7 Must-Do's to assure a successful family portrait session

Have you ever wanted a beautiful portrait of your family but then immediately think of everthing that would have to happen in order to get said portrait. You’d have to find outfits for your children. You’d have to actually get your children to wear those outfits. You’d have to get your husband involve/excited about having a portrait session. Then you’d have to get your kids ready for the session without having them kill each other or ruin their good moods so they’ll actually smile for the photographer. And then, you’d have to put on your own fake smile because, good Lord, is it really that hard to just get your family to smile just once for the camera?!?

Sound familiar?

Yea, I get it. I have three kids of my own and a not so excited about pictures husband too.

But! I am here to tell you that it can be done. And here’s how.

With my help! Follow these simple 7 steps and I promise you, your portrait session will be a dream compared to the nightmare that you think it will be.

Family session on the beach in blue and tan

1. Outfit choices really do matter.

Not only will I help you with outfits, and I don’t mean buying a brand new outfit for everyone, but help you find pieces that are in your wardrobe right now. Take some time way before your session for you to look through your closet and find similar colors. When you schedule your session, I’ll also send you a Style Guide to help you look around your home and decide what colors are more prevalent. You can also lay out your outfits together, take a quick picture, and send it to me. Above all, make sure you are comfortable with your clothes. If you love the way you look and feel, you’ll love your portraits!

Occoquan Family session in blue and orange on bridge

2. Get your kids involved and excited.

I know with my own kids, that if I get them involved in picking out their outfits, they’ll be more apt to want to wear what they pick out. You want their personalities to shine and the best way to do that is through their outfits. And not to mention, they need to be comfortable in their clothes too. The last thing you need is someone complaining about how their pants fit on the day of the session. Give them 2 or three choices that you are happy with also! That way it’s a win-win situation.

Occoquan Fall Family session in grey and blue

3. Talk to your photographer!

After having three kids of my own, I’m super self-conscious of my tummy area and let’s not get started about my double chin. So I would want my photographer to tell me how to pose so I can look my best in the portraits. That’s my job too! If you have areas of our body that you’re not too comfortable with, let me know and I can better prepare for your session. You can also let me know what type of pictures you’d prefer to see in your gallery. Most of the times, I like to capture the candid pictures of everyone loving or having fun, but I know most moms, myself included, love to see the perfect picture where everyone is smiling at the camera. If I know this ahead of time, I can make sure to capture it the day of the session.

Mother and daughters in green at Lake Ridge Golf

4. Get rested.

The day before your session, you want to make sure that you get plenty of rest. Put the kids to bed early and do yourself a favor and put yourself to bed a couple hours early too. Drinking water also does amazing things to your skin! Did you know you should drink any where from 9-13 cups per day depending on your age, sex, and activity level? That’s a lot of water! All I’m saying is Happy Kids = Happy Mom. Happy mom = great photos!

Family of 3 in purple and blues in Woodbridge park

5. Let me guide you.

There are two types of parents: those who say nothing while watching from afar and those that stand about 3 feet away from me while trying to get their kids to smile or laugh. I know those active parents have the best of intentions, but most of the times what happens is your kiddos are more focused on you than they are of looking at the camera. The biggest tip I can give you, is let me guide you or ask for your help. And if I do need your help with getting your kiddo to smile, stand directly behind me. That way if your kiddo is looking at you, she’s kind of looking in my general direction as well. But I promise, I won’t steer you wrong when capturing photos of your kiddos!

Mom and two kids laughing together in red and blue

6. Full bellies = happy families

Make sure to schedule your session AFTER you have food. Because if there’s one thing you don’t want to have happen is for your kiddo to get Hangry (that’s Hungry Angry). And bring snacks if you need to and a water bottle especially during the hotter months.

And for those of you that promise ice cream, or chocolate, or lollipops after the session - I’m right there with you! I know as a photographer and a mom, bribery is a must to get my kids to do what I want them to sometimes.

Three brothers in blue and grey at Battlefield Manassas

7. Have fun!

I want to capture your family’s personalities and the only way to do that is to have fun during the process. There WILL be tickle time, there will be swinging for the younger kids, there will be jumping, and there WILL be laughter. When we get so caught up in making sure we capture the perfect picture of everyone smiling at the camera, we’re not really showing our true selves.

Show me who your family truly is and I’ll make sure to capture it for you to remember for years to come!

Family swinging daughter at Leesylvania State Park

Are you ready to learn more or experience a family session?

Contact me today and let’s get planning your family portrait session!