What is your advice for taking a great family picture? (Note: I do not wish to have a statuesque portrait of my toddler and newborn in khaki and white on the beach — this is a real family picture. So lets keep it real.) Thanks. — Leslie

Loving all these questions! And this is no exception, Leslie. We should probably turn to a photographer to answer this one, but I’ll do my best.

1) Take the time to find a great photographer. Look through portfolios. Keep your eye open for someone who’s style you like. I love my family photos by Candace Stringham. I love Jared & Liz’s family photos by Jonathon Canlas. I love my portrait by Justin Hackworth. And I love Nie’s family photos by Blue Lily. But all have very different styles.

2) Once you’ve scheduled a date with a photographer, take some time to think about what you want. Talk over your ideas and plans with the photographer. Or look to them for guidance. You may want to discuss whether or not you need a photo stylist. Here’s a post I wrote about getting ready for our Central Park photo shoot.

3) As far as family photo trends go, this is what I’ve observed: 10 or 15 years ago it was all about matching denim shirts. (Awesome!) Then. DSLR cameras became more affodrable and thus widespread. Suddenly, everyone was a photographer. And family photos trended to candid, up close shots — photographed by your best friend or neighbor. What’s happening now? A more editorial style — as if the family photo is being shot for your favorite magazine.

My main advice for right this minute: feel free to pick a color scheme, but you don’t need to wear matching shirts. Unless you’re going for this look. Which is admittedly rad (I’m #7).

What about you, Dear Readers? What do you do to ensure great family photos?