9 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session


As photographers, we want you to look and feel your best for a successful photo session and understand some of the worries you might have going into it. Below are a few tips to prepare for your upcoming photo session.

Outfits: Choose Neutral Colors

Choose outfits in advance (not the day of) and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. I always recommend neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics — creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues because they go with my natural style. These tones also create a natural glow on the skin and have a timeless look.

Accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images. Visit my Pinterest page for more photography outfit ideas.

Prep Your Clothing

Have pets? Run a lint roller over your outfit.

Make sure everything is ironed. Removing wrinkles may result in expensive retouching fees or a subpar photo.

Be Well-Rested and Fed.

Don’t show up to a session on an empty stomach. No one wants hangry parents or kids! Bring snacks and schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime. Try not to overbook your schedule that day. Over-stimulated children can get cranky, making the session challenging.

The best time for outdoor lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise. If this is a bad time for your children, let’s talk.

Buffer Extra Time to Avoid the Frazzle

Moms: If you have time to get hair and makeup done to make YOU feel great, go for it. For the family, create plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you arrive early for your session.

Dads: Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Dads, please cheerfully participate. Snarky comments and complaints only make a session more painful for everyone. And a therapy session in the future. Please smile, encourage and honor your family throughout the session.

Relax. Seriously.

Please don’t yell or demand your kids to look at the camera and smile. It’ll only stress your children out (not to mention me) and result in poor photos. Relax, breathe and allow me to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles.

Have Fun and Treat Your Session Like a Playdate

We’ll get a mix of posed and candid photos. Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Tickle them. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow me to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family.

Bring an Activity (Full-Length Sessions)

An activity gives you something to do, engage the family and elicit an authentic smile. The ideas below are intended for full-length sessions (not mini-sessions) but small “props” are ok. Ideas include:

  • Books

  • Ice cream

  • Make pizza

  • Board games

  • Sports

  • Picnic

Allow for Candid Moments

The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other, not always facing the camera. Be loving and natural with each other. There are times when the session will feel chaotic. Don’t stress. Most sessions with children can feel crazy but the photos always turn out well. Push through the tough moments and you’ll get great images.

Shout-out to ClicknMoms for great tips and tricks.

Michelle Loufman