10 Tips for your family photo session


1. Clothing

First and foremost, wear something you feel good in! Have your outfits chosen in advance and make sure they are comfortable and attractive. 

For girls, dresses, rompers, and hats/headbands work well. For boys, jeans and polos or a button-up shirt, or a T-shirt with a button-up over it can be cute, as well as overalls on the right age and personality. 

Many families choose matching colors or matching outfits.  That is totally fine, but you can also coordinate the color or style of the outfits to show each person's individually.  Pick similar tones and colors that are in the same family and avoid small stripes and loud patterns. 

Teenagers aren't usually super excited about family portraits. One way to make them dread it even more, is to force them to wear something they aren't interested in.  As long as the colors work well together let them be comfortable having their own style. After all, documenting your family's personalities is what family portraits are all about. 

***Hair accessories*** If anyone has long hair, be ready to put their hair up in case of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favorite accessories.


2. Props / Activities

If you prefer more natural/candid photos, this tip is for you. Some of our most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together.  This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face.  Do you love to read together?  Bring some books. 

Other ideas include: beach ball, blowing bubbles, playing a musical instrument, bike/scooters, singing/dancing, picnics, the ideas are endless. 

For infants/toddlers, a large blanket is a fun option for your family to sit/snuggle together. This can also be combined with their favorite toys, books, music, etc.

When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, your photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.  We can also photograph half of your session with candid photos and the other half with more formal poses so you get a good mix. 


3. Be well-rested and well-fed

If any little ones are attending the session, it is important to schedule it around their nap time so they are well-rested.  Also, don’t show up to the shoot on an empty stomach.  I meet many families who come to a photo session with lunch/dinner scheduled at the end.  If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the session. 


4. Extra time to get ready

Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready.  Be sure to leave plenty of time for dressing, and grooming.  When a family shows up to a session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session.  Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.


5. No Cheese

Please leave the “cheese” at home.  Many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese!”  Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs.  Step back, and allow us to naturally interact and talk with your children.  This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles.  Help us to capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally.


6. Mom's - Flatter yourselves

Yes, Moms, I'm talking to you. You're organizing, you're planning, you're making it happen, every day.  YOU deserve to look amazing in these photos. So don't forget about YOU.  Don't be afraid to play up your assets. If you have great legs, don't hesitate to show them off a little. 

On the flip side, if you have an area of insecurity, think about how you can minimize that with your outfit choice. Scarves/pashminas are great accessories that can totally help to highlight the best version of you.  If you have insecurities that you want to share with us - please do.  BUT, you're not allowed to do it during your session.  Let's get that out of the way beforehand, so it doesn't bring us down on session day.  

7. Dads - Challenge accepted

I know that many dads dread the family photo session. If this is you, I want you to know that I'm thrilled you're participating.  But our session isn't about smiling and posing, it's more about having a great time with your wife and kids.  The most important thing you can wear to picture day is a good attitude.  These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own someday. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.

8. Let's make some memories

Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air.  Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check.  Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family.  Have fun.  Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace.  Kiss.  Snuggle.  Play.  Doing these things will allow us to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family.  Show your photographer who you really are, so that they have the opportunity to capture your love through their lens.


9. The Weather

Most people hope for a bright sunny day for their session, and the majority of our sessions do have clear skies.  However, cloudy/overcast weather is our ideal lighting situation since there are no harsh shadows on people's faces and those with sensitive eyes won't struggle to keep their eyes open.  We do get the occasional passing showers which are very common and we can just take shelter for 2-3 minutes while it passes.  *In the event of heavy rain where a session is simply not possible, please contact your photographer at least 60-90 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to reschedule your session.  


10. Your Photos

The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other.  Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.  If you are engaged as a family and loving each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smiles will be natural.  These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connections.  


*Photo Requests*
If you have any photo requests (not more than 3-5, depending on your package), feel free to let us know at the beginning of your session.  It's usually easiest to just show us sample photos from your phone.

** Bring a towel ** If your session is at the beach, it's helpful to have a towel to dry or dust off sandy feet after your session.

***Hair accessories*** If anyone has long hair, be ready to put their hair up in case of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favorite accessories.


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