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Family photography session - Tips

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Educate yourself so you have the best possible photoshoot you can!!


You have the photographer and the clothes. Now, what do you want to be doing in front of the camera?

1. Are you a silly family? Like to goof around, dress up, hang upside down?

2. Are you a loving family who can't cuddle enough?

3. Are you a traditional family with more of a serious demeanor?

4. Candid/lifestlye all the way?

5. Little bit of everything? 

TIP: No matter who you are, be yourselves and let your photographer know what feel you want for your photos. Communication is key to getting the family photos that match your family.

Do your research, find photos online that you like (make a board on Pinterest), and share them with your photographer so they can visualize what kind of photos to take for you. Some photographers may only do one style, Research!


*Scheduling with Kids 

Do your best to schedule your photo shoot when your kids are at their happiest. You can’t always get the time you want, but if you have the option, I highly recommend working your appointment around your kids routines. I have seen it many times, though: photo shoots during nap time. Yes, it can be done, but it is a much more delicate operation. Let your photographer know if it should be nap time and let them know if there are any tips for them on how to keep your sleepy little one calm and happy! A shorter session may be best (like 30min) and if your kid is usually super active, take advantage of their sleepiness and get those awesome cuddle photos! 

TIP WITHIN THIS TIP: If it is nap time, don’t push them to be ‘happy’ and ‘energetic’. It could really set them off. Just let them be who they are and go with the flow! You love everything about them so having some photos of their grumpy stink faces will be something to remember!

*Time of day  

Lighting is something to consider when booking your photo shoot. In my opinion, any time of day when there is light is a good time for a photo shoot. Lighting does change the look of the photos so there is a big difference between high noon and sunset. Think of what look you want and go from there. Warm sunset photos or bright blue skies. 

TIP WITHIN THIS TIP: When it is REALLY sunny out, choose a location that will provide some shade. It is tricky to take photos in sun bursting light (also, it can get really hot….shade is your friend in those cases!) Have no idea? Your photographer will!

*Bribes for kids?

I'm on the fence with bribes. Some parents swear by it, others disagree. I really believe that if you involve your child with the process of the photo shoot and TALK to them about it (what is expected of them, what the plan is), there should be no need for bribes. But, some kids work well with rewards for their work. If you want to offer a reward to your child for being a good listener or behaving politely, be my guest! They are working hard, so why not give them a treat AFTER the photo shoot? That is another thing if you give up the reward/bribe before the session is over…good luck getting them to listen anymore. Also, if its a ‘sticky’ candy treat or something they have to eat for a while, do you want photos of that? Nope, I didn’t think so. So if you are going to reward your child for good behavior just be sure to save it until the session is over.

*Be positive

Be positive when talking about the photo shoot prior to the session. If you and your spouse have a great attitude about it (and don’t say things like ‘let's just get through this’ or ‘it's only an hour out of your life’ etc.), then the chances are your kids will get on board and be stoked for your photo shoot.

Is your partner not keen on the idea? Well, stay positive FOR them. Perhaps they had a bad experience as a child and are jaded. Try not to do the same to your kids or you will have a heck of a time over the years getting everyone to get on the fun family photos train! Also, if your partner is not so excited, for the sake of everyone, ask them to at least pretend (really well) so that you will have an easier time with the kids. Who knows, maybe they will have a blast! I see it all the time! Photo shoots should be a fun experience and I believe that with a great photographer ANYONE can have a good time! It’s not a chore, it’s an experience!

*Have fun!!  

I can not stress enough how important it is to HAVE FUN! You and your kids have fun together when you play, right? Well, why not do that in front of the camera? Let loose a bit! I know it's nerve-racking for some to be in front of a camera, but don’t stress yourself out about it ahead of time and get all worked up (your kids will see that). Breathe and know that your photographer will make you feel comfortable and relaxed!


Kind of on the same note...don’t be so hard on YOU. Most of us have our own things that we like and don’t like about our look or shape (mine are my arms and hips). If you have something specific, tell your photographer so they can help you with your angles and posing. Communication with your photographer is key. Inform them, so they can do what they do best: organize, manage, direct, tell stupid jokes, put you in your best angle, make you and your kids laugh and smile!


ALWAYS have them......!!! But please try and avoid giving them to the kids during the session as it will 'eat' into the time of your session haha but it will....and if you need to be sure to clean their face after. 


Get lots! I know you know how important that is. I won’t go on!

*Getting ready  

Get everything ready the night before or even a few days prior to your session. Rushing the day of your photo shoot will put a huge stress on everyone. Get organized, snacks, clothes, props, etc. All in one spot, ready to go.

*Getting there  

Going to the studio or a location, make sure you leave with enough time to get there so you can be 10-15 minutes early. Is your shoot during rush hour? Check the traffic report. Not sure the best way to get there? Plan your route ahead of time. This way, you can get to know the photographer a bit before your session. I know for me, I have a tight schedule and if my clients show up a bit early I can get the kids comfortable without going into the booked shooting time for the session.

*Have some photo ideas?  

If you have ideas during the session most photographers are happy to collaborate with you. But remember, you are paying them to do a job and they do know what they are doing. So, make your suggestions, but do it at the right time. When is the right time? Right before you start taking photos have a micro-meeting and go over the plan for where you will go (if on location) and what kind of shots you have in mind and other specifics.  Also, any time the photographer is not in the middle of taking photos or explaining what their next idea is. Wait until there is a ‘break’ in conversation. There is a flow to a photo shoot. Feel it out and make your best judgment call!

Thanks for reading!

:) LL

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1 Comment

This post offers a great checklist of things to consider before a family photoshoot!  The reminders about planning outfits and choosing a location in advance are spot-on.  It definitely helps to be prepared to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

The tip about capturing candid moments alongside posed photos is a great one.  It allows for a more natural representation of family dynamics.  Do you have any recommendations for how to encourage natural interactions and smiles during the photoshoot, especially when working with young children who might have a lot of energy?

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