Tips For A Successful Family Session

After my blog post, "How To Prepare for Your Engagement Session" received so much great feedback from clients. I knew I had to write a post specifically geared towards families. Many of the principals in the old blog post can still apply.

If I absolutely HAD to narrow it down to my favorite type of session, honestly it would be families! I love working with kids and theres so much fun things we can do with a larger group. Among the photography world my opinion isn't shared with many. I know plenty of photographers who simply don't offer family sessions because of the headache and hard work they can bring. It's true, the smiling faces you see as the final product of a session sometimes take more work but its so worth it to me! 

I have shot with countless families over the years, I love them all. Honestly, some have been easier than others. I've shot with children who screamed throughout the shoot, teenagers who won't smile, and people who don't like the way they look no matter what posing we try.

So I wanted to write a few tips for you to be able to review to get the most out of your photo session to ensure that you really do LOVE the photos you walk away with!


1. Coordinate your wardrobe

Personally, the look of matchy matchy isn't my favorite. It's definitely a matter of personal taste but for me I like my photos to be candid and reflect personal style of each member of the family. Having everyone wear a white shirt with jeans can look dated and not exciting. My opinion is to wear color! Color makes the photo look alive and vibrant. If you do wear natural or muted tones, think about adding a boost of color with accessories (i.e. a scarf or cardigan). If choosing a theme of colors for your family to wear, coordinate tones rather than colors. You can all wear a warm or cool color palate. A warm color palate might be oranges, reds, browns, or purples. While a cool color palate may be light blues, greens, whites, or pinks. Make sense? I also recommend choosing outfits without large logos or words on the clothing, when wearing a pattern keep it minimal. Stripes are so cute but aren't always flattering!

I always recommend my clients to be comfortable in what you're wearing. If that means getting a new outfit for an extra boost of confidence, then go for it! Wearing a new outfit first of all makes everyone feel good. And if you feel good, you will look good!

I put together a Pinterest board for my clients to look at to gain inspiration for their outfits. For me, it helps to be able to see examples. You can find that board here.

san diego family photographer


2. Let your kids be kids

If your child is running around and wont sit down for a picture- don't worry! Play with them, even play a game of tag if you want to. Sometimes these turn out to be the most fun pictures!

If your child is crying, don't get too frustrated with them or be embarrassed. Trust me, this happens all the time! We can all take a moment to breathe and if the child needs a break, I can spend time taking picture of other members of the group for a bit! 

I have definitely been in a situation where no matter what we do, the child is just not cooperating. There are still poses we can do, so don't worry! As sad as it sounds, sometimes we can even make a crying face look like a laughing face. 

orange county family photographer


3. Be well rested and well fed

In order to best avoid #2 problems, give everyone a snack before. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can get "hangry" :)

orange county family photographer


4. Ensure everyone is ready to participate CHEERFULLY! 

I do my very best to make sure kids have a fun time during the shoot, but children can pick up on how their parents are handling the situation as well. Dads, please cheerfully participate.  I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is.  These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important.  Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session.  Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.

orange county family photographer
Madison Geist