10 Quick Tips for a Successful Family Session

I love photographing families. Every session seems to follow a pattern: the family shows up completely frazzled—the mom is exasperated after gathering the coordinated outfits, getting everyone into them, and making it to the location, hoping she also looks up to snuff for the photos. The kids are frustrated from being shoved into said outfits. Dad is just trying to help—and failing. There is usually some yelling about how the kids have to LISTEN to the photographer and how they must smile and BEHAVE or else.

Now why would I love that? Well, I actually revel in these moments because, once the parents relinquish control of the kids, it is time for FUN! I start out having them chase me—of course, they have to line up together and get REALLY close before I say “Go,” so I usually get a great shot right away. I always love this first shot—anticipation and excitement in their faces and the hope that they can catch me, all yelling forgotten. Of course, I tell them that I am super fast—gotta put the challenge out there. Then we are off, and the session has begun!


After the session, and after a lot of smiles and fun, the moms ask how they can make the getting ready process easier. So I put together 10 quick tips that can help make the family session more successful.

1.       Prepare for the session.

Plan your outfits and lay out the clothes the night before to avoid any surprises.


2.       Schedule the time it will take to get ready.

BE SURE TO ADD IN TIME FOR YOURSELF! Moms always get the short end of the stick here. A little planning can avoid stress before it happens.


3.       Prepare for your pet too!

If you are bringing your pet, pack some snacks and plastic bags just in case!


4.       Bring food!

Snacks for kids are great as long as they are NOT MESSY! Pretzels, string cheese, raisins and clear drinks work well. Avoid cheese curls and cheese-itz at all costs! Who wants to see orange teeth in the photos?


5.       Get to the location with some time to spare.

Rushing always leads to stress. If you are late, just send a text so I know and you can relax about it.


6.       Once you arrive and the session has begun, just let go!

I will take care of the kids and get them to smile. Don’t worry, truly, I’ve got you covered!


7.       Relax!

While the kids are being photographed, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. You made it to the session without forgetting the youngest child at home 🙂


8.       Watch…

Watch your kids play and have fun, and revel in this moment. They will be grown up before you know it, and you should be proud of yourself for realizing that. Isn’t that the whole reason you hired me?


9.       Go with the flow.

Let yourself be swept up in the fun of the moment. That’s what I’m there to record.


10.   See the big picture…

This is not about the clothes or trying to look skinny. This is about your relationships and recording the memories for you, your kids and their future children.


I keep family session light and fun, but in my heart I know that these images will be seen for generations to come. THIS IS IMPORTANT WORK. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to have such an enjoyable AND meaningful career. And I love every minute!

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