How to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session

Family photos hold a special place in our lives and in our hearts. These are images we’ll look back on for years to come, images that our children and grandchildren will look at to remind themselves of where they came from and how much their family has changed and grown.

Tracking your family’s growth is a great reason to take annual family photos. But once you’ve booked your session, you may be feeling some trepidation. How am I going to get all the kids to behave? What should everyone wear? What if our pictures turn out terrible because no one will cooperate?

A family photo session can be a nerve-wracking experience for any parent, but the results are well worth the effort. To help you feel a little less stressed about getting everyone dressed and smiling, we’ve put together this handy guide on how to prepare for and make the most of your family session.


Schedule at the right time of day

When it comes to photographing young children, scheduling is everything. You don’t want to schedule a photo shoot right in the middle of naptime and end up with a cranky toddler. In the same way, if your session runs over into dinnertime, your little one may throw a tantrum. Even if you want “golden hour” images, consider your kids and what time of day they’re most alert, awake, and content. I always tell parents to schedule their naps around the time of the shoot. So if we are doing a golden hour session, I recommend a later nap that day. Also to make sure the kids eat before the shoot.

Talk to your kids beforehand

A photo session is not something you want to drag your kids to without warning them. Take time to sit your kids down and explain what they can expect at the family session and how they should behave. Emphasize the fun aspects of a photo shoot: They can pretend to be models and even ham it up a little for the camera. Just remind them the importance of listening to you and the photographer and following instructions.

Get inspired

Think about what kind of images you want and talk to your photographer about your options. Would you prefer a studio session or one outside at a favorite park or spot in your town? Maybe you want an in-home session where the photographer can capture your family in their natural environment. Whatever you choose, be sure to speak with your photographer beforehand about what you’re hoping to achieve, as well as any special requirements you or your family may need.

Choose what to wear

While kids definitely look adorable in their dressiest outfits, you’re better off choosing something they’re comfortable in. That goes for your whole family, including you. Everyone will feel more like themselves in their favorite outfits. Just be sure everyone coordinates well and avoid bright colors or patterns that can be distracting. Some photographers will offer styling services. Our studio works with Style & Select , which is an awesome styling service entirely online and you can even purchase your outfits directly from the site.