15 Awkward Family Photos That Make Us Super Uncomfortable

From inappropriate selfies to offensive professional portraits, these families failed hard at taking a photo.

We are nudging into fall, which means that this is the season for family photos. Some people fork over hundreds of dollars to photographers to capture their family in the perfect light. Others take their portraits into their own hands—by setting up a tripod or just taking a selfie with everyone’s face in it.

Whatever the style of the photograph, no matter the year—there are always families that just manage to fail at taking a photo. And they fail HARD. They somehow cross the line from appropriate to revolting, sometimes nearing on offensive. Other times their photos come off plain ol’ creepy.

While I would not be the happiest to find my family photo on the list, it is absolutely hilarious to view the crazy, weird, inappropriate pictures that families have taken…and then posted on the internet. It takes a big person to allow the world to see their family at its most embarrassing but I would like to say, on behalf of all of us that get a good laugh at the expense of others, thanks. Thanks to the folks who have donated their pride to the greater good, by allowing us to look at these hilarious, disturbing family photos.

15Too Far?

Remember that one time when it was super offensive to model wearing a Native American headdress? Because it reinforces stereotypes and it is a form of cultural appropriation? Yeah, this family did not get that memo. In fact, they took dressing up to a new level and the entire family participated in the event.

I wonder what the context of this photo was—did the family have a passion for Native American culture? Did they really like feathers? Were they super into Halloween and used that as an excuse to get a family portrait done with all of them in costume?

Also, why are they so angry? Is this a political statement about the way the natives were treated when the Europeans arrived and took their land? Murdered their people?

14I'll Catch You If You Fall...

Or not.

Am I the only one who has seen photos like this, where the mom and dad are swinging their child in the air, and thought “What happens if they drop him?” This. This happens.

You always have this glorious family photo in mind—something that you can send out to your friends and family be like, “Yes, I have arrived. My family is beautiful, I am beautiful. I am happy.” And then you get your photos back and you realize that you may indeed be a very content, loving family, it does not always show up in photographs.

I just hope that these parents can laugh about the photo and maybe used this one as their Christmas card. Wouldn’t that be great to open your mail box and get this gem from your friends?

13Where's The Dummy?

This family is totally normal. In fact, I will bet you that this happens every day; a family requests an appointment with a professional photographer in a studio setting. “We would like you to capture the entirety of our family as whole,” they will say.

They enter the studio and the photographer sees the dog and thinks, “Ugh, the addition of a dog makes my job so much harder.” And then he will see the cat and think, “Oh my gosh. They are bringing a cat in here? For their family photo? This is going to be tough.”

But then he sees the ventriloquist dummy and he sighs with relief that finally, this family has provided a sense of normalcy to their portrait. Because what family doesn’t bring a doll to their photo shoot?

12When Clothing Is Optional

I would like to think that there are a few guidelines that we can all agree on when it comes to family portraiture; the main being that if you are going to frame and possible send out a photo, you should probably be wearing your clothes.

My favorite thing about this photo is the way that the couple is staring off to the left—what is that they are seeing over their? Their pride?

What were the photographer’s instructions at this point? Was he like, “OK, so both of you take off your tops. And then Mike, you just get as close to Karen as you can. Yeah push your mustache right up again her mullet. And then both of you look over there—pretend you see big horned antelope—yes, just like that.”

11The Headgear Family

Like getting head gear was not bad enough, can you imagine being in a family where each of your children required a set? You’re looking at about $6,000 worth of equipment right there!

This picture is so funny on so many levels—whose idea was it to have them pose for their family photos with the head gear on? Head gear is removable, right? You can take it off and put it back on in a few minutes. Are the parents just that sickly hilarious that wanted to capture their three children in all of their teenaged awkwardness? If so, I applaud you.

Furthermore, these are professional photos--did the photographer not suggest that maybe it would be better to see the kids’ faces instead of the reflection of all that metal?

10The Awkward Pose

Wouldn’t you hate to be the photographer that took this picture? She probably was so concentrated on her shutter speed, F-stop, and ISO that she did not look too closely at the position of the dad’s body in relation with that of his dog.

The photog was probably paying attention to normal things like making sure that everyone’s shirts were buttoned and that their collars were turned down. Was everyone smiling? Were their eyes all open? Did their posture and head positioning accentuate their best qualities?

Checking for bestiality was probably not high on her list.

The dog is the only in the picture who seems to have noticed how brutal the photo-shoot was going to turn out. His face is like, “Oh girl. If you could only see what I’m seeing…”

9Digging For Pepperoni

I have many questions about this photo that will change my level of discomfort; is this precious little child groping his mother or his grandmother? The woman (girl?) holding him looks young to be his mama, but she also looks too old to be his sister.

He seems to feel right at home digging for pepperonis in the other woman’s bra, so I want to say that this, in fact, is his mother. I am further compelled by the older woman’s nonchalant attitude when it comes to the groping,—you get used to kids sticking their hands everywhere when you are a mom, so much so you start to not feel it.

