Let's face it, taking family group photos is a pain.

You can browse Pinterest all day long and see beautiful families in cute styled outfits with beaming smiles. However, reality is often way less magical and full of tears, groans, and eye rolls. With Easter rapidly approaching, you and your family (and maybe some extended family members too) will probably be putting on your fancy clothes and want a group photo. It doesn't have to be painful, and I want to share a few tips and tricks for getting a decent family photo with your iPhone camera.

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I'll be honest with you - timing is crucial. It doesn't matter how good your photo taking skillz are if it's not timed right. If you have nap-age kiddos, avoid taking photos an hour or two before naptime and 30 mins or so after naptime. This will ensure that those tired meltdowns won't happen in the middle of your group shot. Try to avoid anything right before dinner too, because people will be hangry and short-tempered!

For nice lighting, aim to take photos between the hours of 7-10am and 4-7pm. This will eliminate the harsh sunlight and avoid dark shadows that obscure faces. I'm always a fan of outdoor photos, with some spring blooms and greenery in the background, but inside is okay too! Just make sure you're not standing directly under a light fixture (because shadows).

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Camera settings

I know that typically an iPhone decides which exposure looks best for you, but this rarely looks very good. Most of the time, the exposure is set just a little too bright or too dark. To change it, look at live view of the photo, tap on your subject to set focus, and hold your finger down for a few seconds. A little yellow sun slider will appear on the screen. You can use your finger to slide the sun up and down in order to adjust the brightness so that it looks a little more even.

Another key setting to adjust is the focus. I see so many iPhone shots that are out of focus! I could go on and on about why and how to adjust it, but I won't. Just read this article here.

Final settings tip: use the burst mode on your iPhone camera to snag a good photo. If somebody blinks, there's a good chance that one of the photos from the burst will have them not blinking!

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This is a key element to getting a decent group shot. If you hire a pro, they make posing feel like a breeze and seem to have an endless number of ways for your family to position themselves. But it's Easter, and you just want an updated group shot with Grandma and Grandpa, not a full session. Don't worry - I got you.

If you're all standing, Mom and Dad should be in the center, facing each other with a hug or an arm around each other's backs. Kiddos can fill in the sides, younger ones can stand in front, and babies can be held in Mom or Dad's arms. Really, the thing to aim for here is connectedness. Everyone should be touching in some way - whether it's hugging, hands on shoulders, leaning on someone, holding hands, or grabbing someone's arm. Connectedness brings warmth and familiarity to a photo, and gets rid of the "what do I do with my hands" question. If Grams and Gramps are with you, they can be the pair in the center. It can also be nice to have them sit in a chair or stool in front, as a sort of position of honor. Try to avoid standing everyone in a straight line, since that can look awkward!

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One last thing before you're ready to go crush your Easter family photos - outfits. If anyone is wearing a pattern, try to have them not stand near other people wearing a pattern to avoid any clashing. Also, break up similar outfit colors within your family grouping. For instance, if three people are wearing white, try to have them interspersed among those who aren't wearing white - no clumping similar colors. This will make the image more pleasing to the eye and create visual variety for a more interesting photo.

Honestly, this is just a personal pet peeve of mine, so take it or leave it if you like the look. I know many families love their all white shirts with blue jeans beach photos, but I think it looks like a monochromatic blob. Being a little cheesy can make for a good family memory, so if that's what you want to do, go for it.

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So there you go, a few easy tricks to getting a good family photo on your smartphone! Timing, posing, settings, outfits - it's a lot to think about for sure. That's why I recommend leaving it to the pros who can do all of that like it's no brainer. Happy Easter and enjoy your family, ham, and deviled eggs this Sunday!