I found out after purchasing a DSLR that the ‘landscape’ mode only makes adjustments to the aperture (setting it to a small size OR large value) and slower shutter speed, using it for shooting a family portrait is the right thing to do.

Usually, when shooting portraits of a family group, we naturally choose the ‘portrait’ setting on the camera. This usually sets the camera to a smaller aperture size (larger value). As this setting makes the depth of focus shallow, only a one or two persons in the family group will end up being in focus in the family portrait.

To accommodate all members of the family, we need to increase the aperture number (make the aperture size small), so that the depth of focus becomes wider and accommodates more objects in the scene.

While this advice (using Landscape mode for family / group portraits) sounds counter-intuitive, the camera settings matter the most and it is important to have more objects in focus. I found this out when shooting a few family members with a tiger (on a recent vacation), where choosing the ‘portrait’ mode ended up with the tiger more in focus, while the people were a bit blurred.