Family shoot prep

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Like most things that require design...

Beautiful things take some planning.

What to wear

Gone are the days of seeing a sea of white shirts and blue jeans. With a little planning, you can have your family looking natural, not in uniforms, and still color coordinated. Many photography websites have outfit suggestions using clothes primarily available from Old Navy, Gap, and Piperlime. You can find many of them pinned on Pinterest or by doing a google image search “what to wear photography“. 

Prepare the Children

Ask the parents to tell the children that you’re going to come and take some photographs, as children tend to prefer knowing what lies ahead.

  • Have the parents tell them it’ll be fun, because if the children are looking forward to you coming, they’ll be more relaxed on the day and you’ll get great photographs.
  • Get them excited! A strange photographer with a big camera and gear can be a little bit intimidating. I will do my best to make your child feel comfortable but it helps if you prep them before the session. Tell them something fun and exciting is going to happen. Show them other pictures you have of them or the family and tell them that is what they get to do. Give them an incentive - a favorite story or snack when they are finished.

  • Bring snacks and things that make your child happy. If we need to take a break for carrots and goldfish, no problem. Anything to keep the youngest members of the family happy. 

  • Feel free to bring an extra outfit for the little guys. If they have a favorite outfit or something adorable that doesn’t go with what the rest of the family is wearing, bring it along. If we have time at the end of the family session we can do a quick change and a photo of just the kids.

  • Be happy and excited! This day is about you and your family. Don’t stress. Relax and have fun! A little bit of goofiness and giggling can make for a great image. Children can sense stress and anxiety. If you relax and roll with the punches it will be much easier for them to enjoy the day.

Let’s face it, the kids are typically running the show. You schedule activities around nap and eating times and if they are cranky, you probably won’t be taking them out to a fancy restaurant that night…  🙂 We want to see happy faces for pictures and the best way I have found to achieve that is to just let them be kids! If they want to run around the open field at the park we are shooting at, great! I will follow them around and maybe have you try to catch them! If they want to sit on the blanket and have you read them a book, awesome. Do that. (BRING BOOKS AND TOYS!) If they want to explore the surroundings, no problem. I want them to be themselves and capture that. Typically once I have allowed them to do their thing, it is much easier for them to be coaxed into sitting or standing with Mommy and Daddy for a nice portrait. Maybe you have to bring out the ‘tickle monster’ fingers to get a smile out of them at first, but this is how it is done!

One thing I want to say is that after doing this for over 2 years, I have seen it all. I have seen a million meltdowns and crying fits. So PLEASE, please, please, do not feel embarrassed by your child’s behavior. My personality is to go with the flow and I would love it if you do the same. I am not saying you can’t discipline your children if you feel the need to. HOWEVER, I am saying that if all your child (or children) want to do is play and explore, no harm done. We can work with it. This photo session is supposed to be an enjoyable experience for all!

A great example of a little boy that just wanted to run! We let him! I love these shots of him in action with his mom and dad behind him.

Be well rested & fed

Get plenty of rest the night before your session. If you are exhausted, you will look exhausted. Go to bed at a reasonable time so you wake up refreshed and ready.

Drink lots of water! Good hydration will make skin glow and look fabulous.

Lay off the alcohol the night before. Alcohol dehydrates us and lends itself to red skin, tiny wrinkles and those puffy black circles that form under our eyes.

If you are going to wear foundation make sure it matches your skin - all of it. You want to make sure your face and neck are the same color.

Keep makeup simple and elegant and take it easy on the bronzer. 


Sure! Bring anything you want! Bring your own props, bring books and toys to keep the kids happy, bring a change of clothes if you wish! Most of all, bring your patience!!!!! 🙂 With kids and family portraits it is a hurry up and wait game. Hurry up and get the shot but a lot of waiting for that perfect shot. So patience is key. If you seem stressed, the kids are going to pick up on that.

I typically always have at least one blanket with me for you to sit on outdoors. I do have some various props after dong this for a few years but I don’t usually bring anything with me to a family shoot besides my camera equipment and the blanket unless we have discussed otherwise.