As far as staged photographs go, the family portrait is perhaps the most contrived. And given the often forced smiles, the uncomfortable positioning and the sometimes cheesy backgrounds, the potential for producing incredibly awkward photos is massive.
Take this first shot, for example. It’s almost as if the girl on the left is giggling at just how much the others will hate this photo – and their terrifying haircuts – in the years to come.
These girls always wanted a brother to play with; they probably should have shut him in a box before ever taking this shot, though.
Maybe she doesn’t like the photographer. Perhaps she’s sucking on a lemon. Perchance plaid isn’t her thing. Whatever this girl isn’t enamored with, though, her far happier family members will surely never let her forget this classic group portrait.
Dad’s shorts make this photo awkward all by themselves, but the son’s sudden attempt at matricide puts it straight into the realm of the disturbing.
Not only does this not-exactly-chirpy family have a collective passion for polo shirts; they also apparently share a fondness for felines. None of them, however, seem to know how to hold one of their animals properly, making this shot as uncomfortable for the cats as it is for the viewer.
It seems that only the dad here knows how awkward this über-twee shot is going to look.
There’s just something a little bit strange about four members of the same family posing on an outstretched tree trunk this closely. It’s made even more cringeworthy, though, by the collective white shirt/blue jeans dress code.
If families like going to fantasy conventions and dressing up as their favorite characters, then more power to them. When Dad becomes a bare-chested centaur with dollar bills strapped to his arm, however, none of those happy memories should be preserved on film.
Amazingly, the dad in this photo is actually the least likely to regret it having ever been taken. The others, though, will probably want the shot erased from history – and let’s hope they’ve never worn double denim since.
Check out the look of resignation on these kids’ faces. They just knew that Dad wouldn’t bother putting a shirt on ahead of this al fresco family portrait, and it’s hard not to feel their pain.
This shot will give all the kids in it horrendous flashbacks when they go to see The Force Awakens.
This huge family must have really enjoyed their mid-1980s vacation in Hawaii. When they later reconvened for a group portrait, it’s a shame, then, that they didn’t put as much effort into the background as they did into their attire.
Maybe this is a Christmas tradition in their house. Or maybe the dad of this unfortunate family just enjoys ruining Yuletide memories. We’d put more money on the latter.
These guys boldly went where no family had gone before with this Star Trek-themed group portrait, which they all – strangely – look pretty proud of. Live long and prosper, kids – long enough to regret this shot.
The pregnant woman here isn’t exactly super-flexible, so why the decision to lie her in a tree was made is anybody’s guess. And she naturally doesn’t seem too happy about it, either.
This is wrong on precisely five levels, and nothing – not the black-and-white toning nor the abstract background – can ever make it right. We just hope they have the money tucked away for the kids’ therapy bills.
Had this family spawned one more child, this rainbow formation would have been perfect. Actually, no, not perfect – just wrong and even more awkward.
It’s hard not to feel for the sons in this shot, especially when considering what they’re feeling. No mother should ever put her offspring through this amount of weird.
“Okay Dad, we get it, you prefer running to skiing, but there’s no need to look so smug about it.” Still, he probably won’t look so smug once he’s looked at this photo once or twice.
When your dad’s a martial arts black belt, it’s actually pretty cool. When he insists on showing off spread-eagled in a family portrait… yeah, not quite so awesome.
The tiny stool really makes this family portrait. And so do the thrift store-style ’80s outfits, perms and mullets, all of which should never see the light of day again.
For our own sanity, we’re convincing ourselves that this was taken as a joke. But someone should look into this woman’s family tree regardless.
But is there really a better time than Christmas to get together for an embarrassing family photo? It seems not. Here’s a list of the weirdest festive snaps, and some of them are so strange they’ll leave you wondering how on earth the photographer wasn’t given the sack – and no, not the kind you’d find under the tree.
Mom and Dad must have been trying to convey a message, with mom dressed as an angel. But that message got lost when Dad decided to wear a diaper. Even the kid’s expression seems to say, “WTF?!”
Nothing says “spirit of Christmas” quite like some strategically placed fig leaves and a lovely bunch of coconuts. The kids’ faces convey a mixture of hypothermia and the terrible realization that this photo will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
It’s always cute when families count their pets as part of the family. Here we have the dog, cockatoo, budgie and green parrot. We can’t work out if the goose is a pet or Christmas dinner.
They thought that collectively they’d look like a Christmas tree. But it just looks as though they’re each wearing a trash-bag straitjacket – which is apt for such an insanely garbage idea.
That these parents were clearly proud and wanted to show off their children’s swimming achievements was understandable. Why they felt it was appropriate for the Christmas family photo is less clear, although they are plumbing the depths.
The guy standing to the left of this picture could be mimicking holding a gun to his head. Or maybe he’s pointing to his brain knowingly. He knows this photo is a really bad idea.
This couple has taken glad tidings of comfort and joy to a whole new level. In fact, the distraught look in the guy’s eyes suggests he may have just been told that Santa is as real as the fireplace behind them.
This family looks thrilled at their concept of dressing up as Christmas lights. But the electrician has a knowing smile that says he should probably plug them in and save them from having to live this photo down.
Here is Santa waving at the camera as he swooshes past with his trusty reindeer. Any perceived innuendo is not in keeping with the festive spirit and there will be no presents for anyone who sees it.
In a deleted scene from the nativity, the Three Wise Men entered the manger and offered Jesus gifts of karate chops, flying kicks and nunchucks. Even the look on this baby’s face seems to say, “Seriously guys, c’mon!”
A picture paints a thousand words, as the saying goes. There are five words that this picture seems to scream louder than any others – “Get. Me. Out. Of. Here!” Cheer up, guys – it’s Christmas!
Nothing says “happy families” in the festive season quite like matching Christmas pajamas. It seems like a good idea for the participants. Unfortunately for the casual observer, it looks nothing short of ho-ho-horrifying.
Perhaps this family were saving themselves from the horrendous sight of their atrocious Christmas attire. Or maybe they were demonstrating the best way to view this photo.
All Dad wants for Christmas is some pajamas. And maybe a dash of dignity. Mom’s grimace seems to suggest that all she wants is a one-way ticket out of here.
There’s something about this festive greeting that seems somewhat at odds with the spirit of Christmas. We can’t quite put our finger on what it is. Although the baby can, rather worryingly.
Dress up as a Christmas tree, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. What they didn’t mention was that they’d look a bit silly and the whole of the internet would be laughing at them, not with them.
It’s pretty amazing how the kids are the only people who don’t understand what’s going on in this photo, yet they’re the only ones who look uncomfortable with it. Even the newborn is cringing.
This family couldn’t wait to spread Christmas joy and cheer to all their friends. Wait, that’s not quite right. They couldn’t begin to spread Christmas joy and cheer to all their friends.
For many people, cats and dogs are part of the family. When pet falcons are invited into the photo, though, it can get a little weird – as anyone who received this card will know all too well.