How to prepare for a Family Photography Session

Family sessions can be overwhelming for those who are busy. Below you will find a few tips and tricks to make it easier on you to schedule family portraits. These are things I have noticed with my clients as well as myself booking a session for my own family of 6!

family photography

Choosing a Date

The HARDEST part in my opinion is choosing a date. SO many of us as parents are juggling work schedules, after school activities, family parties, appointments and everything in between. Booking your session well in advance gives you time to prepare. Most photographers book 2-3 months in advance. In my business, I always tell parents that I am one person. I can be extremely flexible with scheduling so find that perfect date that works for you and secure that appointment.

Location, Location, Location

Locations will vary greatly depending on your own style. Are you outdoorsy? Love to hike or go on walks with the kids? I suggest photographing your family in a field or a park. Do you prefer architecture and old buildings? Consider a session in a downtown location. Perhaps you are a family who enjoys fishing, swimming, or boating. Photos on the dock or at the beach will be the best spot for you! Let the kids play and you will in turn get amazing images! Talk with your photographer about these things and they can guide you to locations that provide the scenery you are looking for!

What to wear?

Be sure everybody is comfortable in their outfits. Coordinating outfits may be difficult but it doesnt have to be at all. Choose a color scheme of 3-4 colors. Go through the closets and pick out all the options for each family member. Lay them out on the bed and start styling away! You would be surprised at what you already have to work with. By all means, if it’s an excuse to go out and buy new outfits, have at it! I suggest shopping at Target. They have the cutest clothes for kids and adults that will work well together.

Avoid using clothing with wording on them and dont be afraid to mix patterns. Weather plays an important role in how you dress. Using layers of jackets, sweaters, leggings under dresses, scarves, etc… will keep everybody comfortable on a cool day.

what to wear family session

What to bring with to your session

Make sure everybody has been fed. If you must bring snacks, be sure they arent messy. Suckers turn mouths colors, and some snacks are hard to clean off faces. Water is always good as well because the kids are always thirsty, am I right?

Bring along a change of clothes for everybody JUST IN CASE of an accident. You never know what will happen in the car along the way, or when walking to the location little Timmy trips over his own feet and gets a dirt stain on his pants.

I dont mind props at my sessions but sometimes a simple blanket to sit on that is a family favorite or has meaning works well. I try to bring along a blanket, a crate for kids to sit on, and anything else we may have discussed specifically for your session. Less is More.


Family photo sessions are not meant to be stressful. The kids feed off your vibe if you are stressed out. Try to relax and HAVE FUN! Family sessions with me are a mix of posed and candid moments. Try to refrain from telling the kids to smile or say cheese, but also feel free to bribe them with an ice cream or play at the park after. I try to give prompts that tell you exactly what to do that will provide the outcome of emotions I am looking to capture. You may not always be smiling at the camera. But those sweet moments of the kids hugging dad and giving kisses to mom are the best! For the older kids, it’s just nice to see them happy next to each other.

Enjoy the experience and be in the moment with your family. Your images will reflect those emotions and will provide timeless images of just being a family.

Stacy Literski