Tips for an Amazing Family Session
Get everyone Excited
Leading up to your session try and build as much excitement about it as possible. Really hype it up to the kids as a fun family event! Talk about what we’re going to do, where we are going to, that they are going to get to run around and play. The more excited they are the more willing they will be to participate!
Full bellys and lots of rest
This is obvious but it doesn't hurt to stick in on the list since it is so important. We all get cranky when we are tired and hungry so making sure everyone has had a good nights sleep and had a filling meal makes everyone feel their best.
Bring some Special Treats
We can stop for a snack break if needed to help keep everyone’s energy up. Special treats like small cookies or candies work great in helping get everyone to cooperate. I have yet to meet a three-year-old that won’t smile and play along for some m&m’s! Try to avoid any candies that might turn your tongue colors (like lollipops, or jolly ranchers) save those for after the session.
Bring a few items your kids love
Kids are always excited to show off their favorite thing so let them bring something along. It can be their favorite stuffed animal, their new skateboard, or their favorite sunglasses or hat. Maybe your kids love to chase bubbles, or play catch. We can incorporate these things into your shoot to have more fun, just don’t bring along so much that we get bogged down with things to carry.
For Choosing Outfits
None of these are hard rules. These are just things that I have learned over the years that might help you while styling your family.
Dress like you
These photos should show who you are so it’s super important that you dress comfortably and like yourself! If your daughter refuses to wear dresses then don’t force her for photos go for a cute romper instead. I’m not saying roll up in your pjs but when you wear clothing that you are comfortable in and feels like you it shines through in your photos.
Wear Sensible Shoes
We will be doing lots of walking, standing, and playing so wear shoes that you and your family can comfortably move around in. Ladies that want to wear heels should stick to a chunky low heel and if we will be out somewhere on trails I would even recommend no heels at all, we don’t want anyone twisting an ankle!
Avoid too many Patterns
Most everyone should be wearing solid-colored clothing items, with one (or 2 if you have a larger family) wearing patterns. Too many patterns can be overwhelming and distracting in photos and take the focus away from the most important thing, you! Also, avoid super small plaid patterns and thin stripes, most common in men’s shirts. They can cause a distorting wavy overlay in photos known as the moiré effect and there is no way to correct it in images.
Don't stress about dirt
Chances are someone is going to get a bit dirty, but hey are you even having fun if you don’t? Most dirt won’t even be visible in the photos so try not to stress, and if it is it can always be photoshopped. If you have a particularly accident-prone messy child you can bring a change of clothing…just in case!
Don't be Matchy-Matchy
Avoid being too matchy-matchy by creating contrast between family members. Choose a range of color shades for each person to wear ranging from light to medium to dark. When your family is photographed together they should stand out from each other rather than all blend together.
Accessorise can be a fun way to add interest to photos. Hats, scarves, jewelry, jackets, shawls, and sunglasses are all great add-ons to help add texture, color, and interest to an outfit and bring it all together! For winter sessions extra layers like sweaters can keep you warm and add more color and texture to photos.
Things to avoid:
- Clothing with logos.
- Neon colors, stick with neutrals.
- Athletic polo shirts, cotton polos are better for photos.
- Athletic shoes. Think leather shoes, sandals, wedges, and casual sneakers (like Converse) instead.
- Low-cut shirts. They can end up being more revealing than intended when chasing little ones.
- Outfits that don’t completely cover diapers, we don’t want that diaper peeking through!
- Bright whites, substitute for creams and tans instead.
- Transitional lenses, sub for contacts or non-transitional lenses if you have them. If you only have transitional lenses you may have to do the session without them if it is a bright day.
I know that was a whole lot of information! Now that you have read through it all it might help to go back to my Pinterest outfit board and look at how other families implemented a lot of the ideas above!
If you are totally stuck feel free to reach out and send me some examples and I will be happy to help you choose outfits!
Where to start
It can be helpful to start with Mom’s outfit and then build everyone else’s outfits around that! Also if you are planning on buying some new outfits purchasing clothing from the same retailer can also be helpful since many retailers release seasonal collections that are often cohesive! Here are a few popular retailers for finding photo session-ready outfits.