Q: You’re at a family gathering and don’t want nonfamily members to be in the group pictures. How do you break the news to your kids’ significant others?


A: If it’s going to be a potentially hurtful conversation for your kids or their partners, work around it. If you tell the photographer ahead of time what you want, he or she usually can shoot around the problem.

With a digital camera, unlike film cameras for which you had to pay for the film and the processing, you can shoot a hundred or more images at no extra cost. Find a balance of shots — including and excluding significant others — then spend the remainder of the time interacting and having fun. No one ends up feeling left out. Later, keep just the photos you want.

KATE BEK, lifestyle and family ­portrait photographer


A: There’s a simple solution:  Announce, “This will be the group photo with everyone now, and then we will reverse it to how it all began — to the core unit.” You could do it the opposite way, too. Either way, work it so that you get the people you actually want in the picture.

If someone feels left out once you take photos of just the original family, tell them you’re sorry that they feel that way and politely point out that the family unit existed before he or she was a part of it.

Share in advance that the photos will be in different groups, so people aren’t surprised when they arrive. Tell your child first, and have him or her warn the partner.

MISTY HARRIS, etiquette and life skills expert