How to Have a Successful Family Photoshoot


May 3, 2018

So, I had the outfits planned for my upcoming family photo shoot. I prayed my kids would be on their best behavior for weeks. I planned out the exact time we had to leave the house by in order to get to the shoot on time. I even made my kids go in the car WITHOUT anything but a diaper on in fear that some unforeseen and dreadful leftover cookie crumb would stain their thoughtfully planned out, color-schemed outfits…YEAHHHH….

It didn’t make a bit of difference. My eight-month-old fell asleep on the drive to the shoot and I had to wake him up–mamas know this fight all too well–go ahead and cringe because you know the fit that came when he had to wake up. My three-year-old saw the baby getting all of the attention so he decided to act out to get some for himself… Needless to say…the only photos we got were the “Real” ones (arching backs, pulling hair and my personal favorite–Owen running away from the camera).

Sound familiar? For all of you out there who have survived a photo shoot and vowed to never go to another one until, well, forever. This blog is for YOU! Learn from my experience and enjoy these 5 top tips I give to all of my clients!

  1. Clothing Is Everything

I used to think that clothing had little to do with the quality of images and the contentment of my clients when I delivered their images. What I noticed over the years is that clothing can make or break the feeling behind an image. I always guide my clients to know that wearing all of the same color makes everyone blend together and adds no interest to a portrait. However, if you use color themes (wearing the same hue or shade of color and add a pop of  color or texture (scarf, accent necklace, etc.), your images become timeless and stylish! Think about what you would like to hang on your wall for years to come! I believe in this step so much that I have actually had consultation meetings just on clothing choices! Girls, you might just have to go shopping…darn!

  1. Arrive On Time

Nothing sets the tone better than arriving on time or even a little early to your shoot. This makes everyone in a good mood, relaxed and able to enjoy their photo shoot. The last thing I want to happen is for my clients to have a bad experience because they felt rushed or uncomfortable. Half of one’s love of their finished images comes from the feelings and memories they produce during the shoot. If you remember how stressed you were and how much you had to beg your children to say “cheese”…then those feelings will come rushing back when you view your images weeks, months, or even years later. Arrive on time, enjoy the family you have fed, bathed, and laughed with and let me do the rest!

  1. Make Sure Everyone’s Needs Are Met

It’s easy to overlook the fact that you haven’t even had the chance to brush your own hair because you’re too busy making sure that your child has the same pair of shoes on their feet (yes…I have walked out the door with my son wearing two different pairs of shoes…). Making sure that everyone is rested, healthy, happy and fed can make or break a session. If you see your child on the brink of a melt down, stop and make sure you spend some time meeting his or her needs. The biggest hindrance to a session’s success is if a little one missed a nap or a meal. Shoot your photographer a text and give them a call…if the shoot has to be postponed or rescheduled, it will make a big difference with how smoothly it will go! When everyone is fed and happy–magic happens!

  1. Location, Location, Location.

If you have a special spot that means a lot to your family, do tell! I love adding a piece to the image that is special to my subjects. Not only does it add nostalgia to the photographs, but it relaxes everyone and allows them to play and interact in photos. When it’s not a new and strange place, it helps set the tone for the shoot–especially for the little ones!

  1. Relax and Trust Your Photographer!

One thing good photographers know is how to make everyone feel comfortable in front of the camera–a very tough thing to do! We know how to make you feel and look good and how to make your child smile, so relax and trust that you can be excited to have images that will last a lifetime to enjoy. Your job is to research and find a photographer that meets the relationship, style and trust that you are looking for in a photographer. Only after all of this, will you be truly happy with your family portraits!

Looking for other hints and tricks I have learned over the years? Feel free to click on the links below to learn more ways to maximize your photography experience!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

Navy & Cream Family Shoot

The Bond of Motherhood

Montana Winter Family Shoot

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