Welcome to our guide full of tips to help you have a wonderful family photo session. Family photography is our specialty, and we’re excited to share our family photo tips with you! This will ensure that you and your family are well-prepared for your next family photoshoot! We have years of experience capturing beautiful memories for families. By doing this, we’ve learned the best tips and tricks to share with our clients to help them prepare for their sessions. Although family photo sessions may seem stressful at first glance, rest assured that they don’t have to be! Our goal is to make the experience as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. In this article, we will share our tips for “how to prepare for a family photo session.” This will ensure that you get the best results during your family photography session.
Here are some helpful tips for things to do before your photo session. Later on, we’ll discuss some tips to help you during your session and after your photoshoot.
Choosing the ideal photographer for family pictures is essential to ensure a successful family photo session. Experience, skill, style, and trust are everything when it comes to hiring a photographer. Do you like mostly candid, natural photos, or do you lean toward more posed photos? It’s important to do your research to find someone with a style you love! For example, don’t hire a photographer with more of a formal posed traditional style if you love the look and feel of raw emotion and candid photos. Just like you wouldn’t want to hire a “dark and moody” photographer if you prefer a true-to-color style or light and airy style (and vise versa of course). Just remember that you hire an artist for their aesthetic, so expect to receive photographers that are similar in style to what you see in their portfolio or website. We have another great post here with more helpful information on that topic. It’s also important to hire someone you feel comfortable working with and trust. Look for a dependable professional photographer specializing in family photography who has experience working with children of all ages. You can also ask friends or family members to recommend someone they had a great experience working with during a photo session.
After you choose the right photographer, it’s time to start preparing for the family photo session. Yay! Now is the time to be thoughtful and intentional. You’ll want to choose beautiful, timeless outfits and a great location for your family photos. After all, these are the outfits and the scenery that you will see hanging in frames in your home, so you’ll want to love them! The goal is to update your home with gorgeous, timeless photo collages and wall art. Maybe it’s even time to update your mantle with a beautiful family portrait! Trust me…it’s worth putting some thought into it your outfits and the location. Some photographers specialize in this while others may not offer much guidance (if any). Don’t hesitate to reach out to your photographer to ask them about their approach to this. While some clients may have a great vision in mind without requiring much guidance, sometimes a helping hand is exactly what’s needed to pull it all together and execute the vision. I highly recommend discussing your vision with your photographer. Some photographers will even help assist their clients by creating a mood board and brainstorming ideas together.
Below are a few tips for family photos that will help you prepare for your session.
Plan your outfits ahead of time, and coordinate with your family. Avoid using busy patterns, neon colors, and logos. Instead, choose neutral or complimentary colors that will help your family photos stand out from the crowd. Instead of a hot pink or neon green, choose a color in a different tone like soft pink, olive green, or mauve. Think about the hue or tone of the color you are choosing. The tone is more important when it comes to choosing colors.
Reach out to your photographer to get their opinion on colors and outfits. Send them a few options to see what they think, and try to be open if they suggest changes. Remember that they are thinking of things from a photography standpoint, so don’t take it personally if they suggest choosing something else. For example, they may recommend staying away from super tight pinstripes and checkered patterns to avoid the “moire effect” in photos.
If you’re hiring a photographer for their style, it’s important to keep in mind that color and clothing choices have a significant impact on the final outcome of your family photos. We suggest avoiding extreme trends and going for more of a timeless look. After all, you’ll want to display your photographs on your walls for years to come. Some photographers will assist you during this process or send you a guide to help you along the way. We love helping our clients plan for their sessions!
Selecting the right photo location is a significant piece of the puzzle when trying to achieve the look and feel you desire for your family photo session. Choose a location that perfectly captures the style and character of your family. Ensure that everyone can access it easily and comfortably, whether it’s in a small town, local park, or in the big city. Some clients prefer in-home sessions or their family portraits to be taken in their own backyard. Others may look for outdoor fields for pictures, or ask family members and friends for suggestions.
This choice can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your family portrait session as well. This is something you will want to discuss with your photographer. He/she will more than likely have plenty of location ideas, and your photographer will know what scenery will look the best.
If your photographer is traveling from out of state, then ask them if they plan to scout the area before the family photo session. When traveling to our clients, we always spend time scouting the area to determine the best location and lighting. This ensures a successful photo session. A good photographer isn’t going to show up to a session unprepared. You will also want to keep in mind to dress appropriately for the location chosen. For example, high heels in a field may look out of place, but a long flowy sundress can be the perfect fit for photos in a field.
Some photographers will coordinate hair and makeup for their clients. This ensures that their client books with a trusted, dependable, talented, and professional hair and makeup artist. If your photographer doesn’t offer this service, then you’ll need to handle coordinating a date that works for you, the photographer, and the hair and makeup artist. Be sure everyone has a nice haircut and clean fingernails. When getting haircuts, hair coloring, manicures, etc., I recommend doing this with enough time to make corrections if necessary. For example, you wouldn’t want to color your hair the day before the session in case you don’t like the way it turns out.
Consider incorporating props into your family session. For example, an old toy, a cream quilt, or a special hat. Capturing images with your pet or family dog can be extra special. This can create space for lovely candid photos of children interacting with their beloved furry friends. Just be sure to ask your photographer first. Some locations and photographers do not allow pets. If you do include them in the photo shoot, make sure you bring a great leash.
Make sure your family is well-rested and fed. Avoid scheduling during naps or mealtimes, as this could create unnecessary stress for everyone involved.
