7 Tips on Making the Most of Your Family Photo Session

Family Photo Session


So you have hired your photographer, you have your date, location, and time all set for your family photo session. You managed to get everyone to agree to have their photo taken together and promised something sweet afterwards.


What else do you need to know? Well here are a few of the things that I have spotted over the years that tend to get missed or causes undue stress. Take it with a grain of salt, we are all different.


Ideally we care more about who is in the photos than if our clothes match, but hey, it never hurts to plan ahead a little bit to get a photo that you really love and want to hang on your wall for all to see, especially you an your kids.


So without further ado….here are it is…



Clothes and Shoes


Of course it depends on what kind of photo session you are having….if you are having an outdoor park shoot with kiddos you probably want to dress them in something a little more sturdy than tights so they don’t get a run in them, but if you are doing it in the studio tights work fine (you still might want to bring and extra pair.)


So make sure your clothing choices make sense in your environment.


Same is true with shoes, don’t wear high heels to the playground with tons of wood chips. Make sure your footwear works for your photos.


Patterns and bright colors on clothes can be cute and can work if there are not a lot of competing colors and patterns going on.


A little coordination can go a long way so think through everyone’s wardrobe choices beforehand.


I am not saying you should all wear jean overalls with while t-shirts. I am just saying, think it through.


This also helps when it is time to get ready as everyone will have their clothes picked out and ready to put on, and hopefully not wrinkled and without stains too.


Another pro tip, always bring a change of clothes for little ones.


Most people do this anyway, but for sure on a picture taking day, have a backup outfit. Accidents do happen and it is smart to cover your bases.


By far the most important tip, wear something that you are comfortable in that makes you feel good. If you are uncomfortable or unable to move it will show in your photos.




Things like hats, earrings, necklaces, and lipstick should be paid specific attention to. I am not saying don’t use them, I am just saying, use them wisely.


Hats are generally a no in photos because it makes it very hard to see people faces. If you wish to add a hat into your session do it at the end so that you don’t end up with hat hair in your pictures.


Jewelry is a great accessory, it just needs special care. If you have earrings that dangle or a pendant, you must be conscious of it getting twisted or backwards in the images.


It can also get in the way if you are holding your child or moving around a lot. If you want to avoid the hassle go with smaller earrings and necklaces without pendants.


Lip gloss and lipstick can also work well. Make sure to check it when you arrive and then throughout your session.


The new lip glosses and lipsticks tend to last a long time, so it generally isn’t a problem. It is always recommended that you bring it with you to the shoot.


woman kissing her baby during their family photo session Seward Park in Seattle Washington


Nails and Hair


One thing people always overlook, the nails. Not usually their own, but their kids’.


Kid’s nails grow so fast! And they always manage to get them dirty at the worst times! So make sure to clip those nails the night before.


Also for nail polish wearers, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick touch up the day before and then bring the bottle of polish along just in case. (It also doubles as a panty hose and tight run stopper!)


As for hair, wear it as you wish, but again, consider your surroundings. If you are having your family photo session at the beach on a windy day, long hair will do better in a ponytail or braid. Shorter hair and potentially you need to move to an area with less wind.


Make sure to trim the beard, wax the eyebrows, touch up the roots and pluck the nose hairs beforehand!


If you ever want make these into a large canvas you will be happy you did it!




If your kids are young, or even if they are not, bribes are a wonderful thing!


I am not necessarily talking candy, but the promise of a sweet treat for a job well done is helpful.


If, for example, your kid loves bubbles, tell your photographer and bring along their favorite bubbles. That way when the kid starts to get frustrated you have a whole new thing to move onto.


The best smiles can come out of these sorts of situations.

Planning ahead and bringing a few things you kid loves along can help them, and you, enjoy your family photo session.




If you can, leave your valuables at home or in your car. Having your phone in your pocket or carrying around your purse looks terrible in photos.


Leave them were they will be safe and sound and not causing a weird lump in your leg.




If you wish to have your pet in the photos talk to your photographer about this beforehand.


Yes it can be awesome and many photographers have no problem with it, but if you do bring a pet and also want all of you to be in the photo, bring an extra friend or a crate for the pet while you are taking a photo without them.


That way you can look at the camera and not at your pet that you tied to a tree who is slowly slipping out of their harness and trying to make a run for it, or maybe that is just my dog…


Communicate with Your Photographer


All amazing photographers want to know more about their clients. We want to know what you like, what your want, and how we can best serve you. So let us know.


Tell them all those little things too, like my kid loves bubbles but is afraid of people who make silly voices, or I hate having my picture taken from below because I feel like it gives me a double chin. Let them know if you are allergic to tall grasses so they don’t ask you to stand in it.


If you know you want a series of three images in your hallway, tell your photographer so that they can make sure to take images that work as a series on your wall.


This way they will give your recommendations when it comes time to pick out the images to print. Many photographers even have software so that you can see what images look like on your wall beforehand. (And yes, I am one of those photographers!)


So talk to your photographer, they are a valuable resource as well as an artist. That is why you chose them of course!


So those are my tips for you! I hope it helps. And remember, as long as the photos are of the ones you love, they will be awesome!


If you haven’t found your photographer yet, I would love to be considered for the job!


You can see my current mini sessions here if you are interested. Or schedule our own private session!

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