5 Tips For a Great Family Photo Session

Family photo sessions don’t have to be stressful.  If you’re well prepared and know what to expect, they can be fun for the whole family, even dad.  Here’s some tips to help things go smoothly.




1)  Choose your clothing carefully.

I always recommend that moms pick an outfit that they look great and feel comfortable in.  Then center everyone else’s outfit around theirs.  Avoid logos and bright or neon colors that will put a color cast on faces.  Instead of matching choose colors that coordinate with each other and the surrounding.  Remember shoes are part of the outfit too and will be seen in the photos.  Clients, see my What To Wear guide for additional tips. Remember, I am always happy to look at what you’ve selected if you need some additional guidance.

2) Be on time!

I can’t stress this enough.  I’ve carefully selected the location based on the available light.  Since we are shooting close to sunset, we have a limited amount of time before it’s gone.  Give yourself plenty of time to get ready so you don’t feel rushed.  Being rushed leads to feeling stressed and can cause other family members to pick up on your vibe. Showing up this way sets the tone for how the rest of the session will go. So please be prepared!

3) Kiddos should be well rested and fed.

Please don’t bring the kids to the photo shoot on an empty stomach.  Cranky kids don’t make for awesome photos!  If you’re planning to have dinner afterward, water and healthy snacks are a good idea to have on hand.  Also, wipes in case they get dirty.

4) Relax and have fun!

Approach the session like it’s a fun family outing. This is a chance for you to spend some quality time with your loved ones and be proud of the family you’ve created. Let the kids know that a friend will be there taking photos.  Don’t stress if your kids aren’t smiling in every photo.  They don’t have to be smiling or looking into the camera every time to get great shots.  For families with little ones, I like to play games to loosen everyone up and have you focusing on each other rather than my camera lens.  It might feel silly at first but trust me, it helps.  Interacting with each other makes for natural smiles and genuine emotions.  Dad feel free to tickle your kiddos or toss them up in the air.  Give your wife a kiss.  Mom take a moment to tell your husband how much you love and appreciate him.  Lots of playing, hugging, kissing, smiling and laughing encouraged!


5)   Show this to dad.

Mom be sure to share tip #4 with dad so that he knows what to expect and goes into the session with a cheerful attitude.  Remember, these photos will be displayed on the wall and become a family heirloom as they are passed down for generations.  Therefore, it’s so important that dads are a willing participant.


If you’re looking for a family photographer in San Diego, I’d love for you to contact me.


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