Don't Be Scared Of Family Photography
Families themselves are far more terrifying than family photography. Getting everyone together for a portrait is usually one way of guaranteeing that you'll get some peace and quiet for a minute or two. You can go to a professional photographer to get a family portrait, but most families opt to try and do it themselves. Here is how family photography is usually done.
Find A Good Holiday
If you want to get a portrait of only your immediate family, then you don't need to make any special schedules in order to force them to the shoot. But if you want to get as many family members as possible into the pictures, then you are best setting such family photography up around the holidays, not only when most people can get together, but are usually nicely dressed. The only other times your family gets together is for weddings and funerals.
Get A Tripod
Depending on how large your family is, you will need wither a tripod. Most cameras sold have a timer feature. If you can't drag some poor date of one of your family members to do the family photography, then you will have to use the timer. But the camera's lens needs to be level with (at least) the faces of the adult members of the family. For this, you need a tripod. It's also a good idea to know how your camera's timer works BEFORE everyone lines up for the picture taking.
Get A Ladder
If your family could fill an average movie theatre, then you don't have a snowball's chance of getting them all in the same shot with a regular camera on a tripod. You need an aerial shot. If you have well over one hundred family members, just shell out for a professional photographer, because trying to do the family photography yourself will be laughable at best, pathetic at worst.
However, if there is only thirty or forty of you, then perhaps getting some schmuck up on a ladder to look down on the small crowd of family members will get everyone into the shot. You do have to be sure that your camera has a Panoramic lens or feature that can not only fit everyone in, but bring up details. After going through the trouble of setting up these shots, it's only fair that you should be able to recognize who is standing there like a store mannequin in them.