Tips for the Picture Perfect Family Photo Session

Spring has arrived and is the perfect time to have a new family portrait taken. Many people find this intimating, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep the following tips in mind when preparing for your photo session.

What to wear?

As soon as the appointment is booked, mom starts stressing about the family wardrobe. To match, or not to match, that is the question. Casual, formal, dance recital costumes… So many options! Keep in mind the location of the photos, and dress to match the atmosphere.

A good rule of thumb is to pick one or two colors, and try to have each family member one accessory or clothing item in that color. You do NOT want every member of the family in a matching red plaid shirt, but dad can wear the red plaid and the rest of the family can pull their wardrobe from the colors of his shirt. You want to look styled in the same theme (casual, contemporary, sleek…), but not cloned.

Every hair in place.

While you want your family looking good, you don’t want that fresh cut look. Never get your hair cut the day of your photo session. Try to schedule trims about a week before the session, so that if for some reason you aren’t happy with the cut, you can have it fixed or find a new style (or hat).

If you want your photos to have a classic feel, go for a classic hairstyle versus a fad. Just like the mullet, aka Arkansas Waterfall, fad styles aren’t always pretty a few years down the line. Let your family be unique and them without going wild.

Nannies and Caregivers joining in?


Proper etiquette regarding nannies and caregivers for photo sessions can be confusing. Do you ask your nanny to pose with the family? If it is your nanny’s first day on the job, she probably hasn’t had time to bond with your family just yet. On the other hand, if she has been a part of the family for years, it can be quite natural to include her.

What works best is communicating before the shoot. Let both the photographer and your caregiver know who will be in the photos and for which poses. It will be less awkward than deciding on the spot, and if you both agree she may want to join in on your matching color theme.

Relax and let the photographer do their job!

Kids are kids; they will run, jump, hop, and do everything you don’t want them to at your photo shoot. Experienced photographers expect this and understand the nature of children. Some even encourage your children to go wild, climb trees, and act their age while snapping away.

The best thing you can do to help your session go smoothly is relax. A stressed mom (or dad, or grandma) makes for a stressful shoot for everyone involved. If you are really worried, bring an extra set of clothes for the kiddos. Laugh off the small stuff, and let the photographer do their job. Don’t be afraid to take a step back, and let the photographer take charge. They know how they want your kiddo to pose, and a micro managing mom will not only stress out herself, but the kids and the photographer.

Breathe, step back, relax, and repeat as needed.

Photo credit: Brandy Davis Photography

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