Before the session, discuss the photo shoot casually with your children and family members. Explain that it will be fun, easy, and relaxed (like they’re hanging out with a friend). Express your excitement about having photographs of them hanging on your walls. Let them participate in the process, so they feel excited about it. Children don’t need to smile throughout the entire session. That’s not natural. Telling them this might relieve any pressure they might be feeling and allow them to be themselves. Also, some photographers incorporate games toward the end of the session. Sometimes, we like to do this (depending on the ages) because it’s fun for the kids. Double-check with your photographer before telling the kids though. If your photographer does this, it will give the kids something exciting to look forward to toward the end of the session. Games also make for great candid shots!
Communicate directly with your photographer. If you have any special shots or poses you were hoping to capture, let your photographer know. They can’t read your mind or recreate something identical. They can put their own spin on it though. Most photographers are more than happy to work together to turn your vision into a reality. Also, if you have any insecurities or preferences, let them know. For example, if you prefer the left side of your face (and consider it, your “better side”, let them know before the session). Some photographers will send you a questionnaire. This will allow your photographer to serve you to the best of their ability. Remember…communication is key!
At a photo session, it’s essential to stay relaxed and have fun. Here are some tips for getting the best possible results:
Take a deep breath, relax, and be present in this moment with your family. Slow down, and feel your life as it’s happening. These moments are passing you by so quickly, and your photographer is there to thoughtfully preserve them for you. This ensures that those moments of connection and interaction that may have been forgotten, will instead be preserved for generations to come. Don’t overthink it. Just relax and enjoy your family. Candid shots often turn out to be the most stunning and timeless memories. Don’t stress if things feel like they’re falling apart. Kids will be kids, and they’re not expected to be perfect little angels. In fact, some of the best images are when things start to “fall apart” during the photo session. Seeing walls come down is a beautiful thing. Often, that’s when life is captured in the most beautiful way.
Your photographer will guide you through the session and suggest poses or shots that look great. Put your trust in their expertise, and follow their lead. We like to email our clients more specifics on our approach to posting before their session to help them prepare.
If your children get tired or restless during a photo session, take a break. Let them play or relax. This is our favorite time to capture memories. There is so much natural beauty and connection to be found when the “walls” come down. Doing this will help the photographer capture beautiful, natural family portraits.
Once you’ve chosen your favorite photos, it’s time for you to decide how to display them. After all, you probably didn’t go to the trouble of booking a family portrait session to let your memories die on a hard drive. Now is the fun part! It’s time to turn your beautiful images into art! Here are some tips to maximize the impact of your family photos:
Review all photos, and select the ones that you love most! Many photographers offer online galleries allowing you to mark your “favorites.” This is a good starting point. Then you can review your favorites list with your photographer. Often photographers are happy to help you during the decision-making process if requested. We love assisting our clients and walking them through the ordering process.
Consider asking your photographer to design a stunning photo album. Quality matters when it comes to photo albums, and many photographers offer high-end luxury heirloom albums, custom wall art, and fine art products. There’s no substitute for working with professional artists! You go to a lot of effort for beautiful family portraits, so don’t let them die on a hard drive. Let your photographer guide you and create timeless pieces of art for your home. If you’re having trouble deciding what to print, an album could be a wonderful option!
Some photographers offer custom wall art. Ask your photographer if this is something they offer. We take great pleasure in providing our families with a “done-for-you” service by creating custom artwork and luxury products for our clients. Doing this protects their memories and guarantees that their favorite images don’t get lost or forgotten on a hard drive. Instead, these treasured memories can be proudly displayed as beautiful artwork on your walls!
After your family photo shoot, don’t hesitate to show off your masterpieces with family and friends. Consider sending them as holiday cards or using them in a family photo wall display. Many photographers offer fine art prints of the highest quality when ordering custom-framed wall art or matted prints. Ask your photographer about the difference in the quality of everyday prints versus fine art prints. Not everyone realizes the difference until they see the prints in person.
Ask your family photographer if they offer memberships.
Don’t let life pass you by without taking time to capture these important moments. Once they are gone, there will be no second chances. Be intentional about capturing your memories and documenting your legacy. Many photographers offer family memberships, so you can receive added value and guarantee a spot on their books. Plus, establishing a relationship with your photographer helps your family become more relaxed in front of the camera over time.
Preparation, Communication, and Relaxation are three key elements of a successful family photo session:
We hope these tips for family photoshoots were helpful. A successful family photo shoot is all about preparation, communication, and relaxation. By following the tips in this article, you will be well-prepared for your photo session. This article gives you the tools needed to ensure that you have a successful photo session. Go into your photo session relaxed and grateful allowing your photographer to create photographs you’ll treasure for years to come. Remember that selecting the right photographer, allowing time for thoughtful pre-session preparation, staying relaxed during the session, and making the most of your family session are all key elements for a successful family photo session. We hope these tips for family portraits were beneficial to you.
If you’re looking for a professional photographer who specializes in working with families and offers luxury heirloom products, we’d love to hear from you! Photographing families is Emily’s true joy! Emily specializes in capturing images that are unique and true to each of the families she works with. Emily has 18 years of experience, and she offers two beautiful scenic locations in Georgia. One is a beautiful historic homestead in the Lake Oconee area near Athens Ga. The other location is a scenic farm with rolling hills just south of Atlanta, Ga.
Emily also travels to many of her clients to photograph them in sentimental locations that speak to their hearts. This could be a favorite family vacation getaway, a family home, or a national park. Currently, she is only traveling within the U.S. for family sessions. The majority of Emily’s time is spent serving her clients in the southeast (most frequently in Ga and Western N.C.) Currently, there are 18 states on the travel schedule for 2023. Please get in touch here if you have questions regarding family photography or travel locations.
Upon booking your family photoshoot, you’ll receive a detailed family photography checklist. This will help you prepare for your session.
Hi! I'm Emily.... a family, senior, and wedding & elopement photographer who is wildly passionate about capturing timeless images for her clients in beautiful, scenic, and/or sentimental locations that speak to their heart.
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