But really, whoever’s bosom the child is fumbling, thank you for sharing your wildly hilarious (and relatable) photo with us creeps on the internet.

8The Background Is Everything

Any photographer will assure you that background is everything; you can be clever in how to accomplish a great background, but it is a must. Everyone has their own opinion on what the perfect backdrop to a family portrait is, for right now the blurred, bokeh backgrounds are all of the rage. For some time portraits were set in front of beautiful landscapes, while other eras favored the studio backsplash of one solid color.

But I think that we can all agree that animals forking behind you is a no-no in family portraiture.

I would assume that the family has no idea what is going on behind them but look at the dad’s posture—he looks really uncomfortable. Maybe he can sense the drama that is unfolding mere feet from his family?

7Playful Strangulation

I have to admit that after seeing Christmas card after Christmas card featuring perfect families all lined up in a row, this photo is quite refreshing. Look at them-- they are having a great time!

Is the dad playfully strangling his son? Yes! Is it clear whether the woman in the photo is the mother or sister? No! But that creates intrigue; it pulls the viewer in. Instead flipping past this family photo, it requires that you look more closely at it and take every detail in. See how sweaty the dad’s face is and how his cheeks are turning red? He is giving this photo shoot 100% effort and I think that it really paid off.

It really gives off that, “Oh, dad—you didn’t!” vibe and I dig it.

6Picture Perfect

This picture has all the makings for a great photo—beautiful flowers adorn the background, the mother is dressed in cute clothes, and has her darling child is beside her. Clearly this photo shoot was a planned occasion.

Any parent who has ever tried to take a family portrait will relate to this picture—you have such high hopes going in, and they generally get crashed to the ground. Small children do not respond well to directions. In fact, they generally do the opposite.

I just love that this mama has taken the time to find the humor in the situation, and then post it on the internet to make the rest of us feel better. Parenting is never perfect. Pretending to be flawless sets the bar too high and makes other parents feel like garbage.

5Muddy Times

There are some ideas that just sound better in theory. Like this one—you know the family was probably thinking, “Oh, wouldn’t it look nice if pretended to sling a little sand at each other? We could make footprints in the sand…”

But if you have ever been to the ocean, you know that this is an accident waiting to happen. Wet sand it like cement; it clings to your body and to your clothes. It does not look like you would picture sand looking—it isn’t clean or fun. It gets stuck in your arm hair and somehow it always ends up in your mouth.

Luckily these people will always have this photo to remind themselves that dressing in white and playing in the sand is a recipe for disaster.

4Smiles All Around

If you have ever tried to take a family photo with children in it, than you knows it is like trying to capture leprechauns. Their smiles are elusive, they always have their fingers up their noses, or they are closing they eyes. But then try adding a dog to the mix. And then another dog.

I think it is safe to say that this family was doomed from the start. But you got to love the photographer for trying. You know she’s thinking, “Omg. This is never going to happen.” But I bet when the dogs started fighting, lunging at each other, she quickly realized that maybe she could capture something else in this shoot-- real freakin’ life. Because in real life, dogs don’t sit and look at the camera.

3Bowl Cuts For Everyone!

All of us children of the 80’s remember this haircut well; the bowl cut made its debut in kindergartens across the nation—thought it was typically a style mostly worn by boys.

You can see that this family had no patience for diversity or uniqueness. This mom was probably so tired from taking care of five kids that she just sat down each one, regardless of their gender, and gave them the same haircut. She probably placed the bowl lovingly atop their head, and used her trusty shears to get just the right shape. And at the end she’d say, “Wow, darling. That looks fabulous.”

Maybe this was a parenting technique that cut down on the name calling and teasing, because you can’t make fun of your sibling’s haircut if you have the same one…

2Big Sister Ain't Happy

You always picture the way that your perfect family will perform; how life’s milestone will be measured by the smiles on their faces and their happiness. When you are pregnant with your second child, you imagine countless times what it will feel like to introduce your existing child with their new baby sibling. Will it be love at first sight? Will she take her little brother’s hand into her own? Will she sing “Twinkle, Twinkle” to him softly?

In all reality, the answer is probably no, just as this family discovered. Big sisters aren’t always happy about the addition of another into the family, especially when it is taking all of mama’s time and affection.

This little girl is embodying the emotion that many young siblings feel—and can you blame her?

1Never Ditch The Cat

There are a number of amazing things about this photo, so I am not sure where to begin—maybe with the elephant, ahem, cat in the room? I can picture taking a photo with your feline friend if you are in the comfort of your own home, sitting on the couch or lying in bed. But to actually bring a cat with you to a professional photography studio? This must have been a fad in the 1980’s that I was too young to pick up on.

I am really thankful that the photographer chose a crop that properly shows the shortness of the man’s denim shorts, coupled with his fancy tie. There are just not enough pictures out there that showcase the awkwardness of a man’s thighs, especially in a portrait.

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