Don't even act like you're too cool for this. You aren't. The family portrait—taken at Sears in front of a gray backdrop or in your immaculate, Rococo-inspired living room—will be around long after the fossils of cockroaches decay.
When you're home (or not) this Christmas, take a family portrait. It can be earnest, a parody or just a complete reboot of the idea as we know it. I just ask that you take it the photo yourself rather than hire out.
Our lead shot was shared by Flickr member Peter Galvin. In case you hadn't seen a family portrait before, now you have!
A tripod. A timer (while you run into the shot). These are good ideas you already knew.
But you may consider lighting. Family portraits are all about clarity and detail (though, feel free to buck this trend), and the key to all that is light. Even if you don't have a lighting set to call your own, a simple bounce board (reflective white paper) can do wonders in the right conditions...though one probably won't be enough, depending on the size of your family.
Also, feel free to enlist the assistance of Photoshop or any strange photographic technique to put your own spin on this.
The Rules - READ THESE
1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, not me.
5. Include 800px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
Send your best photo by Monday, December 27th at 8AM Eastern to email@example.com with "Family Portrait" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameFamilyPortrait.jpg (800px wide) and FirstnameLastnameFamilyPortraitWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!
And if you'd like to share more of your family/home during the holidays, my site Life, Panoramic would love to have you.