Not long ago, my son expressed his desire for a family photo. I know this is usually the domain of the mother but I've always been happiest behind the camera, not in front of it. Still, who turns down a request like that? Then I stumbled onto this photo of the Holden family, taken by the (amazing!) Cathe Holden of Just Something I Made. I thought it was such a lovely and poignant photograph and it reminded me that a family portrait can be whatever you want it to be.
The good news is that children generally respond well to this type of photography, similar to the way in which they're creative and spontaneous in their artwork - until they learn the "rules" and become more literal in their interpretations.
This type of photography works for me as well. For years, I've been shooting photos of people from behind. Somehow, they've become some of my favorite photos. I just find that there's much to discover about a person when you take away the distraction of the face. (It's possible you're shaking your head at this point and thinking I'm rather bizarre. You wouldn't be the only one - I made a C in my commercial art class in high school, precisely because I refused to draw faces.) I guess I'm just better at divining the essence of a person from their body language rather than their expression.
So we're going to take that family photo. It probably won't end up in our holiday card (confession number two - I rarely ever get our holiday cards out at all), but hopefully it will capture the essence of who we are as a family and how we relate to each other. And hopefully, years from now, I won't look at it and think how dated it feels, but rather how timeless it's become.