired a photographer, now we just need some ideas. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Because of the boutique, I have not been able to give this excellent question the attention it deserves. Please help me answer by offering your clever ideas as usual. I’ll start.

1) For an urban-looking photo, I like the idea of showing your family on a busy sidewalk doing a little window-shopping. Maybe one of the kids could even have their face pressed up against the window to get a better look at the goods.

2) I also think a photo of the family emerging from a car or taxi, bags on shoulders, scarfs and hats in place, could be cute to show an urban family on the go.

3) Another idea is to put the family around or near a park bench in a city park. City parks look different than suburban parks. If you can get some pigeons in the shot, even better.

Illustration from Getty Images.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous November 29, 2006 at 8:24 am

I love your ideas. Is there something special about the city they live in, maybe go to that and have their picture (kind of a cliche’, but still cute). I love the idea of a taxi and the park bench. Hmmm…I keep picturing a child hanging from a street sign, but that’s probably just because I know my son would be doing that!


2 sara stratford November 29, 2006 at 9:18 am

we’ve taken some really cool pictures down in the subway. totally depends on how willing your kids are to stand still, but when a train is arriving you slow your shutter speed so the shutter is open for like 1 or 2 seconds, and the train is blurred out behind you. it looks really neat but again, hard to stay still for that long without blurring the subjects as well as the train.

we’ve also taken pictures in front of our favorite graffiti wall right on the BQE in brooklyn, at our favorite park with the urban surroundings, and on the roof of our old building.


3 Debbie W. November 29, 2006 at 10:09 am

Originality is so nice when it comes to Christmas cards. ONe idea: find some of your favorite local postacard scenes and then try to replicate the shot with your family in it. Good luck!


4 liz s November 29, 2006 at 10:33 am

my friends in new york had a cute christmas card one year with a picture of them in a taxi and it said at the bottom ‘it’s lovely weather for a taxi ride together with you’. it was so cute


5 Anonymous November 29, 2006 at 4:41 pm

I’m not tired of the horse-drawn carriages that some cities offer.

I love the subway idea.


6 liz November 29, 2006 at 6:24 pm

bridges- I love bridges, on then under them, in front of them.

I also like the idea of a SUPER early morning in the city in the middle of an empty street with a million high-rises behind you and your family walking across (shot as you cross the middle). dangerous but worth it.

we always wanted to hang our fav pairs of worn out shoes over a streetlight or telephone wire, but never did before we left the urban life.A shot of the shoes hanging and then a shot of just your family toes would be cool.


7 Anonymous November 29, 2006 at 7:31 pm

I live in suburbia and don’t have access to the things you are talking about…but I love outdoor cafes. The idea of a small family sitting at an outdoor cafe doing a project (like a cross word) together sounds cute. I like pictures that show a family interacting.


8 Factotum November 29, 2006 at 10:59 pm

I love those ideas, now I’ve just got to get to an urban city (perhaps NY?) and get some of these great shots!


9 Design Mom November 29, 2006 at 11:22 pm

So many good ideas — I have got to get a photographer lined up while I’m feeling inspired.

And Factotum, I definitely think you’re due for a trip to New York.


10 Allison Anderson December 1, 2006 at 2:06 pm

These are all such creative and fun ideas. I knew I could count on design mom and her friends! I really appreciate all the input.


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