How to Have a Seamless Family Photo Session

Let’s face it, trying to get your entire family dressed and ready to go for an early morning session can often be stressful and overwhelming. That’s why I want to give you some ideas to help your session run as smoothly as possible.

  1. Location is Key: Pick a location that you and your family will feel comfortable in. Some families prefer the backdrop of a local city while others can opt for a more natural environment. Both offer their own unique qualities, but the goal is for you to feel comfortable during your shoot. The more comfortable you are, the better your photos will look. That’s why it’s important to think about your preferences ahead of time so you can choose a location that fits with your family’s style. Often times however, many people do not have a preference or even know what their “style” is, which is where I come in and can help you through the process. I have a few great spots which are perfect for different styles that I’m happy to share.

  2. Clothing: Fall can be a chilly season, especially during the early morning hours. Be sure to wear layers so you can quickly pull off the warm coats and still be warm underneath. Vests and thick warm sweaters are perfect for family photos. This may sound obvious, however I’ve experienced numerous families that are unprepared for the weather. Remember, you an always take layers off, you can’t add them on if you don’t have them with you. Plus, additional layers gives you more outfit options.

  3. Prep the Kids ahead of time: Let your children know where you are going and what you are going to be doing ahead of time. Consider making a morning of it. Maybe you can go to breakfast afterwards, or promise the children a treat if they do a good job. In my experience, the parents who incentivized their kids ahead of time had more peaceful shoots than the ones who did not.

  4. Keep Kids Engaged During the Shoot: Along with prepping your kids ahead of time, keeping them engaged throughout the shoot has a major impact on the naturalness of the photos. I suggest bringing a few of their favorite books or toys along to play with in between a few shots. Consider keeping a playlist on your phone with some of their favorite songs for them to dance to when they start to lose control. Taking a few simple breaks throughout makes a major difference in how the kids experience the session. While we don’t want them in every picture, I like to have a few shots where the kids are in their natural element. Interjecting the session with a few breaks for them to run around, listen to music, read, etc creates a fun environment that keeps them engaged.

  5. Smile Through the Pain: I recognize that sometimes, not everyone wants to do the photo session [husbands mostly :)]. There are typically other activities that take precedence (sleep for example), but remember you are making a memory with your family in this season in your life. Even if you’re not feeling it, smiling with teeth can help elevate your mood. If I sense that one partner isn’t comfortable, I try to intermittently show the photos to help people get a sense of what they look like. Typically the more you smile, the more you’ll like your photos. I know this sounds simple and obvious, but it goes a long way - especially when the kids are starting to cry :)

    As a photographer, I try to make each shoot easy and quick. As an elementary school art teacher, I know how fast kids can get bored and it is my goal is to make it as fun and easy for you ALL as possible.